Richmond Casino Project Will Stay on November Ballot

The Latest Update on the Proposed Casino in Richmond, Virginia

Posted on: August 28, 2023, 03:48h. 

Last updated on: August 28, 2023, 03:48h.

In a significant development, Richmond, Virginia residents will once again have the opportunity to vote on a proposed casino project on the city’s Southside. A Circuit Court judge has ruled in favor of the city’s petition to hold another casino referendum on November 7, 2023. This ruling comes in response to a motion by a local nonprofit group, Richmond Lodge No.1 of the Good Lions, Inc., which sought to stop the referendum, citing potential harm to the group’s income generated through charitable gambling.

The judge’s decision stated that the alleged harm cannot be fairly traced back to the government’s action, allowing the referendum to proceed. However, State Sen. Chap Peterson (D-Richmond), who represented Good Lions in court, called the ruling “unfortunate.”

If approved by voters, the new casino, a joint venture between Churchill Downs Inc. and Urban One, in partnership with the city of Richmond, will create a $562 million entertainment and gaming venue. This project is expected to generate thousands of jobs, provide an estimated $30 million in annual tax revenue, and significantly impact the economic trajectory of the Southside.

What’s at Stake for Richmond?

The proposed casino holds immense potential for Richmond. The partnership between Churchill Downs Inc. and Urban One aims to construct an entertainment and gaming venue that would generate 1,300 good-paying jobs and an estimated $30 million in annual revenue. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney expressed his optimism, stating that the casino project would address the community’s greatest needs.

A Look at the Journey So Far

In June, the majority of the Richmond City Council agreed to include the casino referendum on the ballot. However, the partnership involved in the project has been updated since the failed referendum in 2021. Originally a joint venture between Urban One and Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, Churchill Downs Inc. acquired Peninsula Pacific Entertainment last year.

Churchill Downs Inc. and Urban One are actively promoting the casino project through TV ads, with significant financial investments made to gain support. On the other hand, opponents of the project are also expected to spend substantial amounts in opposition. Given the tight margin during the previous vote, both sides are preparing for a closely contested decision.

The proposed location for the casino complex, if approved, is adjacent to the Phillip Morris manufacturing campus along I-95.

Richmond is the final economically challenged city in Virginia to vote on a casino referendum. The Virginia General Assembly authorized Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond to have one commercial casino each if approved by the voters.

In response to the recent court ruling, Mayor Stoney emphasized the potential positive impact of the project, stating, “If approved this November, the proposed destination resort and casino will provide 1,300 good-paying jobs and an estimated $30 million in annual revenue to tackle our community’s greatest needs.”

Stay tuned for further updates on the Richmond casino referendum vote on November 7, 2023. The stakes are high, and the decision is in the hands of the voters.

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