Virginia House Speaker Backs Petersburg Casino Initiative

Posted on: January 23, 2024, 09:51h.

Last updated on: January 23, 2024, 09:51h.

Virginia House Speaker Don Scott (D-Portsmouth) recently voiced his support for Petersburg to consider a commercial casino undertaking. Just days after taking the speakership after Democrats regained control of the lower legislative chamber during the November 2023 election, Scott says his capital colleagues should consider a new host location for the fifth casino license voters authorized during a statewide ballot referendum in 2020. The license was intended for Richmond, but residents there twice voted against a proposed casino resort development.

State Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) initiated calls to relocate the Richmond gaming license to Petersburg, but faced opposition due to past controversies. Speaking with The Petersburg Progress-Index, Scott says new leadership in Richmond improves the odds of Petersburg being designated as a qualifying casino host.

New Leadership

“It’s an economic development opportunity. It’s a job-growth opportunity,” stated Scott.

But it has to come from the people who represent them and it has to have the right leadership to get it done.

The Cordish Companies, a Baltimore-based gaming and hospitality giant, has expressed interest in developing a resort in Petersburg, unveiling a plan for a $1.4 billion development to be built out over multiple construction phases and several years, encompassing over 670,000 square feet of gaming, hotel, dining, and entertainment space.

Richmond Redo

Legislation has also been introduced in Richmond that seeks to prevent the city’s local government from holding another casino referendum. State Del. Betsy Carr (D-Richmond) filed a bill that would remove Richmond from the 2020 gaming statute that qualified the city for a casino. Del. Michael Jones (D-Richmond) has authored a separate bill that would prohibit casino hosts from conducting more than one local referendum to get their resort approved.

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