Virginia: City of Richmond to consider casino project proposal

June 7, 2023
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Richmond is currently the only major city in the state without a casino referendum.

The Richmond City Council recently gave the green light to revisit a proposal to build a casino within city limits, according to a VPN NPR local report. The City Council recently introduced papers for the $562m casino resort project, which would feature a luxury hotel, 55 acres of green space and a live entertainment venue.

Should the proposal make it to the ballot, voters could have a chance to decide on a casino project that was previously voted down almost two years ago.

Councilwoman Reva Trammell told NPR that the city has a right to a referendum, although others have questioned why one is needed.

Virginia is currently home to two casinos, Rivers Casino Portsmouth and Bristol Casino – Future Home of Hard Rock. During the month of March, both casinos brought in a combined total of $37.4m in adjusted gaming revenue, according to figures posted by the Virginia Lottery. 

As of 2020, casino referendums have passed in Portsmouth, Norfolk, Danville and Bristol. Richmond remains the only Virginia city to reject a casino referendum.

Partners Urban One and Churchill Downs Incorporated advertised the project nearly two years ago. However, city residents struck down the proposal for the casino resort by a narrow vote in November 2021.

The new casino could bring with it up to 1.300 new jobs to the city of Richmond, according to the local report. However, those opposed have raised concerns that a Richmond casino could create an increase in problem gambling.

Stephanie Lynch, 5th District Councilor, told NPR, “I think for a lot of us, this is a tough decision. It's not one that I took lightly having lived in a district where we had constituents that voted against this project.”


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