Petersburg, Virginia to ask for casino referendum in 2024

November 23, 2023
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After Richmond lost its chance, a new city is vying for one of five possible host city opportunities for a casino in Virginia.

The Petersburg, Virginia city council plans to bring a gambling resolution to the voters in the city by 2025. After the city of Richmond voted no on a second referendum for its possible casino, Petersburg wants to claim one of five possible casino locales in Old Dominion.

City officials in Danville have reported that after its Caesars casino opened in May this year, a gaming revenue of $107.9m has been generated, which has led to $6.5m for Danville’s city tax revenue. Bristol’s Hard Rock casino has also brought in $215.7m since opening in July 2022.

Peterburg’s city council legislative request says, “In light of Petersburg's status as a distressed locality, advancing a casino could provide significant economic relief, like the benefits experienced by Danville and Bristol.

“This venture could offer residents employment opportunities that surpass the current median household income of roughly $44,000 per year and individual income of about $26,000 per year.”

Petersburg was previously out of the running as a possible Virginia casino destination, as casinos are only allowed to operate in five of the state’s cities, and legislative battles with Richmond led to it proposing a $562m casino instead, only for Richmond voters to oppose it by 61%.

Potential casino host cities currently have certain poverty and tax exemption requirements for a city of over 200,000 residents, and Petersburg wants the Virginia General Assembly to eliminate these, which would make Richmond inviable as a casino destination in future.

Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth currently have operating casinos, with considerations going to Norfolk and Reston as well.

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