Gambling Legislation

Virginia city that once rejected casino changes its mind

Virginia city that once rejected casino changes its mind

Petersburg, Virginia, will consider putting a casino resolution to a public vote

The Petersburg City Council completed its list of legislative proposals on Tuesday night, with one of the six items seeking to bring a gambling resolution to the ballot for city voters by 2025. The list declares that Petersburg could see results similar to Bristol and Danville, who have successfully opened the Hard Rock casino and Caesar’s Virginia.

“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,” reads the request. “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.”

According to city officials in Danville, Caesar’s Virginia casino opened on May 15 and has generated $6.5 million in city tax revenue and over $107.9 million in state gaming revenue.
Since opening in July 2022, the Hard Rock Casino in Bristol has generated $215.7 million in state gaming revenue.

Petersburg’s gaming revenue has been estimated at $204 million annually, with local tax revenue targeted at $12.24 million, according to a report from the Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission.

The decision was predicted and arrived two weeks after voters in Richmond rejected a second referendum to construct a $562 million hotel and casino facility on the southside. In the November 7 election, 61% voted against the referendum, giving Petersburg a new opportunity.

Petersburg City Council spokesperson Joanne Williams issued a statement following the meeting that the new casino “will provide a much-needed economic boost to Petersburg’s flat tax base.”

The casino is one of several items on Petersburg’s agenda for the 2024 legislative session that will be assembled on January 10.

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