Gambling Legislation

Voters in Richmond, Virginia to vote on casino today

Voters in Richmond, Virginia to vote on casino today

Richmond residents have another shot at deciding whether to authorize a casino

Richmond, Virginia voters will decide on Tuesday whether a proposed $562 million resort casino on the Interstate 95 corridor will move ahead. It’s the second time a referendum has been put before voters for the gambling and entertainment facility after it was narrowly defeated two years ago.

Project developers came back with an updated proposal while investing about $10 million into a pro-casino campaign seeking approval for the undertaking, which is backed by Mayor Levar Stoney.

The proposition also faced an organized resistance effort as various anti-casino signs appearing around the city recently highlighted the point that Richmond had already voted “no” once before.

The new project, Richmond Grand Resort and Casino, would be constructed at the same former tobacco company site in south Richmond near I-95. The joint venture involves media company Urban One and Churchill Downs, which owns and operates gambling facilities nationwide. If passed, the project could also include local investors.

The facility plans to have slots, table games, a retail sportsbook and a 250-room hotel. It will also include a 55-acre outdoor park, various restaurants and a 3,000-seat concert venue. Boosters also estimate that 1,300 permanent jobs will be created.

Developers have already agreed with the city to issue a one-time upfront payment of $25.5 million if voters pass the referendum and another $1 million after financing closes. They also promise to donate $16 million over ten years and expect to pay around $30 million in annual taxes.

The project is supported by business and labor organizations, some Richmond faith leaders, prominent civil rights organizations and the editorial board at Richmond’s independent weekly Black community newspaper.

Opponents of the project have many concerns, including arguing that casinos will hurt the working class and worsen problem gambling.

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