Virginia lawmakers ended their legislative session without passing a bill to allow for a new Virginia casino in Petersburg. As predicted, a bill that would put a casino referendum on the ballot in Petersburg did not pass the Senate.
As a result, Richmond is once again the front-runner to build the state’s fifth and final casino.
Richmond could hold a vote in November
The current prohibition on Richmond holding another referendum expires in November. Therefore, nothing could stop the city from holding a second casino vote unless lawmakers change course during a special session.
State law allows for casinos in five cities, provided voters in those cities approve. Four cities, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Bristol and Danville, have already done so.
In 2021, Richmond, the fifth city, failed to win over voters to build a state-of-the-art casino; thus, plans shifted over to Petersburg.
The Cordish Companies proposed a $1.4 billion casino in Petersburg, including over 670,000 square feet of casino and resort space. Plans also called for more than half a million square feet of retail, dining, and entertainment space.
Even though the Petersburg bill passed through the House, it could not gather enough support in the Senate. Now everything could come full circle.
City mayor supports plans for Virginia casino in Richmond
In January, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney sent a letter to eight lawmakers asking them to allow a casino vote in 2023.
“I want to be explicitly clear: I adamantly opposed any legislation that constricts the rights of Richmond to have a resort casino. My Richmond City Council colleagues also stand firm in preserving and defending Richmond’s authority to hold a resort casino referendum in 2023.”
Urban ONE, which owns the parent company of Colonial Downs racetrack, plans to build a $517 million casino. If approved by voters in November, it would be the only majority-black-owned casino in the country.
Only time will tell when and where the state’s final casino will be built. But the outcome won’t come till later this year.