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Richmond City Council Votes To Authorize A Referendum On New Casino

Written By Katarina Vojvodic | Updated:
People form the Word Vote with Richmond resident on new casino

A proposed project to bring a casino to Virginia’s state capital could become a reality. In a session earlier this week, Richmond City Council members decided to give the $562 million ONE Casino + Resort project another chance.

The council passed the motion to reauthorize a referendum on whether to allow the city to host one of the five Virginia casinos. Only one councilor, Katherine Jordan, voted against the measure, while Council President Mike Jones was not at the vote.

The Virginia Lottery and Richmond Circuit Court must accept the council’s decision before the casino is put on the local ballot in November.

Richmond casino project has a greater chance of passing this time

The project was previously shot down in November 2021, with 51% of voters saying no. According to NBC12, Richmond City Councilwoman Reva Trammell said some residents were against the project in the past. She said they were scared it could bring more crime to the neighborhood.

Richmond tried for a second referendum the next year, but Virginia State Sen. Joe Morrissey got in the way, calling for a vote on a casino in Petersburg. In doing so, he blocked Richmond’s casino vote in 2022.

The matter dates back to 2020 when the state’s legislature passed VA SB36. The bill allowed the five cities to hold votes on opening casinos:

  1. Portsmouth
  2. Norfolk
  3. Danville
  4. Bristol
  5. Richmond

Richmond was the only out of five cities that didn’t approve the motion. It had many opponents concerned about the risks of problem gambling rising.

This time, Trammell feels the Virginia casino has a better chance because she thinks the city council’s message is “clearer than before.” Residents supporting the project spoke out at the meeting, saying they believe “it will be good for the economy.”

City councilors emphasized that the developers would pay for the project entirely without using city funds or taxpayer dollars.

More details about the Virginia casino

Under the new proposal, RVA Entertainment Holdings LLC will be the casino gaming operator. The company represents a partnership between a media firm Urban One and a casino and horse track operator, Churchill Downs.

The entertainment and gaming venue should include:

  • A 250-room luxury hotel
  • A 3,000-seat entertainment venue
  • Restaurants
  • 55 acres of green space

The new project should also bring 1,300 new jobs to the area and millions in tax revenue.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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