The city of Richmond is encouraging its residents to complete a survey to share their opinion regarding the establishment of a potential casino resort. Local people will have until December 14th to weigh in on the proposal and share whether they believe the city should take a potential casino into consideration or not.
The survey, which is taking place online, is set to shape and guide the competitive process to choose an operator for the casino resort, as well as the site for such an establishment. As mentioned above, it will also have to outline what expectations Richmond residents have about it and its effects on the city in the shorter and in the longer term.
Local authorities have asked the people of Richmond to rank the potential benefits of hosting a casino and how such a project should be used to improve various aspects associated with the city, including infrastructure, public housing, green space, etc. Some city officials have explained that the results of the now-ongoing survey that includes community feedback will give the start to the competitive process to choose the operator of the proposed casino, as well as the site where it should be hosted.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney explained that a competitive selection process will provide the city officials with the chance to assess the best opportunity for the city. Mr. Stoney further shared that the survey gives local residents the opportunity to make sure the development proposals for the casino reflect their own priorities, including investment in the community, sustainable building practices, as well as living-wage jobs.
Casino Resort Establishment to Bring Fresh Annual Tax Revenue, More Tourists and Jobs to Community
Earlier this year, the General Assembly of the state of Virginia provided five cities – Richmond, Danville, Bristol, Portsmouth and Norfolk – with permission to see full-service casinos in their jurisdictions. The first step of the process includes Richmond getting some feedback from the local community and then beginning the site and operator selection process.
According to a study carried out by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, if constructed, the five casino venues could generate annual tax revenue of $262 million, while sports betting offered there could bring a further $55 million. Proponents of the casino projects have previously said that the casinos will not only ensure larger tax revenue but will also create more jobs for the local communities and will bring more tourists to the cities that cost the resorts. On the other hand, opponents of the casinos have claimed that the opening of such gambling venues would only boost crime and exploitation in the region.
The final decision whether or not Richmond should host a casino resort will be made by local voters via a referendum that is set to take place in the city’s November 2021 ballot. On Election Day this year, the other four cities that got permission to host casino venues saw overwhelming support for the plans to build casinos there.
Under the provisions of the existing law, the city of Richmond is required to select a preferred casino operator and location before a referendum on the casino is scheduled. The mayor’s administration will engage in a competitive process rather than preselecting a company to operate the casino.
Reportedly, no less than three organizations have said they were interested in constructing the proposed casino in Richmond – the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Urban One Inc and Colonial Downs Group.