Richmond Residents Will Vote on Casino

Richmond, Virginia residents will soon vote on whether they approve a new casino in the state capital, and what features the gaming venue should have.

Gambling Legalized

Virginia legalized gambling for the first time this year, allowing five cities to develop casinos if they wished. The legislation was passed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and the 5 cities were chosen.

Norfolk, Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, and Richmond were the cities chosen for casino development. The Richmond Department of Economic Development (DED) reached out to the residents of each of the five cities to gain input on the scope and scale of the casino development.

Four of the five cities chosen already gave the green light for casino development on December 3, but Richmond postponed the gaming ballot referendum until 2021. The DED released a survey to the voters of the casino towns asking for input on the specific elements of each resort. The survey asks about ideal locations, indoor/outdoor entertainment, hotels, conference centers, and green space in each resort.

Virginia Casino Developers

The Norfolk casino resort will be developed by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Danville’s casino will be developed by Caesars Entertainment, Rush Street Gaming will develop Portsmouth’s resort, and Bristol’s resort will be operated by Hard Rock International.

According to the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, the five casinos will generate $260 million per year in gaming taxes. $80 million of that revenue is expected to come from the Richmond casino.

In addition to the much-needed state tax revenue, the huge influx of cash generated by casinos will result in thousands of jobs in construction, maintenance, and permanent staff for the daily operations of the casino resorts. The casino initiative was launched as a revenue boost for economically depressed areas of Virginia.

In the meantime, the capital city is taking its time deciding. “The development is entirely subject to voters passing the casino referendum,” the DED explained. “If Richmond voters go to the polls and decide not to approve of the development of a casino, there will be no casino.”

The Richmond casino survey is open through December 14, and the Richmond DED has given casino operators until February 2021 to submit their bids. So far, three operators have expressed interest in developing the Richmond casino: the Pamunkey Tribe, Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums, and Urban One, Inc.

It remains to be seen whether voters will put the ‘rich’ in Richmond.

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