Casino referendum

Virginia: Richmond voters to decide on casino proposal again following Virginia Lottery approval

Richmond Mayor Mayor Levar Stoney
Reading time 2:01 min

The Virginia Lottery has approved a preliminary application from the city of Richmond and RVA Entertainment Holdings, a joint venture of Churchill Downs Incorporated and Urban One, to include once again a casino proposal on the ballot for voters in the city this November.

The renewed push comes after the Richmond City Council voted in favor of giving casino backers another chance at winning over the electorate, with only one member opposing the plans.

The initial referendum in November 2021 narrowly saw the $562 million casino proposal defeated by just 1500 votes, but the council and project proponents remained steadfast in their ambitions to make Richmond the fifth city in Virginia to have a land-based casino.

With the economic benefits a new casino is expected to bring, including $30 million in total tax revenue per year and the creation of 1,300 jobs, the Richmond City Council is pushing forward again with its plans, partnering once again with the same companies behind the original 2021 project proposal.

"We are ready to elevate our 20-plus relationship with Richmonders by presenting opportunities for real economic impact," said Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One. "We [...] are talking to local leaders and citizens about the kinds of entertainment options, jobs, and community benefits they want to see included in this project."

Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One

Now that the Virginia Lottery has given the green light, the Richmond Circuit Court has ordered for the casino question to be placed on the ballot for voters to decide this November. RVA Entertainment Holdings expressed their delight at the news, emphasizing their commitment to delivering entertainment and gaming experience that benefits the host community.

"Churchill Downs has been proudly providing our guests extraordinary entertainment experiences for 150 years, beginning with the iconic Kentucky Derby," said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated.

Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated

"Our company has proven success in the development and operations of premier entertainment, gaming, and racing venues that deliver tangible and meaningful benefits for our host communities. We look forward to delivering on this mission and vision in Richmond."

If approved by the voters, the proposed casino resort, located near Commerce Road in South Richmond, will feature a luxury hotel, live entertainment and conference venues, high-end dining options, casino space with slot games, table games, and a sportsbook, as well as 55 acres of park and green space. RVA Entertainment Holdings is expected to reveal the design and vision for the casino resort in the coming weeks. 

Mayor Levar Stoney responded to the casino project’s approval: "I am excited to see the Virginia Lottery and the Richmond Circuit Court approve the referendum for a Richmond destination resort and entertainment venue that will provide 1,300 good-paying jobs and an estimated $30 million in annual revenue to tackle our community’s greatest needs."

Richmond is experiencing record development and growth, and with the addition of a destination resort we will change the economic trajectory of Southside for years to come."

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