Richmond Court Approves Second Casino Referendum in the Virginia Capital

  • Richmonders will get another chance to vote a casino through in the November ballot
  • Urban One, the operator rejected in 2021, still plans to bankroll the project
  • Proponents of the revote have noted the new proposal includes a property tax cut
  • A budget amendment for a casino in Petersburg will also “likely be considered”
Virginia sign
Richmonders will get another chance to vote for a casino in Richmond’s Southside after a judge in Virginia approved a second referendum for November 2022. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Granted city’s request

Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant has granted the Virginia city’s request to hold a second casino referendum in November.

gives citizens another bite of the Richmond casino apple

Judge Marchant’s ruling on Monday gives citizens another bite of the Richmond casino apple, as NBC12 reporter Desiree Montilla shared via Twitter on Tuesday:

Urban One still plans to bankroll the One Casino and Resort despite Richmonders rejecting the proposal in last year’s referendum by a 51% to 49% vote. The Richmond City Council breathed fresh life into the plans on January 24, when most of the body voted in favor of reviving the project, earmarked for land currently owned by Philip Morris USA.

In the November ballot, Richmonders will now vote yes or no to the following question: “Shall casino gaming be permitted at a casino gaming establishment in the City of Richmond, Virginia, at 2001 Walmsley Boulevard and 4700 Trenton Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23234 as may be approved by the Virginia Lottery Board?”

Sweetened proposal

Despite Councilwoman Katherine Jordan voting against it, a second referendum championed by Councilwoman Reva Trammell and Mayor Levar Stoney has received almost unanimous support from the city council.

the new proposal includes a property tax cut

Trammell has noted that while the November ballot features Urban One again, the new proposal includes a property tax cut. This differential, Trammell argued, is enough to warrant another vote, which Judge Marchant gaveled into action.

Mayor Stoney — whose political campaign donors are among the named investors in the Urban One project, according to WRIC-TV — says the casino will rejuvenate the Virginia capital’s Southside area and create over 1,000 jobs.

Trammell and Stoney’s push for a second referendum has drawn opposition from community advocates, the local hospitality workers’ union, and State Senator Joe Morrissey. They have pointed towards the dangers of gambling addiction and potential for violence.

Petersburg casino also in the cards

Morrissey has proposed a budget amendment to examine the viability of a casino in the city of Petersburg, which could have pushed Richmond’s second casino vote to November 2023.

As reported by WRIC, Morrissey’s budget amendment “will likely be considered during the upcoming special session to finalize the state budget,” but it will not prevent Richmond from holding its second referendum this year.

Richmond’s City Council awarded Urban One the right to build a casino in May 2021, with the Maryland-based broadcasting firm emerging victorious over runner-up The Cordish Companies.