Sen. Tim Kaine Votes Against $565M Richmond Casino Ballot Question

Posted on: October 7, 2021, 12:44h. 

Last updated on: October 7, 2021, 10:24h.

United States Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) voted “No” on the local ballot referendum before voters in Richmond, Va., asking if they support allowing one casino resort to come to the capital area.

Tim Kaine Virginia casino Richmond
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine speaks on Capitol Hill in May of 2020. The longtime DC politician doesn’t believe a casino resort is in the best interest of Richmond. (Image: Getty)

Kaine is a former governor of Virginia (2006-2010) who has served in the US Senate since 2013. He was also Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential running mate. He said he opposes the $565 million casino proposal targeting land adjacent to the Philip Morris tobacco plant. That development is being touted as an economic spark that the metro area desperately needs.

The Democratic senator’s office revealed that he voted early and rejected the ONE Casino + Resort pitch.

Senator Kaine voted on Monday, September 20. He voted against the casino proposal. He believes there are better ways to enhance economic development in Richmond,” Kaine’s communications department said in a release.

Kaine easily won reelection in 2018. His current six-year term runs through January 3, 2025. Prior to serving as governor, Kaine was the mayor of Richmond.

Casino Backers

The majority of the votes cast on the ONE Casino question will take place on Election Day, November 2. Early voting, however, began on September 17.

Richmond is one of five Virginia cities that was granted the option of asking residents if they wish to use a casino development to jumpstart their economies. Voters in the four other cities — Norfolk, Portsmouth, Bristol, and Danville — approved their casinos during the 2020 election.

ONE Casino + Resort is being led by Urban One, a publicly traded media conglomerate. Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) has been brought in to help assist the conglomerate in developing and eventually operating the property, should it be ratified by voters.

While Kaine opposed the casino, other officials have lent their support. Those in favor of ONE Casino include Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and eight of the nine members of the Richmond Council.

It’s time to elevate the southside and truly make this one city with this one project,” Richmond Councilmember Mike Jones declared to 8News.

One key issue is how Richmond plans to use the $26.5 million upfront payment Urban One would pay the city upon approval. “Increased funding for schools, affordable housing, and infrastructure upgrades,” Stoney opined recently of his spending preferences.

Survey Says

Little polling has been completed to hint as to where Richmonders might come down on the more than half of a billion-dollar casino. But one conducted over the summer suggested that the vote will be a tight outcome.

Richmond For All, a committee opposing the casino, hired a canvassing firm to gauge the public’s support of the gaming question. The poll found that 45 percent of respondents said they did not want a casino in Richmond. About 30 percent said they were in favor of the casino, and the other 25 remain undecided.

Urban One believes ONE Casino + Resort would create $50 million annually in local tax revenue, employ 1,500 people full-time on an average annual salary of $55,000, and feature a diverse workplace where 50 percent of the jobs are held by minorities.