Virginia Residents in Richmond Asked to Submit Input on Potential Casino Resort

Posted on: December 1, 2020, 12:12h. 

Last updated on: December 1, 2020, 02:12h.

Residents of Virginia’s capital city, Richmond, are being asked to weigh in on features they’d like to see in a potential gaming venue. Richmond was one of five cities in the state that was approved to host a casino establishment. The legislation was adopted by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) earlier this year.

Richmond casino Virginia gambling
Richmond’s statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue was the target of Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year. Now, city residents have the opportunity to decide whether to welcome a casino resort in town. (Image: AP)

Despite being authorized to ask citizens whether they wish to allow a casino in their town during the 2020 election, Richmond postponed the gaming ballot referendum until 2021. Ahead of the vote, the Richmond Department of Economic Development (DED) is seeking input on what constituents would want in a casino.

Residents are asked to rank potential economic benefits from a casino in order of importance, answers including jobs, new tax revenue, minority business enterprise ownership, and economic prosperity for Richmond residents by way of new jobs and businesses.

The survey also asks what features the property of the casino location should include, and specific elements of the resort — indoor/outdoor entertainment, green space, conference center, and hotel a few of the options.

Residents in Charge

The gaming bill signed by Northam was the first time in the history of Virginia that the state has legalized commercial gambling. It allows people in the five qualifying cities to decide whether to utilize a casino to spur economic growth.

The four ballot referendums in Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, and Norfolk all easily passed the simple majority requirement on November 3.

The development is entirely subject to voters passing the casino referendum,” the DED explains. “If Richmond voters go to the polls and decide not to approve of the development of a casino, there will be no casino.”

The casino survey will be open through Monday, December 14.

The Richmond DED has given interested casino operators until February 2021 to submit their bids. The city has already received interest from three entities — the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, the owners of the Colonial Downs Racetrack and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums, and Urban One Inc.

Richmond Biggest Prize

Four casino operators have reached deals to build casino resorts in the four aforementioned cities that passed casino referendums.

City — Casino Developer/Operator

  • Norfolk — Pamunkey Indian Tribe
  • Danville — Caesars Entertainment
  • Bristol — Hard Rock International
  • Portsmouth — Rush Street Gaming

Richmond, however, is expected to be the richest of the five casinos, should a gaming property come to the capital metro.

The Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission report concluded that the five casinos will — upon full market maturation — generate $260 million annually in gaming taxes. Of that number — 31 percent, or $80.6 million — is expected to come from the Richmond casino.