Richmond residents will be able to share their opinion on the city’s potential resort casino until December 14. In a referendum on the November 2021 ballot, voters will decide if they approve the city’s chosen casino operator and location.
Richmond Seeks Successful Proposal
Richmond, Virginia’s capital city, has launched a survey asking residents to consider a potential resort casino opening in the city. Richmond voters will have until December 14 to voice their thoughts on the proposal, with a final say on the matter with a casino referendum on the ballot in November 2021. Before the court issues a referendum request, Richmond must select a resort casino operator and a location.
The survey asks residents to rank the potential economic benefits of a casino, such as local employment and better wages, as well as community benefits, such as improving funding for education, infrastructure, and public housing.
After December 14, the city will start the selection process for a resort casino operator and a future site, based on the feedback they will receive. Gaming companies will have until February 2021 to submit their proposals, with the selected operator to be announced next Summer.
“Our primary objective is to identify a successful proposal that has outstanding economic opportunities and community benefits for Richmonders”, Director of Economic Development Leonard Sledge said. The city government expects to receive many submissions and wants to choose “in a true win for Richmond.”
“A competitive selection process will allow us to assess the best opportunity for Richmond. This survey is your opportunity to make sure the development proposals reflect your priorities, such as living-wage jobs, sustainable building practices, and investment in the community.”Levar Stoney, Mayor of Richmond
Positive Impact Overall, JLARC Says
In April 2020, the Virginia General Assembly adopted a bill authorizing Richmond and four other cities to host casino operations within their own jurisdictions. The General Assembly Law now requires Richmond’s operator and location proposal to be approved by referendum. Norfolk, Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth residents voted in favor of their cities’ respective casino operator and site suggestions.
Richmond’s first resort casino could provide additional revenues, living wages, and boost the local tourism and entertainment market. Gaming in the Commonwealth, a report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC), states that the new casinos allowed to operate by the bill proposal are projected to yield nearly $260 million per year in state gaming taxes, and will positively impact local businesses.
Richmond’s project could contribute to 31% of the total gaming turnover and gaming taxes while creating thousands of jobs, according to the same report.
Hampton Wants to Be Virginia’s Sixth Casino City
Mid-November, Hampton, located north of Norfolk, announced it has determined that three new casinos on Hampton Roads would have a positive long-term impact on the local economy and therefore asked to be considered as Virginia’s sixth city to host casinos.
With the assistance of Two Capitols Consulting, Hampton officials shared that they are hopeful the city will obtain approval for issuing casino licenses at the next General Assembly session.