November 13, 2023 2 min read


Richmond Casino Rejection Sparks Concerns Over Child Care Funding

The casino development, backed by Urban One and Churchill Downs, faced opposition from various groups concerned about the approval process and the potential impact on economically distressed areas around the casino

Richmond voters dealt a blow to the proposed $562 million Richmond Grand Resort and Casino, rejecting the project for the second time in three years. In 2021, Richmond voters were presented with the decision to support or reject a casino project, with 51% opposing and 49% favoring it. 

Child Care Advocates Express Disappointment as Richmond Rejects Casino Funding

One of the significant promises tied to the casino project was the allocation of funds for childcare programs, with an initial upfront payment of $26.5 million and an annual commitment of $19 million in casino revenue earmarked for the city. The rejection of the casino plan has now raised questions about the future of childcare funding in Richmond.

Child care advocates, including Ann Payes, CEO of the early childhood school readiness group Thrive Birth to Five, expressed disappointment over the failed casino project, reported The Richmond Times Dispatch. Payes highlighted that the annual $19 million could have significantly supported early childhood education programs, addressing issues such as lengthy wait times for child care and reducing financial burdens on families.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, who invested considerable political capital in supporting the casino effort, emphasized the potential benefits during a September news conference. Stoney proposed using the casino revenue to build childcare and education centers, fund parks and recreation projects, and establish a trust fund to expand childcare access to low- to middle-class families.

Mayor Stoney Grapples with Childcare Funding Void After Casino Rejection

With the rejection of the casino, Stoney acknowledged that the plans for addressing the childcare shortage were no longer viable. The proposed $26.5 million upfront for child care centers and the annual commitment of $19 million to the Richmond Child Care and Education Trust Fund are now off the table.

Stoney’s office indicated that without the casino funding, alternative measures would need to be explored to address the childcare crisis. However, there are currently no plans to seek a tax increase for childcare funding, according to Stoney’s spokesman Gianni Snidle.

The rejection of the casino has left childcare advocates and officials exploring other avenues for funding. Organizations like Thrive Birth to Five are turning to state and federal governments for increased funding. Payes emphasized a commitment to making early childhood care happen, even if at a slower pace. The Richmond Public School system is also applying for Head Start and Early Head Start grants to increase the number of available childcare slots.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *