Richmonders set to vote on potential for a casino

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 2:30 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There’s no public polling on where Richmonders stand on the casino question, but the proposed operators are already betting millions that it will pass.

“We’re doing everything we can to educate people as to the significance and the importance of this project because you have to vote for it in order for it to pass,” said Alfred Liggins, Chief Executive Officer of Urban One, Inc.

One Casino + Resort promises to be a game-changer for revenue and jobs. The location is in south Richmond, just off Interstate 95. At the helm of the project is Alfred Liggins.

“This is an unparalleled economic opportunity for the city of Richmond because this is a regional tourist resort destination and the city itself will get 10% of our revenue off the top,” said Liggins.

Liggins says One Casino + Resort will bring in 4,500 jobs overall, with 1,500 remaining after construction. Aside from a dozen new restaurants and a luxury hotel, Liggins says the $50 million in tax revenue for the city should also be a selling point.

“It can be used for schools, roads, city services and it doesn’t cost the taxpayers a dime, and it will also uplevel the entertainment experience in the city in a tremendous way,” said Liggins.

But there are plenty of opponents.

“Bankruptcy. Fifteen times higher suicide rates for people who are addicted and also people don’t know that casinos, 40-50% of their revenues, come from gambling addicts,” said Allan-Charles Chipman, anti-casino activist.

Allan-Charles Chipman calls the industry exploitive, and questions whether a casino will ultimately provide an economic boom for the southside.

“I think differently about it because casinos don’t help. Casinos hunt. They are predatory in nature,” said Chipman.

Richmond is the last of five Virginia cities to vote on a casino. Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth all passed casino referendums last November by large margins.

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