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Richmond voters weigh in on casino referendum

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 5:36 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 5:42 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As the polls opened on Tuesday for Election Day, thousands of Richmond residents made their voices heard with their ballots and weighed in on the city’s casino referendum.

On the table is a proposal to build ONE Casino + Resort off Walmsley Boulevard in south Richmond. The multi-million dollar development includes 100,000 square feet of casino space, a luxury hotel, a live theater, and dozens of new restaurants.

The development is slated to bring 3,000 construction jobs, 1,500 resort jobs, and millions in tax revenue for the City of Richmond.

On Tuesday, people came to St. Giles Church off Grove Avenue as signs lined the street encouraging people to vote “yes” or “no” to ONE Casino + Resort.

Among the voters, Eddie Slater came to the polls to vote for the casino proposal because he believes it will be an economic engine for the city.

“I think it’s a good idea for them to bring that in Richmond,” Slater said before casting his vote on Tuesday afternoon. “After the virus, people have been laid off and lost jobs. I think it would be a good source of income for people.”

The proposal has also gained endorsements from state and local leaders including Governor Ralph Northam and Mayor Levar Stoney. Reverend Al Sharpton visited the River City on Friday to stump the vote.

As many voice their support to the referendum, others don’t want to roll the dice on this plan.

Residents who live near the site of the proposed casino believe it will increase crime and become a catalyst for gambling addiction.

Jason Golos voted against bringing ONE Casino + Resort to Richmond.

“I’ve been around casinos. I don’t know if I feel that is best for the Richmond community,” he said. “I just didn’t feel comfortable with it.”

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

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