Richmond voters reject a casino for the second time

Voters on Tuesday once again rejected a casino to come to the city of Richmond.
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 8:59 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 7, 2023 at 11:16 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Voters on Tuesday once again rejected a casino to come to the city of Richmond.

As of 9:15 p.m., about 61% of voters voted against the casino referendum, according to the Virginia Board of Elections.

This is the second time in three years that the casino was on the ballot. In 2021, about 51% of the voters rejected that proposal.

“They came out and voted for the future of the city,” said Paul Goldman, leader of the No Means No Casino campaign. “They rejected the politics of the past. They want a path for the future. This is great. We got a coalition. We got an election coming next year. Let’s build a team that wants to build and move the city forward in a positive way. you can’t build a future on these old resentment politics. I know it. Hopefully, people see it now.”

Following the defeat of the referendum, Richmond Grand Resort and Casino issued the following statement:

“We are proud to have run a community-centered campaign to create more opportunities for residents of this great city to rise into the middle class. We are grateful to the thousands of Richmonders who voted for good jobs and a stronger city, especially those in southside who poured their hearts into this project.”

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney also released a statement following the referendum results:

“I will continue to be a voice for communities that have been historically overlooked and underserved. I will work for more accessible and affordable child care, for good paying jobs, and for an abundance of opportunities for ALL Richmonders – no matter their zip code or socioeconomic status.”

The battle for the casino heated up throughout the year once the measure was approved to be on the ballot. In August, a Richmond circuit court denied an emergency order to suspend the casino referendum from being on the ballot.

Also, in August, the casino was rebranded as the Richmond Grand Resort and Casino.

The proposal for the southside included 250 hotel rooms, resort-style amenities, a 55-acre park, a high-end gaming floor, and a 3,000-seat concert venue.

The Associated Press reports that Virginia opened the door to casinos in 2020 by approving legislation allowing five to be built around the state if the projects first secured voter approval.

So far, casinos have opened in Bristol, Portsmouth and Danville. A fourth is moving forward in Norfolk.