A judge from the Richmond City Circuit Court has officially allowed the city to hold a second referendum regarding the proposed One Casino and Resort in November 2022.
Тhe $565-million casino resort project got rejected in the fall of 2021 with a narrow majority of local voters. Under a recent court order signed by Judge Reilly Marchant, the same proposal is set to be retaken to the 2022 ballots.
Earlier this year, both the Richmond City Council and the city’s Mayor, Levar Stoney, have called for another referendum on the issue, citing precisely the narrow majority that favored the rejection of the proposal. They also noted that the city would lose approximately $30 million in projected tax revenue every year that is expected to be generated by the casino resort project.
In a news release on March 21st, Mayor Stoney noted that the casino project provides South Richmond with a special economic development that would offer the city an additional source of revenue to address some funding gaps of community projects. He further noted that the proposed casino resort would enhance the playing field for many residents of the city at a time when Richmond authorities are working to deliver equity, diversity and inclusion.
Nearby City of Petersburg Seeking to Hold Casino Referendum, Too
Judge Reilly Marchant’s order has come at a time when state Senator Joe Morrissey and some officials in the city of Petersburg are aiming at holding a casino referendum there, too.
In February, a Virginia Senate committee turned down a piece of legislation seeking to allow Petersburg to hold a casino referendum there. Under a provision in the proposed state budget of the Senate, the city of Richmond would be temporarily suspended from holding a second referendum to provide the city of Petersburg with more time to carry out a casino study.
The regular annual session of the General Assembly ended earlier in March, but the body still has to reach an agreement on the next budget of the state of Virginia.
Yesterday, Senator Joe Morrissey explained that a moratorium would overrule the court order in case the provision is included in the adopted budget of the state. He noted that the budget is law, and law supersedes any court order or city ordinance. The Mayor of Richmond, however, remains optimistic after the most recent court ruling, and added that local officials are aware that it would not be the end. He said that Richmond officials would continue to advocate with the state’s General Assembly to preserve the city’s rights to pursue the development of the proposed casino resort as a game-changing opportunity.
In January 2022, Richmond City Council voted to hold another casino referendum in November. However, the resolution got rejected with a narrow majority.
Mayor Stoney, along with several council members, has made a proposal that seeks to see real estate tax in the city reduced by 2% in case city voters give the green light to the casino resort project this fall.