In the southern American state of Virginia and legislators reportedly killed off a measure yesterday that would have allowed the city of Petersburg to hold a referendum on whether to host a Las Vegas-style casino resort.
According to a Thursday report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, the Virginia State Senate’s influential General Law and Technology Sub-Committee voted by a margin of nine-to-seven to toss out the proposal from Virginia State Senator Joe Morrissey. The Democratic sponsor purportedly later told the source that he was ‘thunderstruck’ by the result of the vote and now intends to discuss the proposal with members of his own political party before potentially reviving his campaign at a later date.
However, the result of this ballot could reportedly prove beneficial to the ongoing campaign to bring the envisioned $600 million One Casino and Resort to the Virginia state capital of Richmond. Voters in the city of 227,000 people snubbed this casino plan via a November referendum while Morrissey’s legislation was purportedly to have also prevented this community from holding a second such plebiscite before the autumn of 2026.
The Richmond City Council reportedly passed a measure by an almost unanimous margin last month that is to see the casino question put before the community’s voters again in November. Proponents of this legislation purportedly disclosed that the finished One Casino and Resort would create in the region of 1,500 full-time jobs and see the city generate up to $30 million in additional annual tax revenues.
Morrissey represents the area around Petersburg, which lies some 24 miles south of Richmond, and reportedly asserted that it would be undemocratic and redundant for the latter community to be given the right to hold a second casino referendum so soon after its residents defeated the initial attempt. Instead, the 64-year-old former high school teacher purportedly claimed that a gambling-friendly establishment in his district would help to revitalize the entire region and provide much needed economic opportunity for its population of approximately 33,000 people.
This entire state of play reportedly comes after Virginia lawmakers passed legislation in April of 2020 that gave Richmond as well as the nearby cities of Norfolk, Danville, Bristol and Portsmouth permission to host large casino resorts so long as their local populations agreed by means of individual referendums. Although voters in the latter four communities overwhelmingly approved their own schemes in November, the residents of the former demurred by a slim 49% to 51% margin.
Moving forward and Danville is now reportedly planning to open its $500 million Caesars Virginia development in partnership with operator Caesars Entertainment Incorporated before the start of 2024 while Hard Rock International could well premiere its $400 million Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol around the same time. Elsewhere and the community of Portsmouth may purportedly debut the $300 million Rivers Casino Portsmouth from Rush Street Gaming in about two years’ time whereas Norfolk is said to be anticipating an early-2023 launch for its $500 million HeadWaters Resort and Casino.