Judge orders second casino referendum in Richmond to vote

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A Richmond judge has granted the city’s motion to hold a second casino referendum this November, using the same operator that was rejected by Richmond voters last year.

Richmond City Council voted in January for a second referendum to allow an Urban ONE-operated casino on Richmond’s Southside.

The casino push was championed by Mayor Levar Stoney and Councilwoman Reva Trammell, but it won almost unanimous support among City Council members, with only Councilwoman Katherine Jordan voting against the second referendum.

Now, an order by Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant has closed the issue and ordered it to appear on Richmond voters’ ballots in November. The text of the referendum as it will appear on voters’ ballots is shown below:

The text of the referendum as it will appear on ballot papers in November.

Richmond voters narrowly rejected the casino proposal last November, and the push for a second vote was met with opposition from community advocates and the local hospitality workers’ union.

The move is also opposed by State Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Petersburg), who has been pushing for a budget change that would examine the viability of a casino in the city of Petersburg and prevent Richmond from holding another referendum until November 2023.

His budget change will likely be considered during the upcoming special session to finalize the state budget.

Councilwoman Trammell has argued that while it features exactly the same operator and development plan, the addition of a property tax cut to this year’s proposal makes the new proposal different enough to warrant another vote.

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