RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond casino proposal has yet again been rejected by voters in the capital city, a place where many say they didn’t want to see a vote for the casino to come back in the first place.
One of those voters is Richmond resident Rachel Worthington, who said she thought residents’ voices were heard the first time around.
“It felt a little suspicious and kind of off-putting that they came back with a big media campaign. And it felt like kind of a, you know, a public pressure campaign to get the casino through, even though two years ago we said no,” Worthington explained.
The developers behind Richmond Grand Resort and Casino hoped to convince voters with their $10 million advertising campaign on how the proposed $562 million South Richmond Casino would benefit the city – but it wasn’t enough. About 61.62% of Richmond voters voted against the casino.
“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,” the casino developers said in a statement. “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.”
Mayor Lavar Stoney also spoke about the failed proposal after Election Day ended.
“The voters said no, and the sun will rise tomorrow and we’re going to get up and continue to work towards improving the lives of Richmonders,” Mayor Stoney said.
Virginia lawmakers initially opened the door to five casino licenses in 2020, but only if secured by voter approval in the local community.
Earlier this year, Petersburg and Richmond were fighting for the last license. But the bill allowing Petersburg residents to vote failed, giving Richmond its second shot, which also ultimately failed when Richmond residents rejected the proposal.
Mayor Stoney was asked why Richmond is — again — the odd one out. He said only data will give us that answer.
“Look at what the demographics show and what you know, the voting preferences mean,” Mayor Stoney said.
In the aftermath of the rejection of the casino, 8News reached out to the Virginia Lottery to find out more about the future of the casino, since he Virginia Lottery has control of all casino gaming.
The Virginia Lottery replied that since they would have only been involved with licensing and regulating the casino, they can’t say what the future holds.
8News also reached out to Urban One — one of the developers behind the failed casino proposal — and Richmond for any information on the future of the casino, but have not yet received a response.