RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond voters won’t see a second casino referendum on the ballot this November.
A Richmond Circuit Court judge granted a request from the city council to have the casino referendum removed after the city secured a court order in March to have one on this year’s ballot. The city’s elections office announced Wednesday it has received the new order removing the referendum from the ballot.
The move was expected after the company backing the One Casino and Resort project announced in early August it did not support a second vote this year due to the “legal conflict” the effort would require.
Virginia lawmakers and Gov. Glenn Youngkin approved a state budget deal that blocks Richmond from holding another casino referendum until November 2023. When the budget was approved in June, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney signaled that the city was weighing its legal options.
But Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins said the budget language “created a conflict, a legal conflict and a huge cloud of doubt” over the city’s plans for a second referendum and that the company would pursue the project in 2023 instead of 2022.
Urban One was behind the One Casino and Resort project, which Richmond voters narrowly rejected last November. Richmond officials estimated the project would bring in $30 million in annual tax revenue.
The state budget calls for a study on whether Petersburg would be a suitable host city for a casino. After Richmond voted down the casino project, state Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) pushed for Petersburg to be considered.
Sen. Morrissey backed bills to include Petersburg as an option and block Richmond from holding a second vote this year, legislative efforts that failed to get enough support. The path for Richmond’s second casino vote appeared clear until the state budget language was introduced and approved.
Election Day for the congressional midterms and certain local races will be held on Nov. 8.