RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg’s hopes of hosting a $1.4 billion casino resort and blocking Richmond from getting a second chance at a project are still alive, although it faces a difficult road.

The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill Tuesday from Del. Kim Taylor (R-Dinwiddie) that would let Petersburg put a question on ballots this November for voters to decide whether to approve the proposed casino project from The Cordish Companies that the city has approved.

Virginia lawmakers passed legislation to allow five cities to become eligible for a casino. With four already approved, two cities are angling for the last spot: Petersburg and Richmond.

Del. Taylor said the proposed casino would be a “once-in-a-lifetime economic project” for Petersburg and create jobs that would offer more than double the per capita income in the city.

Support of the effort is “not a vote for a casino,” Taylor said on the House floor Tuesday, but “a vote for the people of Petersburg.”

Del. Mark D. Sickles (D-Fairfax) said the legislation presented a “zero-sum game” by stopping Richmond from holding another casino ballot referendum, which voters narrowly rejected in 2021.

Del. Sickles also raised doubts that the measure would pass through the Virginia Senate after an identical proposal from state Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) failed to advance out of the chamber.

Sickles said he was open to possibly allowing both cities to pursue casino referendums, an option that a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission study could happen.

While the JLARC report said the casinos could coexist, a representative from Petersburg’s chosen casino developer, Cordish COO Zed Smith, told a Virginia Senate panel that the $1.4 billion project would not be able to move forward as proposed with a Richmond casino.

The proposed project from Cordish, which has a price tag more than double the price of Richmond’s effort with Urban One, would be built in multiple phases if approved by Petersburg voters.

Cordish’s proposed plan calls for the construction of a 4 million-square-foot casino resort on Petersburg’s south side next to the Interstate 95 interchange at Wagner Road. It would include a casino, hotel, resort pool and center for events such as live music.

Taylor’s bill passed on a 49-44 vote, with one abstention, sending it to the Virginia Senate.