Second Richmond Casino Referendum off the November Ballot

Richmond’s Office of Elections is removing a second referendum on whether or not to approve a casino in the city, after developers and city officials backed down in the face of opposition from the Virginia General Assembly.

After a 2021 referendum failed, Richmond city leaders and developer Urban One sought to hold another referendum in November 2022, and a court approved adding the measure to the ballot. But State Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) opposed that, seeking instead to give Petersburg an opportunity to develop a casino. After his efforts, the general assembly included language in the budget banning a second casino referendum until November 2023.

At the beginning of August, Morrissey and Delegate Kim Taylor (R-Dinwiddie) wrote a letter to Governor Glenn Youngkin saying that Richmond potentially intended to defy the budget, which is law while it is in effect.

Urban One indicated that they would no longer seek a 2022 referendum.

“We were disappointed with the introduction of the budget language, especially after both the House and Senate bills containing similar language were defeated in the General Assembly,” CEO Alfred Liggins said according to All Access.“Despite strong legal arguments to support moving forward in 2022, we have asked our partner, the City of Richmond, to withdraw their petition for a November 2022 ballot referendum because we feel a long protracted legal dispute at this time does not best serve the citizens of Richmond or the state of Virginia. We are now focused on winning the Richmond casino referendum in 2023.”

The Richmond City Council requested the court to reverse the earlier decision allowing the referendum, which the Richmond Circuit Court granted, according to a copy of the order obtained by The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

On Wednesday, the Richmond Office of Elections tweeted, “Good morning. Our office is now in possession of the court order that officially removes the casino referendum from the November ballot.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].




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