Virginia Voters Reject Casino (Again) – Here’s Why

( – Richmond residents shot down a proposal to authorize the construction of a casino in the city for the second time in recent years. The first attempt was a close vote, this recent round was far more conclusive. The last time was in 2021, shortly after the state legislature had approved the opening of five casinos around the state, presuming the locals voted affirmatively.

The project was tentatively titled the Richmond Grand Resort and Casino and would have repurposed the site of a former tobacco company just off I-95 in southern Richmond. Urban One and Churchill Downs are the two companies behind the push, the former is a large media company while the latter operates the Kentucky Derby and multiple casinos around the country.

They promised jobs, tax revenue, and tourism and invested $10 million into a political group that lobbied for the project. The mayor was a supporter, as were multiple civil rights groups and local businesses.

Opponents claimed the developers weren’t being properly scrutinized and that the addition of a casino in the area would negatively impact working-class or low-income people. They also felt antagonized by a vote coming up again just two years later.

Victoria Cobb is the president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, and she led the Richmond Anti-Corruption League which was expressly organized to oppose the casino. She said city leaders should feel “embarrassed” that they had to get beat a second time at the ballot box before getting the message that voters didn’t want a casino in south Richmond. She further said she hoped that this time the developers would get the message.

A guest radio host for an Urban One station called local activist Paul Goldman “a white Jew” while another host, Cathy Hughes used the infamous n-word on the air. Both their full comments are available here for the curious reader. Preston Brown, the guest host, was asked to leave by management, who apologized for the remarks. Mayor Levar Stoney distanced himself from the controversy with a post on X saying he condemned the “antisemitic remarks” unequivocally.

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