Politics/ElectionsVirginia

Casino vote still uncertain in Richmond

By ELI KLINE
(CNS) – The Richmond casino referendum remained undecided early Wednesday, though opponents of the ONE Casino and Resort on the Southside appeared to have a slight lead.

Earlier unofficial voting was closer than expected with 48% in favor and 51% against according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

The General Assembly passed a bill last year allowing some cities to vote on casinos. Of the five cities approved in the bill, Richmond has yet to pass a referendum on a casino.

The company Urban ONE, a media conglomerate that operates properties targeted toward Black populations, was seeking to establish a casino in Southside Richmond. if approved, it would have been the first black-owned casino in the United States, according to city officials.

Proponents of the casino touted the jobs and revenue it would bring into the city, saying it would stimulate economic development and create wealth. Residents of the precincts closest to the proposed casino location voted overwhelmingly in favor of it, while those on the Northside of Richmond away from the proposed site voted mostly against.

Opponents of the casino say they worry about the social costs of casinos such as increased gambling addiction and low-income people losing their out-of-pocket money..

Urban ONE was required to have a minimum capital investment of over $562 million in order to get on the ballot, and the casino would have posed no financial obligations to the city. 

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