City officials are asking their residents to help shape the development, location, and impact of a possible new Richmond casino.
The Virginia capital city will formally decide the fate of the project with a voter referendum on Election Day 2021, Nov. 2. Before then, though, officials want residents to take an online survey to help guide the process.
Four other Virginia cities recently approved casino-resort projects during 2020 Election Day ballot initiatives. The projects are now moving forward in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Along with Richmond, legislators identified those five economically struggling cities for legal casino gaming venues. The first four casinos are likely to open in late 2022 and 2023.
However, the Richmond casino could be the busiest of all Virginia casinos once it opens. In fact, a study from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission estimated that five operational Virginia casinos could generate $970 million annually in overall gaming revenue, including $262 million in state gaming taxes. And of that nearly billion-dollar jolt to the Virginia economy, the Richmond casino is expected to generate nearly a third of it.
So, what should Richmond do with its slice of the casino pie? City officials want help deciding that question and others.
Richmond casino survey now online
The survey is geared toward locals. However, the Richmond Department of Economic Development is also encouraging participation from people who work, play, and do business in the Hampton Roads city.
The survey is available through the City of Richmond website, and it closes on Dec. 14.
Among the topics covered in the survey:
- Economic development benefits
- Potential community benefits
- Casino features and attractions
- Transportation options for the casino
- Demographic info for survey participants
Most importantly, it’ll help Richmond officials determine a preferred casino operator and a location for the resort. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which was also approved to build the new Pamunkey Casino Resort Norfolk, is expected to lead a group of Richmond hopefuls and has already pledged $350 million toward the project. However, residents first will get their say.
Timeline for casino opening in Richmond
According to Richmond officials, they plan to open the request for qualifications/proposals later this month. That process will close in February.
In the summer of 2021, the City of Richmond will announce its chosen operator after working with a consulting group and listening to residents’ feedback. However, that process starts with the survey.
As Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney stated:
“A competitive selection process will allow us to assess the best opportunity for Richmond. This survey is your opportunity to make sure the development proposals reflect your priorities, such as living-wage jobs, sustainable building practices and investment in the community.”
After officials announce an operator, Richmond voters will have the ultimate say with the Election Day casino referendum in November.
Here’s a graphical look at the timeline:
If successful, and based on the casino vote tallies in other Virginia cities, it’s likely city and casino officials can then lay out a timeline for the Richmond casino’s construction and opening.