Virginia Newspaper Says It’s Time To Give Petersburg A Chance At A Casino

Written By Cole Rush on March 29, 2023 - Last Updated on August 1, 2023
virginia casinos petersburg site richmond times-dispatch editorial

Is it time for Richmond to abandoned its attempts to approve a new brick-and-mortar casino? The editorial board at the Richmond Times-Dispatch thinks so.

Four new Virginia casinos were overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2020 (more on those below), but Richmond has had a tough go at things.

The Times-Dispatch says Richmond — originally the fifth city on the state’s list of new casino host locations — should step back and give Petersburg a chance.

Petersburg giving Richmond a rest?

The Petersburg-Richmond debate is complex. Richmond was among the five cities originally slated for a casino referendum, but numerous roadblocks kept the project from moving forward. Petersburg, on the other hand, has a bevy of community support, plus the land needed for such an undertaking. The Cordish Companies proposed a $1.4 billion development near Wagner Road and off of Interstate 95, if indeed lawmakers approved a project.

However, there’s a wrench in those gears. Petersburg could get approved to hold a referendum. Voters would then be allowed to vote on a sixth Virginia casino, whether or not Richmond’s becomes a reality.

The Cordish Companies would not pursue their Petersburg project if Richmond moved forward with a referendum and, subsequently (contingent on approval), its casino project. According to the Richmond Time-Dispatch: “That would be a mistake.”

The Editorial Board worries that a Richmond casino would cause economic displacement, hurting business at nearby restaurants and other entertainment establishments. Moreover, the op-ed suggests the benefits of a new casino wouldn’t be the windfall many expect.

“People don’t suddenly decide to spend twice as much money on fun and games when a new casino comes to town. If you drop $200 for dinner and poker on a Saturday night, that’s money you’re not spending someplace else — say, the movies, a baseball game, or a concert.”

The Richmond Times-Dispatch keeps its conclusion simple, saying, “Richmond has had its say. It’s time to let Petersburg voters have theirs.”

Rocky road for Virginia casino in Richmond

Richmond’s progress toward a new casino development has been mired by setbacks. Voters rejected an initial proposal by Urban One and Peninsula Pacific Entertainment. The margin was fewer than 2,000 votes.

In March 2022, a judge granted another referendum for a Richmond casino. Then, in August 2022, a Virginia budget amendment pushed the vote — originally scheduled for November of the same year — into 2023.

This would-be attempt is currently sparring with Petersburg’s potential casino. Though officials have said they wouldn’t pursue their own if Richmond moved forward, a lot remains to be seen.

It appears Richmond will have another go at its casino, however. The General Assembly session ending February 25 rejected Petersburg’s proposal for a referendum. Barring further setbacks or delays, the VA capital will put a casino on the ballot come November

Keeping up with the Joneses

Meanwhile, it’s smooth sailing for the four other Virginia cities approved for a casino project.

Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth all approved their casino projects in 2021.

Caesars Danville Casino is set to open soon, and it could generate over $39 million for the city. Bristol Hard Rock, meanwhile, recently held a hiring event.

Photo by Shutterstock
Cole Rush Avatar
Written by
Cole Rush

Cole Rush writes words. A lot of them. Most of those words can be found at gambling publications such as iGaming Business, Gaming Today,,, ICE 365, and IGB North America. Cole also covers pop culture and books for and Cole has more than 9 years of experience writing about gambling and entertainment.

View all posts by Cole Rush