RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg’s hopes of hosting a $1.4 billion resort casino and preventing Richmond from getting a second chance at the project are still alive, though it has a tough road ahead.
The Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday passed a bill from Del. Kim Taylor (R-Dinwiddie), which allows Petersburg to put a question on the ballot this November for voters to decide whether to approve a proposed casino project from The Cordish Companies approved by the city. .
Virginia lawmakers passed legislation allowing five cities to qualify for casinos. Of the four already approved, two cities are vying for the last spot: Petersburg and Richmond.
Dell Taylor said the proposed casino would be a “once-in-a-lifetime economic project” for Petersburg and would create jobs that would more than double the city’s per capita income.
Supporting the effort is “not a vote for casinos,” Taylor said on the House floor Tuesday, but “a vote for the people of Petersburg.”
Rep. Mark D. Sickles (D-Fairfax) said the legislation is a “zero-sum game,” preventing Richmond from having another casino referendum that voters rejected in 2021.
Del Sickles also expressed doubt that the measure would pass the Virginia Senate, following an identical proposal by state Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond). it was not possible to advance from the camera.
Sickles said he is open to allowing both cities to hold casino referendums, an option that Joint Commission on Audit and Revision of Legislation research can happen.
Although the JLARC report said the casinos could coexist, a spokesman for Petersburg’s chosen casino developer, Cordish COO Zed Smith, told a Virginia Senate panel that the $1.4 billion project would not be able to move forward. as it was offered with casino Richmond.
Cordish’s proposed project, which is more than double the cost of Richmond’s effort with Urban One, would be built in several phases if approved by Petersburg voters.
Cordish’s proposed plan calls for a 4 million-square-foot resort-casino on the south side of Petersburg near the Interstate 95 interchange at Wagner Road. It will include a casino, a hotel, a resort pool and a center for events such as live music.
Taylor’s bill passed 49-44 with one abstention, sending it to the Virginia Senate.