Richmond divided over casino vote

Richmond voters to decide on casino referendum

On Tuesday, Richmond voters will head to the polls to decide whether or not to allow Urban One and Churchill Downs to build a casino in South Richmond. The companies have poured millions of dollars into advertising in support of the Richmond Grand Resort and Casino, which would be constructed on Philip Morris-owned land just off Interstate 95.

One resident, Tonya Branham, expressed her support for the casino as she believes it will bring more jobs to the area and potentially help in cleaning up the neighborhood. These promises of new job opportunities and development have been central to the pro-casino campaign’s messaging. However, some, like Colin Quinn, an engineer in Church Hill, are resolute in their opposition, believing that a casino is not beneficial to the economy or the broader community.

Mayor Levar Stoney has been a vocal advocate for the casino, emphasizing the goal of providing more opportunities for those struggling to make ends meet. Additionally, casino supporters have pledged the creation of 1,300 jobs, with revenues from the casino contributing to expanding childcare and education in the city.

Richmond General Registrar Keith Balmer noted that early voting turnout has been lower than expected and that the casino referendum has been the primary focus of this election. However, this year’s turnout has been similar to a June primary, despite the inclusion of legislative races.

The decision will be a pivotal one for the city, with many factors at play, including potential economic benefits and the impact on the community. The outcome of the referendum will shape the future of Richmond and its residents.