Workers’ unions back second Richmond casino referendum

The casino was rejected in a referendum in November 2021.
The casino was rejected in a referendum in November 2021.

Unions say a casino would offer strong career prospects in Virginia.

US.- Three key workers’ unions have shown their support for a second referendum on a land-based casino in south Richmond, Viriginia. The Richmond Building and Construction Rades Council, and Unite Here 23 & 25 praised the “major opportunity” and career prospects that the casino could bring if it’s approved at the ballot box in November

“We respect Urban One and Churchill Downs’ demonstrated commitment to Richmond,” said Paul Schwalb, executive secretary-treasurer of Unite Here Local 25. “The resort will bring over 1,300 family-sustaining jobs to the region during construction and when the resort opens for operation.”

“This half-billion-dollar project will mean opportunities for incumbent area construction workers and for city residents desiring to enter an apprenticeship and start their careers,” Schwalb continued.

“We support this project and urge all Richmonders to vote for it, because it respects the work of our members. These middle-class careers in construction have family-sustaining wages, health insurance and a secure retirement.”

One Resort referendum

A court order authorised Richmond to place the $562m casino proposal on the ballot again on November 7. A previous referendum was narrowly voted down by residents in November 2021. Urban One’s plan was to construct a 90,000 square foot gaming floor with 2,000 slot machines, over 100 gaming tables, a competition poker room and a sportsbook. A hotel would have offered 250 4-Star, AAA 4-Diamond luxury rooms, with the possibility to expand to 600.

Mayor Levar Stoney said: “I am excited to see the Virginia Lottery and the Richmond Circuit Court approve the referendum for a Richmond destination resort and entertainment venue that will provide 1,300 good-paying jobs and an estimated $30 million in annual revenue to tackle our community’s greatest needs. Richmond is experiencing record development and growth, and with the addition of a destination resort we will change the economic trajectory of Southside for years to come.”

See also: Virginia reports $52.1m in casino revenue for June

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Land-based casinos