A Virginia bill to bring a casino referendum in front of Petersburg voters passed through the state Senate last week. The legislative effort names Petersburg as the replacement for Richmond as the state’s fifth designated casino host city.
Richmond held casino referendums in 2021 and 2023, but both failed. The 2023 effort failed by a larger margin than the tightly contested 2021 referendum.
If Petersburg is selected as a brick-and-mortar casino host city, it would still bring a casino close to Richmond, as Petersburg is about a 30-minute drive from Virginia’s capital city.
Virginia’s legislative session runs through March 9, giving legislators roughly another month to send the Petersburg casino legislation to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk. Voters would then need to approve the referendum in November for casino construction in Petersburg to move forward.
Currently, there are three Virginia cities (Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth) with operational casinos. Norfolk officials are working with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe on plans to build a casino in their city, which would be the state’s fourth. Efforts to bring a casino to northern Virginia stalled out earlier this legislative session.
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