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Richmond voters to have final say on future of casino

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Posted at 6:37 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 18:37:26-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Voters in Richmond will have the final say on whether or not a casino will be built on the city's Southside.

At the voting precinct closest to the site of the proposed casino, a steady stream of voters bundled up against a cold drizzle. Every single person CBS 6 spoke with there said they would vote "yes" for the casino.

"I like the casino. I go to the casinos all the time," Iris Smith, a Southside voter said.

"Anything that helps Richmond grow. I can't see nothing wrong with it," Normand Hinton, another Southside voter said.

Their support did not stop Aaron Tabb with Richmond4All from trying to sway votes.

"What happens when casinos are built is there is a lot of out of pocket money that people lose, gambling addiction rates go up, there are a lot of social consequences of casinos being built," Tabb said.

Far across town in the near west end is where CBS6 found a more mixed bag of voters.

Some voters said they supported the casino while others said they did not.

"I think bottom line, it's great for the community, great for the tax base and great for the school systems," David Cazalas, a near West End voter said.

"I don't believe those jobs are going to directly to benefit those that live in the area that it has been chosen to be placed," Andy Young, another near West End voter said.

In the Northside, the home of Senator Tim Kaine who publicly announced he voted no on the casino project, CBS6 found more no votes than yes votes.

"The casino isn't really the solution to invigorate the community. I don't believe it's going to be successful in what it claims to do, creating jobs, building wealth in Richmond," Joanna Bartley, a Northside voter said.

CBS6 political analyst Doctor Bob Holsworth said casino referendums have passed easily in other parts of the state, but those votes happened in places in dire economic straits which is not the case in Richmond.

That makes this vote more contentious.