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Richmond solicits casino plans ahead of 2021 referendum

December 29, 2020 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Officials in Richmond, Virginia, are asking organizations that hope to operate a casino in the city to submit their development plans.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Monday that city officials are hoping to figure out which project would best serve the city. At least three organizations have so far expressed interest in building a Richmond casino.

A local referendum on whether to permit casino gambling in the city will be held next year. Supporters of a casino say it’s an opportunity to create jobs and new tax revenue. But some civic leaders and residents worry it could lead to gentrification, traffic congestion and crime.

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City officials said they want proposals that can create economic and development opportunities while mitigating any potential adverse impacts on the city and its residents.

“This competitive selection process will allow us to find the best opportunity for Richmond, an economic development project that includes well-paying jobs and workforce training opportunities,” Mayor Levar Stoney said in a statement Monday. “Ultimately, the operator selected for this project must bring to the table the economic opportunity and community benefits voters will support in November.”