A Richmond Circuit Court judge has rejected a recent legal challenge seeking to prevent a second casino referendum from being held this November. Last month, the non-profit organization Lodge No.1 of the Good Lions filed a legal challenge, raising concerns about the potential negative impact of the casino on their fundraising efforts.
The non-profit organizes bingo games biweekly, and funds are used to support good causes. As reported by BonusInsider earlier this month, the organization asserted that the casino would either wipe out or severely affect its ability to raise funds for charitable purposes. Besides, Lodge No.1 of the Good Lions claimed that Richmond officials did not abide by state laws by selecting a developer for the casino project without a fair bidding process. Attorneys for the city, however, asserted that Richmond officials followed the process as required by state law.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney commended the judge’s decision and explained that the proposed casino resort would create 1,300 well-paid jobs and pump approximately $30 million into the city’s economy. Mr. Stoney added that if approved, the casino project would significantly improve the economic situation of the city’s Southside.
Ninth District Councilmember and Council President Mike Jones said that the casino project, if approved, would be a historic economic development for the city. He also spoke to the people who voted against the casino proposal last time, explaining that the information on the casino project was insufficient back then. Mr. Mike added that people are now aware of the economic benefits of having a casino in the city and expressed hopes that the second casino referendum will be successful.
The Casino Referendum Clears Another Hurdle, But There Are Still Some Obstacles
The judge has sided with the city for two reasons. Firstly, the judge decided that legal intervention was inappropriate for this particular judicial process, which aimed at authorizing a casino referendum. Secondly, even if the court were to consider legal intervention, the non-profit organization lacked legal standing to challenge the casino referendum. The judge explained that Lodge No.1 of the Good Lions failed to establish a direct link between their potential loss of revenue and the proposed casino project. Therefore, it was the state law allowing casinos that have more responsibility regarding any potential negative effects.
Chap Petersen, an attorney for the Lions, expressed his disappointment with the fact that the court rejected to hear the case. Mr. Peterson argued that the non-profit organization he represents has the legal standing to bring a legal challenge against the casino. He explained that the non-profit could appeal the judge’s decision to the Virginia Court of Appeals, but the organization has not made a decision yet.
Apart from this, the only remaining obstacle preventing the casino matter from being added to the November vote would be a stipulation included in the state budget that blocks the casino referendum from taking place. On Wednesday morning, lawmakers announced that they would reach an agreement on the budget by the end of the week but did not provide any details regarding the deal. In response to the possible remaining obstacles, Jones expressed hopes that the General Assembly and the Governor would follow suit and allow Richmonders to at least vote on the proposed casino project.