After a late suspension, Richmond Circuit Court judge William Marchant has ruled in the favor of the City of Richmond, Virginia’s petition to hold a second casino referendum in November.

The referendum was due to be finalized last week, but Marchant made the decision to give time for legal opposition. Richmond Lodge No. 1 of the Good Lions, Inc, a nonprofit organization in the city was the complainant.

Good Lions Inc, alleged that Richmond City Council violated the Virginia Constitution by not allowing a complete public bidding process for the project which was granted to a joint venture of Urban One Inc and Churchill Downs.

In addition, it argued that the building of a new resort would considerably harm business and heavily impact the nonprofit’s income. It hosts charitable gaming evenings twice a week at Pop’s Bingo World.

Local news outlet 8News reports that Judge Marchant reached his conclusion based on two major points of analysis:

  1. The judicial proceeding was not amenable to intervention
  2. Good Lions, Inc. lacks standing to intervene because it has not identified a right involved in the proceeding, and because the challenged government action is not fairly traceable to the alleged harm.

Marchant said in his ruling: ““This judicial proceeding in which Good Lions seeks to intervene, is merely the last step in an administrative process for the placing of a referendum on the ballot. It is not an adversary proceeding with adverse parties and issues to be litigated.”

He continued: “There are no plaintiffs or defendants, there is no contest of rights, and as such, the Court finds that this limited non-adversarial judicial proceeding is not amenable to intervention by a party seeking assertion or protection of claims or rights. Further, the Court finds that Good Lion has not identified any ‘right’ involved in this limited judicial proceeding.”

The decision on whether or not Virginia’s capital will see the $562 million state-of-the-art casino resort now rests with the voters. The vote goes to ballot on Tuesday November 7, 2023.

Legalized Virginia casino started to roll out last year, with the opening of the state’s first temporary casino. The legislature dictates there are five casinos authorized under state law, with Richmond’s referendum remaining a thorn in the lawmakers side.

The proposal promises 1,300 new jobs, entertainment venues, a casino, a sportsbook, restaurant and 55 acre park and a $26.5 million upfront payment to the state