A Richmond, Va., nonprofit will get its day in court against a local casino referendum.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge William R. Marchant on Tuesday stepped back from his earlier approval of plans for a casino referendum this year. The judge suspended his July 25 order to give the nonprofit and the city an opportunity to file legal arguments on the casino question,.

The decision came after Lodge No. 1 of the Good Lions, which runs charitable bingo games in the city, sought to intervene in the case..

Now, the Good Lions and city attorneys have until Friday to file legal arguments in the case. Marchant said he would issue a ruling on the Lions’ underlying arguments by August 23, according to WRIC.

Decision Affects Ballot Schedule

Marchant said the decision to hear out the Lions won’t interfere with plans to put the question on the November ballot unless the charity is able to prevail on the merits.

The Good Lions argued that Richmond’s mayor and city council violated state law by proceeding with the casino plan without considering competing proposals. A chapter of Lions Club International, the group holds charitable gaming events at a local bingo parlor. It says those operations would be harmed by the entrance of a new casino into the market, and a state-sponsored analysis of the potential for casino gaming has reached similar conclusions.

No-Bid Contract at Issue

The proposed resort would be built by a company known as RVA Entertainment Holdings LLC, the same entity that was selected following a competitive bidding process in 2021. However, the companies behind the project have changed since then, namely with the entrance of Churchill Downs Incorporated into the process alongside existing applicant Urban One, a Baltimore media company.

Richmond Senior Assistant City Attorney Wirt P. Marks, who represented the city at Wednesday’s hearing, argued that the city doesn’t need to go through a competitive bidding process because the casino will be built on private land, according to WRIC. An attorney for the Good Lions disputed that claim, saying that competitive bidding was “inherently part of the process” when voters have to approve the underlying project.

Marchant signaled that the nonprofit may have better luck with an injunction request rather than trying to intervene in the case, as they are doing now. The Good Lions attorney, Christopher Robertson, told WRIC they had not considered an injunction request, but were not ruling it out.

If Richmond prevails in court, voters will get a chance to decide on the referendum on the November 7 ballot. A similar question in 2021 failed on a 51-49% margin.

Casino proponents say the project would create 1,300 jobs and bring new revenue to the city. Richmond would receive up-front payments of $26.5 million. 바카라사이트

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