Update: Portsmouth passes resolution for casino

Posted at 8:19 PM, Dec 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-19 19:38:23-05

Update: The Portsmouth City Council passed a resolution, 4-3 in support of bringing a casino to the city according to Elizabeth Psimas. 

Mayor Kenny Wright and two others opposed the legislation. 

This is just the first step for the proposal. Senator Louise Lucas will now take the bill to the General Assembly. 

Previous: Portsmouth, Va. - The stage is set yet again for a battle Wednesday night in Portsmouth, just 24 hours after Mayor Kenny Wright held up a vote on bringing a casino into the city.

“I wish you would reconsider,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Psimas.

“We ought to give our senator the right to leave here knowing where we are going,” said Councilman Curtis Edmonds Sr.

State Senator Louise Lucas says she needs the council's support before she introduces her casino bill in Richmond.

If passed, 90% of tax revenue from the casino would go towards lowering the costs of tunnel tolls, with the other 10% going straight to the City of Portsmouth.

“Break the bondage of taxes and tolls that are going to break the backs of residents if we don't come up with some form of revenue,” said Lucas.

Some people who live in Portsmouth, though, are skeptical of the casino's benefits.

“To work at a casino, you can’t have committed any crimes, need to have a clean criminal history and pass background checks. Councilman Meeks, you say this would bring 1500 jobs, but how many Portsmouth residents do you think would work there?” asked Mimosa Cove resident Pat Simons.

Others, though, stood up in support of the casino...wanting to bring money back to the city they live in and love.

“Every single day of the week, there are buses going to Maryland, Connecticut, West Virginia and Delaware. They are going, and they are getting all of our money,” said Elvira Johnson.

So Wednesday at 9 p.m., the city council will try yet again to give the casino a green light.

They are taking a gamble they say could turn Portsmouth's luck around.

“We can come together to free Portsmouth from the stigma of being the area’s least desirable city,” said Senator Lucas.