The company behind the vote yes to a casino in Richmond is considering campaigning for another referendum asking residents to reconsider their last month’s decision. Urban One, behind the proposed Richmond casino, has not given up following the defeat during an election/referendum on November 2.
Urban One is a media company that focuses on Black America. It partnered with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) which has tons of expertise in the casino gambling industry, to propose building the $565 million casinos adjacent to the Philip Morris tobacco plant on the I-95.
Their bid to have a casino in Richmond slightly faded when residents failed to pass the referendum with a few votes. Although the result must have been disappointing, Urban One and PSE have not abandoned their interest to have a casino in Virginia.
According to Richmond Times-Dispatch, the two companies are asking residents to reconsider having a casino. The report also shows that Urban One and P2E will use a different approach, including sending messages that show the advantages of building more than half a billion-dollar casino. Reva Trammell, a Richmond City Councilwoman, confirmed this news saying that the brands were collecting signatures that would lead to a second gaming ballot referendum.
Several residents have reported that a polling service had contacted them to identify how they voted and why during the referendum in November. Although Urban One and P2E have not claimed they are behind the polling, the researchers’ activity hints the two brands have not given up on Virginia.
A veteran political analyst spoke to Times-Dispatch, noting that Urban One and P2E thought they would succeed if they used a different messaging system. According to Bob Holsworth, a former dean at the Virginia Commonwealth University, the two companies believe they have a chance to win if they advertise the fiscal benefits of the proposed casino.
Urban One and P2E can ask for another referendum as no definitive law restricts it. However, Richmond has to reopen the bidding process, choose a casino before taking the final decision to voters.
Petersburg Seeks a Casino
Following Richmond’s rejection of a casino, Petersburg’s officials expressed their interest. The city sits approximately 20 miles south of Richmond. Through Mayor Samuel Parham, Petersburg is willing to have a luxurious casino built.
The mayor also explained that several people who seemed to work with either of the two companies were exploring Petersburg. Parham said that having such a casino would transform Petersburg immensely.
However, building a casino in Petersburg is much more complicated than asking Richmonders the question again. Last year, Virginia passed a commercial gaming law that allows specific cities with economic hardships to develop a casino to grow their economy if residents agree.
This qualified Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.
Unfortunately, Petersburg did not meet all the qualifying conditions. Thus, they cannot ask their residents to support building a casino yet. There has to be a state legislative action for a casino referendum to get to the polls in Petersburg.
Virginia senator Joe Morrissey plans to ask lawmakers to back an amendment to the 2020 gaming law. This would allow Petersburg to acquire a casino that Richmond is rejecting. But, this will draw opposition from casino developers in Portsmouth and Norfolk because Petersburg sits between Hampton Roads and Richmond.
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