The CEO of Urban One, the company pursuing the construction of a Richmond casino, revealed that he will focus on popularizing a casino referendum in 2023 rather than in the fall of 2022.
Speaking at a community meeting in the city district where the $600-million Richmond casino resort was supposed to be built, Alfred Liggins revealed that he has addressed the city authorities, asking them to suspend their plans to hold a second referendum on the casino in 2022 because of the uncertainty and legal issues associated with the project. Previously, at the time when state lawmakers gave the green light to a bill that undermined Urban One’s plans to establish a casino resort in the city of Richmond, the company’s CEO threatened litigation.
After more than half of Richmond voters (51%) said no to the casino project in 2021, a budget that included a provision suspending local authorities from holding a new referendum on the matter until 2023 was adopted by the Virginia General Assembly. Holding a new referendum will also only be possible after a special study on the potential economic impact of a Richmond casino is held.
As explained by Mr. Liggins, these issues had created a massive controversy and doubt because a lengthy legal battle was not in the best interest of the community, the city of Richmond and the state of Virginia.
Urban One Remains Willing to Pursuit the Establishment of Proposed One Casino Project
Last night, the city revealed that it would file a petition seeking to remove the casino-related question from this year’s election ballot. The statement also says that the city of Richmond is ready to move the proposed issue on the One Casino and Resort project of Urban One in 2023, and makes a promise that the delay would not deter Urban One or the city from working in collaboration.
After a referendum held in 2021, a number of state legislators and officials from Petersburg insisted on making an amendment in the new casino gambling legislation of the state, so that Petersburg residents were given the chance to decide whether a casino should be established there or not. Under the provisions of the casino law in question, which was originally passed in 2020, five cities across the state – Richmond, Danville, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Bristol – got permission to establish casino venues with the approval of local voters. So far, locals in four of the five cities, except for Richmond, have given their approval to casino projects in their communities.
There have been some legislative efforts aimed at adding Petersburg to the aforementioned cities allowed to establish a casino, while some lawmakers invested a lot of efforts in blocking a second referendum from being held in Richmond by the end of 2022. Richmond officials, however, have noted they were willing to make another move towards making the project a reality, highlighting the expected $30 million in annual tax revenue that the city would have received as a result of the planned casino establishment.