Richmond councilor bets on casino referendum again, state senator hopes to block luck

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Although Richmond voters who ran in the 2021 election narrowly denied the Urban ONE casino project, a new effort to try again has sprung up from City Hall.

Richmond City Councilor Reva Trammell, who represents the southern electoral district where the media company has proposed a $ 565 million casino and resort, is circulating a petition to hold another referendum on the casinos next year.

Although Trammell’s petition explicitly states “we are calling on Richmond City Council to consider bringing ONE Casino back for a referendum in 2022”, it is not clear whether the company has an interest in having a second chance at the polls.

“This is where it should have been, where it needs to be back,” Trammell told 8News Friday at the previously offered casino off Bells Road off Interstate 95.

51.4% of voters said “no” to the referendum on casinos, which appeared on the back of the ballot in November.

8News previously reported that officials in Petersburg have started talks to set up a casino there; an effort backed by Democratic State Senator Joe Morrissey.

While Morrissey has backed the Urban ONE plan, he hopes to effectively prevent the capital from voting on a casino again in the near future.

“We must respect the democratic vote,” he said.

Morrissey said he drafted a bill that would prevent Richmond from holding another referendum on the games for five years.

“By analogy, let’s say someone lost an election by a narrow margin. OK what? Hold an election next year, and if they don’t win, next year after? And then, ultimately, you might win, and that’s just incompatible with the democratic process. Morrissey said after 8News shared a copy of Trammell’s petition.

“Senator Joe Morrissey, don’t do this to us,” Trammell replied to the senator’s efforts.

Although no deal has been made in Petersburg with a casino operator, a license should be allowed.

But back in Richmond, it’s not just Trammell asking voters in town on the subject.

Some residents recently received a text message with a link to a poll mentioning the referendum and how they voted for and against the poll. This online survey does not exist anymore.

The source of the survey is unclear, although the text message says it is from “State Election Research.” 8News called and texted the phone number associated with the message.

There was no response to the SMS and the call was immediately sent to an automated message stating “Your call could not be completed as dialed.” “

As the law currently allows, Richmond is able to choose a preferred casino operator before a referendum. There is no indication whether Urban ONE would try again, but Mayor Levar Stoney’s office said Friday, because the city has lost income and jobs, “he understands why City Councilor Trammell and others might be interested in a reconsideration “.

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