Urban One holds off on casino referendum on 2022 ballot

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 11:13 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:29 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The battle for a second casino referendum on this November’s ballot in Richmond is over after Urban One announced it would be looking to wait another year.

At an 8th District community meeting Thursday night, officials with Urban One explained how they had plans to put a second referendum on the ballot in November after it was approved by the courts earlier this year. However, a budget amendment passed in June by state lawmakers would have to hit pause for Richmond until 2023.

“This has created a conflict. A legal conflict and a huge cloud of doubt in order for us to run this referendum in order to bring One Casino and Resort,” Alfrid Liggins, with Urban One, said.

That amendment opened the door for the city of Petersburg to conduct a study and see if a casino is feasible there.

Richmond’s effort to move forward escalated the conflict, leading Sen. Joe Morrissey and Del. Kim Taylor to send a letter to Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

In it, they asked the state’s attorney general to step in to prevent a referendum in Richmond.

Liggins said to avoid any legal battles that would not represent the city of Richmond well, they’re going to wait.

“With that said, Urban One has elected to ask our partners, the city of Richmond, to request that the court unwind the court order and actually focus on the referendum for 2023,” Liggins said.

Liggins said the decision to move the referendum back was made before he knew about the letter from Morrissey and Taylor.

At the meeting, councilmember Reva Trammell said she was disappointed in last year’s decision but is eager to see the thousands of well-paying jobs promised by Urban One in her district.

“Look at the 268 units and two clubhouses coming over there by 8th Street,” Trammell said. “It’s the biggest demolition in 2001. Go look at it now. They’ve already started the houses. Look at all the other development that’s coming here in our eighth district.”

Liggins said those jobs and everything promised will still come along with the project.

“We are committed to this. We continue to be committed at this location, right here, in the 8th District,” Liggins said. “You have our word. We’re going to continue to fight and focus on 2023.”

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