Exclusive coverage: Richmond responds to casino revival effort

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Two months after voters narrowly killed city hall’s propped-up plan for a casino, Councilwoman Reva Trammell wants Richmond to cash in on the idea again — already — and with same developer.

A draft resolution obtained by 8News Thursday details what Trammell will introduce this Monday to Council—she wants the same team behind the now failed Urban ONE proposal to be chosen as the preferred developer.

Trammell said she would prefer another vote happen during the congressional midterm election this November.

After the 8News story aired, viewers chimed in online.

Several people questioned the idea of holding another casino referendum so soon.

One responded, “so much for respecting the will of the voters.”

Trammell’s side of town in the southside, where the project was slated, overwhelmingly voted in favor of it, while the west end slanted “no.”

8News first reported State Senator Joe Morrissey planned to introduce his own bill in the General Assembly that would effectively block the city from holding another vote so quickly. 

Friday, he said he planned to introduce a draft of the legislation on Monday; the same day as Trammell’s bill introduction to city council. 

Morrissey said his bill would prohibit areas that qualify to build a casino — power granted by the statehouse in 2020 — from holding another referendum for five years.

“We have to respect the democratic vote,” Morrissey said.

City councilman Mike Jones said he is “interested in the legality” of Trammell’s bill.

Councilwoman Ann Frances-Lambert Dias she is open to the idea of another vote, but wants to “temp check” her district; which was divided on the casino outcome.

It’s unclear how other councilmembers may feel. 

However, a procedural vote last summer to advance the Urban ONE plan could indicate how Councilwoman Katherine Jordan may side. Jordan was the only council member that declined to advance the project; her office did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

After Jordan cast her sole “no” vote in June, Trammell quickly pushed back.

“You told me that you would support me for my people; black and brown and white for me to have this ONE casino,” Trammel said.

After the pointed statement, a clerical staffer asked Trammell to clarify if she voted in favor of the southside project..

“Your vote was “aye?,” the staffer asked.

“You’re damn right, it was,” Trammell quipped.

It’s unclear if Urban ONE wishes to pitch another casino plan, they did not respond to a request for comment.

Petersburg officials previously desired to negotiate with Urban ONE on a casino plan after the Richmond referendum was defeated.

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