RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There are no longer any other competitors in the running but the race to become Richmond’s only casino and resort is far from over. Media conglomerate Urban ONE, advocates for the Urban ONE casino and opponents of the plans are ramping up their efforts to sway the public to their sides.
Over the past year, Richmonders have been subjected to many casino advertisements, especially when multiple developers were in the mix. Now, campaigns for and against the project have been getting louder in anticipation of the November election. A referendum on the ballot will give Richmond voters the final say as to whether or not the casino gets built.
Billboards with messages like “Invest in Southside” have been put up around the area to promote Urban ONE’s casino plan for the site of the former Philip Morris Operations Center on Richmond’s Southside. There are three billboards related to the casino back to back on Interstate 95 and 64 interchange near Belvidere Street.
Urban ONE has also put commercials on television and the radio, and mailed out flyers.
The number of billboards is set to increase very soon, an Urban ONE spokesperson tells 8News that more than 75 billboards will go up next month.
“I just say ‘stay tuned,’ because we are going to do everything that we can do to spread our good message,” Urban One Executive Vice President Karen Wishart said.
Groups opposing the casino project have put up yard signs and sent out mailers making their stance known. Yard signs were put up with messages opposing all of the Richmond casino finalists before Richmond City Council landed on Urban ONE’s $600 million project.
Quinton Robbins with advocacy group Richmond For All says they’ve started knocking on doors and sharing why they think people should vote against a casino.
“We think it’s really important that we get a baseline for how people feel,” in the Southside Robbins said.
The organization is “expecting to expand throughout the city and get more volunteers, volunteers and paid canvassers.”
The organization has received $2,000 for their anti-casino messaging efforts so far.