In the morning hours of February 12, Petersburg will officially start the starting paperwork process, pending the legal go ahead of the potential casino referendum.
Request for Proposal:
During the initial paperwork process, the City of Petersburg will officially send a Request for Proposal (RFP) to possible casino developers, which represents a key step in the whole process. As for the aforementioned RFP, it seeks bids for a “comprehensive economic development project” that’d involve a “destination resort, real estate development, retail, event venue and casino,” based on the statement revealed by the aforementioned city on February 11.
Relatedly, the RFP was portion of the unified vote on the resolution throughout a specific meeting of the City Council held on February 9. However, earlier in the same day, the Virginia Senate officially passed the bill that’d add Petersburg to the list of 5 cities hosting casinos sited in tactical parts of Virginia. Additionally, it is projected that the House of Delegates will pass the aforementioned Senate bill, and is expected that Gov. Glenn Youngkin will officially sign it.
If each of the executive and legislative obstacles are removed, the said city could officially vote on the casino as soon as possible, which is next November.
This time, Petersburg is taking a different approach compared to last year when the said city was heavily criticized for a lack of transparency in choosing a possible casino vendor throughout is legal battle with Richmond for the 5th place. But Richmond, the initial host-city choice whose voters refused the 1st referendum 3 years ago, aka in 2021, ultimately emerged victorious in the aforementioned battle. Still, Richmond voters rejected the matter again for the 2nd time in November of the previous year.
Furthermore, to officially sponsor the placement of Petersburg on the list, Sen. Lashrecse Aird, D-Petersburg officially led a coalition of senators. That group involved Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, who in 2023 opposed Petersburg having a casino within its borders, for which the main reason was the way previous Sen. Joe Morrissey pressed forward with the matter. In this sense, during June of the previous year, Aird officially defeated Morrissey in the Democratic primary.
Throughout the Senate’s thinking on the referendum legislation, several lawmakers pointed out they hoped Petersburg would follow through on its promise of transparency in the process, according to The Progress-Index.
In the aforementioned statement from February 11, Aird was praised for her “pivotal role in advocating for Petersburg’s inclusion as a host city in General Assembly legislation.” In this regard, the statement read: “This legislative milestone reflects the collaborative efforts between Petersburg officials and Senator Aird in advancing the bill and encouraging community engagement and support.”
Compared to the previous year, in this session in the House of Delegates, there was no accompanying bill. Del. Kim Taylor, R-Dinwiddie County, has decided to make the Senate legislation the primary tool and has pledged to back up its House passage.