Petersburg to Officially Start the Casino Process
On February 12, the city of Petersburg is set to kick off the paperwork process for the potential casino referendum. The city will be sending out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to casino developers, marking a significant step in the process. The RFP will seek bids for a comprehensive economic development project, including a destination resort, real estate development, retail, event venue, and casino. This move comes after the Virginia Senate passed a bill adding Petersburg to the list of five cities hosting casinos in tactical parts of Virginia. The bill is expected to be passed by the House of Delegates and signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, clearing the way for the city to hold a vote on the casino in November.
This initiative represents a fresh start for Petersburg, which faced criticism last year for the lack of transparency in its casino vendor selection process. The city was embroiled in a legal battle with Richmond for the fifth casino spot, ultimately losing out to Richmond, whose voters rejected the casino referendum for the second time in November.
To secure Petersburg’s inclusion as a host city, Sen. Lashrecse Aird led a coalition of senators, including Sen. Louise Lucas, who had initially opposed the city having a casino within its borders. The lawmakers emphasized the importance of transparency in the process and expressed hope that Petersburg would uphold its promise.
The statement from February 11 praised Aird for her pivotal role in advocating for Petersburg’s inclusion and reflected the collaborative efforts between city officials and the senator in advancing the bill. In the House of Delegates, there was no accompanying bill, and Del. Kim Taylor has pledged to back up the Senate legislation, making it the primary tool for the casino process.
The move to send out the RFP and kickstart the casino process represents a pivotal moment for Petersburg as it seeks to navigate the complex landscape of casino development and secure its place as a host city for this economic opportunity.