Richmond passes One Casino + Resort project to November referendum

The city council of Richmond, Virginia, has overwhelmingly voted in favour of a casino referendum appearing on a November ballot, nudging a potential $600m construction one step closer.

Last month, the region’s casino evaluation panel recommended that the One Casino + Resort move forward as the region’s preferred casino gaming operator, as Urban One, which owns and operates 55 radio stations as well as the TV One network, edged out the Cordish Companies’ $600m Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond.

The evaluation panel, which was supported by Mayor Levar Stoney in its decision, said that its recommendation was based on factors including the project’s feasibility and sustainability, proposed location, economic development impact, financial revenue impact, and community benefits.  

One Casino + Resort was proposed by Urban One in partnership with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, which owns and operates several casinos, as well as Colonial Downs Racetrack and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums in Virginia.   

The proposal includes a sportsbook, 90,000 square feet of gaming, 150 hotel rooms, a 3,000 capacity theatre, 12 bars and restaurants, 20,000 square feet of event space, and a 50 plus acre green space initiative.

It is estimated that the project will $47m in total annual revenue for the city, in addition to 1,500 direct jobs with an average income of $45,000.

Following the approval of the city council, Alfred Liggins, Urban One CEO, explained: “One is extremely grateful and proud that Richmond City Council has voted to move forward with a first-class casino and resort in Richmond’s Southside. 

“This project will be funded entirely with private investment and will generate millions of dollars in critically needed new tax revenue that can be used for schools, affordable housing, workforce development, infrastructure and other city priorities.

“This will be a transformational project for the city, attracting additional tourism revenue that will lift up all of Richmond and improve the quality of life for those who call this city home. 

“At the same time, One will create 1300 well-paying jobs with profit-sharing for employees and pathways to successful careers. We will also be true community partners, investing with non-profits and worthwhile causes across the city.

“We look forward to sharing our great story and the tremendous benefits of our proposal with Richmond voters in the months ahead in advance of the November referendum.”

As well as Cordish Companies, Urban One also beat off competition from Bally’s Corporation, Golden Nugget, Wind Creek Hospitality, and Pamunkey Indian Tribe & Reservation, to secure approval for the project.

The Virginian cities of Norfolk, Danville, Bristol and Portsmouth held referendums last week and subsequently gave the green-light to casino establishments, with operating partners selected on each of the developments being the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Caesars Entertainment, Hard Rock International and Rush Street Gaming, respectively.

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