Richmond officials make final choice in casino project


Officials in Richmond have finally chosen a casino project for the Virginia capital city. Urban One’s One Casino + Resort is the plan that the city wants to go with this November on a voter referendum. The city decided to wait to allow voters to decide on casino gaming in Richmond and choose a plan to hopefully help move the process along.

Mayor Levar Stoney is now set to introduce the casino plans to the Richmond City Council this coming Monday. The goal is to see the partnership with Urban One approved. The media conglomerate based in Washington would like to build a casino on property that is owned by Philip Morris USA.

Urban One Approved

An evaluation panel decided to go with Urban One over The Cordish Companies due to several factors. The panel said that the feasibility and sustainability of the facility, as well as the proposed location, the impact on the economy, plus revenues and the benefits to the community, were what pushed the project to the forefront of consideration.

More than 1,000 new jobs will be provided to the city with the new project, plus $525 million in new tax revenues and additional benefits. The company wants to pay employees a $15 minimum wage, so on average, employees will make around $55,000 a year.

Urban One is a media company that operates radio stations in several regions, including Richmond. The company has partnered with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment to bring the casino to life. The total cost for the new facility should come in at around $600 million.

If the voters approve the project and it moves forward, it will be the first casino in the United States to be operated by a Black-majority owner. The project also has a goal of working with minority businesses to fund the project.

Narrowing Down the Options

When the bidding process began, the city of Richmond had six proposals to review. In the end, three moved forward, one by Bally’s Corporation, The Cordish Companies, and Urban One. Bally’s project was the first of the three to be eliminated from the selection process.

Bally’s was reportedly removed from consideration due to several factors including concerns about access to the site, environmental factors, and project timeline complaints. Local residents in the areas where Bally’s, as well as The Cordish Companies, had projects planned conducted protests in opposition of the plans.

Once the plans are put forth to the City Council and approved, the process will be stalled as the referendum must take place first before the project can move forward. Without approval by the voters, the casino project will not come to pass.