Court Formally Approves Richmond Casino Vote For Election Day Ballot

Posted on August 12, 2021

The Richmond casino vote for the proposed One Casino + Resort is now officially set for Election Day ballots.

The Richmond Circuit Court recently approved the casino referendum for the November vote.

If a simple majority votes in favor of the casino, Urban One and its partners, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, will commence the construction of the $560 million project.

Does the Richmond casino vote look promising?

The court’s approval was the anticipated next successful step for the Richmond casino vote.

The process for One Casino + Resort formally kicked off on May 20 when Richmond Resort Casino Evaluation Panel approved Urban One’s proposal. It beat out five other proposals. Others came from gaming juggernauts such as Golden Nugget Hotels & Casinos, Bally’s Corp., and The Cordish Cos.

Then, on June 14, Richmond City Council voted to approve the project’s operator and site. With the court’s OK this week, the issue now heads to the Nov. 2 ballot.

So, what are the odds that voters will allow Urban One to clear the final hurdle? Will the Richmond casino vote actually be successful?

Four other Virginia cities all overwhelmingly voted in favor of casino referenda during a 2020 vote. Voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth voted yes by 2-1 margins. The casino-resorts will begin opening in 2023 and 2024.

Richmond, though, seems to be experiencing more casino opposition than those other VA cities. As Election Day approaches, expect both sides of the issue to amplify their voices.

City support for One Casino + Resort

The Richmond casino project has plenty of support from key officials. The list includes Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

As Stoney stated following the circuit court’s approval:

“We thank the court for its review and order to place on the November ballot a referendum on the One Resort & Casino project. This economic development project will bring 1,300 well-paying jobs and millions in much-needed revenue to our city while continuing the revitalization of South Richmond. And as we said from the beginning, the people will have the final say.”

Urban One, a media conglomerate that owns and operates 55 radio stations in Richmond and throughout the US, has a solid gaming partner. Peninsula Pacific Entertainment is the owner of the Colonial Downs racetrack in New Kent, as well as Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums throughout the commonwealth.

One Casino + Resort would be the only Black-owned casino in the US when it opens in late 2024. With the promise of jobs (minimum $15/hour), 50% minority participation in jobs, and overall estimated impact of $5.7 billion over 10 years, much is on the line with the Richmond casino vote.

Photo by Dreamstime / Bizoon
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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