When Could Richmond Casino Open? Mayor Says Target Is December 2023

Written By Dann Stupp on May 26, 2021 - Last Updated on August 1, 2023
Richmond casino open

After Richmond officials formally chose One Casino + Resort as their preferred casino project, residents have had one persistent question: When will the potential new Richmond casino open?

Now, we have a date. A tentative one, anyway.

This past week, Richmond’s Resort Casino Evaluation Panel chose a proposal from Urban One. The Maryland-based company, which is teaming with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment/Colonial Downs on the project, beat out five competitors to be the Richmond casino operator.

If Richmond voters approve the project in November, the Virginia casino could open at the end of 2023. More specifically, it would be right at the end of 2023.

Will Richmond casino open before 2024?

On Monday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney formally introduced the casino proposal to the Richmond City Council.

Then, on Tuesday, the public had its say about the planned $600 million casino and resort. Richmond voters will have to first approve a casino referendum on Election Day on Nov. 2. However, before some residents decide on the ballot measure, they wanted to learn more about the project, which would be part of the trendy Scott’s Addition neighborhood in southern Richmond.

Tuesday’s first public meeting provided some answers. They ranged from job opportunities to resort features to community impact. But they also included a big one: When will One Casino + Resort open to the public?

According to Leonard Sledge, the director of the Richmond Department of Economic Development, casino officials are targeting a date of Dec. 31, 2023, for the opening.

Before that proposed 2023 Richmond casino opening, though, the Richmond City Council must first agree to put the issue on the November ballot. Sledge said the council could make that decision during its June 14 meeting. In the meantime, the cityside discussion continues.

Additionally, some other VA casino cities have discussed possible temporary casinos that could open before the full resorts are completed. However, Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins said they’ve decided against trying to open any such facility.

When other Virginia casinos open

If Richmond voters greenlight One Casino + Resort, they’ll join pro-casino voters in four other Virginia cities.

Voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth all approved casino projects during the 2020 election cycle.

So, when will casinos open in Virginia?

8News recently caught up with Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall. His agency is in charge of casino regulation, as well as the new VA sports betting market.

According to Hall, each casino project must first receive a license, and that process is lengthy and in-depth. But assuming there are no issues in that regard, casinos will likely start to open no sooner than “spring or summer of next year,” he said.

Here’s the full list of tentative Virginia casino opening dates:

CityResortPartnerTentative opening
BristolHard Rock Casino and Resort BristolHard Rock InternationalEnd of 2021 (temporary facility) or 2022
DanvilleCaesars Casino Resort DanvilleCaesars EntertainmentEnd of 2023
NorfolkHeadWaters Resort & CasinoPamunkey Indian Tribe2023
PortsmouthRivers Portsmouth Casino ResortRush Street GamingFall 2022
RichmondOne Casino + ResortUrban One/Peninsula Pacific EntertainmentOctober 2024

Richmond casino vs. Norfolk casino

Although VA casinos will be located throughout the commonwealth, two will be in awfully close proximity.

If approved, the Richmond casino will be located just seven miles from the Norfolk casino on the other side of the Elizabeth River. Whichever casino opens first in the lucrative Hampton Roads region could have a distinct competitive advantage.

Voters approved the Rivers Portsmouth Casino Resort project in 2020. Now, the casino is slated for an opening sometime in 2022.

A year behind their competition, One Casino + Resort officials know even 2023 is an ambitious date for their project. And though beating the Norfolk casino to an opening would be nice, Richmond is focused on the big picture.

As Stoney, the Richmond mayor, said:

“What we have here is an opportunity to continue the city’s recovery and foster equitable economic growth that’ll provide opportunities for economic mobility, for Richmonders and for more commercial general fund revenue.”

Photo by AP / Mel Evans
Dann Stupp Avatar
Written by
Dann Stupp

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

View all posts by Dann Stupp