Richmond, Virginia could finally have casino gambling, bringing an end to its century-long resistance to the idea.
Richmond is one of five casino host cities that are approved to offer casino gambling. It joins:
Although the other four cities all voted in favor of casinos in November 2020, Richmond elected to have its casino referendum as part of 2021 Election Day. This November, voters in Richmond will decide whether or not they want a casino. Meanwhile, the Richmond City Council is settling on which casino project is the best option.
By the Feb. 22 deadline, six groups had formally submitted proposals to develop the Richmond casino-resort. However, on March 24, the City of Richmond eliminated three of the hopefuls.
The rejected proposals came from:
A fourth was then eliminated on April 21:
The remaining contenders include:
Proposed property: $600 million Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond
Location: The 17-acre Movieland property at the intersection of North Arthur Ashe Boulevard and West Leigh Street in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood
About Cordish Co.: The company operates casinos in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Officials say the project will create 3,000 permanent full-time jobs and 5,000 temporary construction jobs, as well as a $5.3 billion economic impact for Richmond over the next decade.
Proposed property: $517 million One Casino + Resort
Location: The former Altria Operations Center site owned by Philip Morris USA on South Commerce Road
About Urban One and Colonial Downs: Urban One is a large media and content company with four radio stations in Richmond. Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (the Colonial Downs Group’s owner) operates five Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums and the Colonial Downs Racetrack in Virginia. They’re promising 1,500 full-time jobs and $47 million in annual tax revenue with the project.
The other casino host cities approved casino referendums during the 2020 General Election to approve casino gambling in their community. Richmond, however, will holds its referendum this November.
Feb. 22: Deadline for potential casino developers to submit a formal proposal
March 24: The City of Richmond eliminates three of the six proposals, including those from the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Golden Nugget Hotels & Casinos, and Wind Creek Hospitality. The three finalists include Bally’s Corporation, The Cordish Co., and a joint proposal from Urban One and Colonial Downs.
After June 1: Richmond officials can submit their preferred casino partner information for preliminary review by the Virginia Lottery.
August 2021: Deadline to order a referendum for the General Election
Nov. 2: General Election
Early December 2021: Election results certified by the Secretary of State
After results are certified: The chosen casino developer can apply as soon as the Secretary of State certifies the results. The application process could take up to one year.
The other four host cities held their referendums in late 2020. The Richmond casino project referendum, however, will be on the November 2021 General Election ballot.
The referendum must pass by a majority of votes in order for the casino to open.
It is way too early in the process for speculation on a date, mainly because the referendum isn’t even being voted on until November. Depending on the chosen developer, the casino-resort could possibly be open sometime in 2024.
Casino visitors can expect a wide array of slot machines, as well as table games such as blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat and others. The resort will also likely have a poker room and sportsbook.
Since each of the five casinos has the option for a sports betting license, it would not be surprising to see a sportsbook at the Richmond casino.
The exact location of the Richmond casino will depend on which developer is ultimately chosen. Each hopeful has designated a different area of Richmond for their planned resort.