Richmond, Virginia, could finally have casino gambling, and if it does, Urban One will be bringing it to life via the $560 million One Casino + Resort.
Although six hopefuls vied for the project, Richmond’s Resort Casino Evaluation Panel ultimately chose the proposal from Urban One, which has teamed Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, the parent company of Virginia’s Colonial Downs racetrack and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums.
Although four other Virginia cities all voted in favor of casinos in November 2020, Richmond elected to have its casino referendum as part of Election Day on Nov. 2. This November, voters in Richmond will decide whether to green-light casino gambling and the new One Casino + Resort.
Urban One officials initially targeted a December 2023 opening for the Richmond casino. However, late-2024 is now looking more likely.
One Casino + Resort would be located at Commerce Road and Walmsley Boulevard in South Richmond. Philip Morris USA currently owns the 100-acre site.
Backed by Urban One CEO Alfred C. Liggins III, the resort would be the only Black-owned casino in the US.
The estimated $600 million project would include:
Urban One, the largest distributor of urban content in the country, beat out five other proposals. Officials cited many of the advantages of the Urban One plan. They included a shovel-ready construction site, minimal traffic impact, and its distance from residential neighborhoods.
The benefits would also include:
“ONE Casino + Resort presents a tremendous opportunity to develop a resort casino project in Richmond,” Mayor Levar Stoney said. “The project will create over 1,000 good-paying jobs, generate a significant amount of new revenue for the city, and establish an additional economic engine in South Richmond.”
Richmond officials ultimately chose the Urban One/PPE proposal over five others. The projects ranged from $300 million to $650 million each, and they drew some heavyweights from the casino and entertainment world.
Those other suitors for the casino project included:
The Cordish Cos. was the runner-up in the evaluation process.
Its proposed project, the $600 million Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond, would’ve been situated on the 17-acre Movieland property. It’s located near the Scott’s Addition neighborhood in the central part of the city, and some residents from local neighborhoods protested the site.
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.
April 21: Officials eliminate Bally’s Corporation proposal from consideration, which makes it a two-horse race between Urban One and The Cordish Cos.
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.
Urban One officials initially hoped to open the casino by December 2023. However, they now say late 2024 is more likely.
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.