Richmond opts for Urban One over Cordish Companies in casino race

The casino evaluation panel in Richmond, Virginia, has recommended that the One Casino + Resort move forward as the region’s preferred casino gaming operator at the proposed site on Walmsley Boulevard in South Richmond.

Urban One was battling it out with the Cordish Companies’ $600m Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond for right to be the selected participant, after Bally’s Corporation’s $650m Bally’s Richmond Casino Resort was rejected in April.

This itself followed the field being halved in March, when Golden Nugget, Wind Creek Hospitality, and Pamunkey Indian Tribe & Reservation were named as those not advancing to the next round of consideration.

This was said to be due to factors such as lack of site control, concerns about the feasibility of financial projections, lack of organisational experience and/or deficiency of the proposal. 

One Casino + Resort was proposed by Urban One in partnership with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment. Urban One is a publicly traded integrated media company, while Peninsula Pacific Entertainment owns and operates several casinos, and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums in Virginia.   

“One is thrilled the Richmond casino selection committee has chosen the best project with the best location and best team to develop a world-class entertainment destination in Richmond’s Southside,” said Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One

“Urban One and our diverse group of local investors are fully committed to creating good paying jobs with profit-sharing for employees, pathways to successful careers, and generating significant new tax revenues that can improve Richmond’s schools and fund community programs and infrastructure.”

The evaluation panel, which is supported by Mayor Levar Stoney in its decision, made its recommendation based on factors including the project’s feasibility and sustainability, proposed location, economic development impact, financial revenue impact, and community benefits.  

Stoney will introduce the proposed One Casino + Resort project to city council on Monday, May 24, 2021. Per legislation approved by the Virginia General Assembly, city council will be asked to petition the court so that a referendum on casino gaming in the city of Richmond can take place during the November 2, 2021 election. 

“One Casino + Resort presents a tremendous opportunity to develop a resort casino project in Richmond,” said Mayor Stoney. “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.

“I applaud the work of the evaluation panel in their vetting of the proposals and engaging the entire city throughout this project.”