Richmond, Virginia, Casino Plans Detailed Ahead of Referendum
Richmond, Virginia, will decide in November if the state capitial wants a casino resort in its city boundaries (renderings pictured). The state budget, passed last week, did not contain provisions to block a potential vote on the plans.
Now, the potential casino’s developers, led by Urban One and Churchill Downs, have released more details on the project.
It starts with a rebrand, after the previous attempt 2021 attempt to gain approval for a casino through a referendum narrowly failed.
The proposed venue is now named the Richmond Grand Resort & Casino.
“Richmond Grand will offer something for everyone—incredible shows, exciting gaming and entertainment, outdoor recreation, luxurious spas and pools, and a huge addition of jobs and tax revenue for the city,” said Urban One’s CEO, Alfred Liggins.
“This is a plan by Richmond, for Richmond, and when we vote yes, all of Richmond wins.”
A Renewed Push for the Casino
This revamped project promises a 250-room hotel and a 3,000-seat concert venue, as well as a modern gaming floor. The estimated job creation from this venture stands at 1,300 permanent positions, with developers promising $30 million in tax revenue per year for the city.
The development promises a 55-acre mixed use green space and retail park, in which locally owned businesses will be given priority rights.
It is also set to include a soundstage and studio for audio visual productions, including TV and film.
New legislation has paved the way for Virginia brick & mortar casinos in five cities, provided they gain approval through city-specific referendums.
Danville has already seen the opening of a highly successful temporary casino from Caesars Entertainment while it builds its full Caesars Virginia casino and resort.
Hard Rock also opened a temporary venue in Bristol earlier this year. They joined Rivers Casino Portsmouth, which is the first, and currently only, fully open casino resort in the state. Rivers Portsmouth celebrated its one-millionth customer in July, just one whole month after opening.
Other Virginia residents are also getting in on the act. The owner of a former comedy club, right in the city’s Capital District, opened his own skill gaming casino and cardroom on the site earlier this year.
“The state opened Pandora’s box to allow Vegas-style casinos to come into the state,” said owner Michael Sands.
“Once you do that, it’s hard to tell me that I can’t have legal gambling in my facility.”
Talking to More People
Despite the renewed enthusiasm and a fresh approach from the developers, the project continues to face opposition. Allan-Charles Chipman, a former Richmond City Council candidate, expressed scepticism about the rebranding effort.
“I think it’s an attempt to make it seem like this is a drastically different deal, and if they put ‘Urban One casino’ on there, people will remember, ‘Didn’t we already vote this down?’” he said, speaking to NBC12.
Liggins, though, says he can see the mistakes the campaign may have made last time – and thinks voters will give the project a second chance.
“I know that [the] last go-round, we bought every billboard … in the entire city, and you know, it was probably annoying,” Liggins said. “Problem is, we should have been talking to more people, as opposed to advertising to more people.”