The Richmond Circuit Court approved on Tuesday the petition of the Richmond City Council to put a referendum on the November ballot for voters to decide the fate of the ONE Casino + Resort.
If the project is passed, the casino is expected to open in October 2024 at the former Phillip Morris Operations Center on Richmond’s southside near Interstate 95. The hotel would follow in October 2025.
Said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney who recommended the casino project:
“We thank the court for its review and order to place on the November ballot a referendum on the One Resort & Casino project. This economic development project will bring 1,300 well-paying jobs and millions in much-needed revenue to our city while continuing the revitalization of South Richmond. And as we said from the beginning, the people will have the final say.”
The One Chosen Among Six Proposals
The $562.5M Richmond project on the 300,000 square foot facility owned by Altria Group Inc. will include a sportsbook, 250 hotel rooms, a 3,000-seat theater, 100,000 square feet of gaming area, 12 bars and restaurants.
It was chosen among six proposals received by the city last January and sent to the City Council for recommendation last May. The council in turn, voted 8-1 last June to request the Richmond Circuit Court to add a referendum on the November ballot.
The proposed ONE Casino + Resort is backed by Urban One, which operates 55 radio stations, one cable TV network, and is a minority investor in the MGM National Harbor Hotel and Casino in Maryland. If approved, the ONE Casino + Resort will be the first casino in the United States under Black ownership.
Last of Five Virginia Cities to Vote on Casino Gambling
The casino owners have pledged to a minimum wage of $15 per hour as well as $25 million in upfront payments to the city. At least a thousand permanent jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project. The casino resort is also projected to have a massive $5.7B economic impact to Richmond in its first 10 years of existence.
Richmond is the last of five Virginia cities to vote on whether to allow casino gambling in its jurisdiction. Last year, the Virginia General Assembly voted to allow five economically challenged cities across the state to have at least one casino in their locality if approved by the voters.
Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth all passed casino referendums last November by a significant margin. Their casino projects are expected to be completed in the next two years.