The city of Richmond has removed Bally’s casino project at the Stratford Hills area from its shortlist of casino development proposals.
After two weeks of public protests against Bally’s, the city announced the decision on Wednesday while also saying that it is still evaluating the two other proposals it has received ahead of a planned November referendum where voters will decide whether to allow a casino resort in the city.
According to the Richmond City Economic Development Department, the proposal of Bally’s was rejected because of concerns about site access, environmental factors, and required approvals from non-city entities that may not be granted or extend the timeline of the project.
Said Leonard Sledge, director of the City Economic Development Department:
“We appreciate Bally’s interest to develop a resort casino project in Richmond. We also appreciate the many Richmond citizens who have shared their thoughts throughout this process.”
Potential Impact of Traffic
Those opposed to Bally’s project to build a Richmond casino claimed among others its potential impact of traffic. Protesters also pointed to environment, public safety, and the graves of enslaved and freed Black people whose descendants still live nearby.
Bally’s tried to offer a solution to the potential traffic congestion at Forest Hill Avenue by changing the road configuration on its primary development plan. The Rhode Island based gambling company offered to build new parkway ramps with access to the property.
Requesting Casino Proposals
The city requested Richmond casino project proposals last December after a new state law legalizing it in Richmond and four other localities – Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth if the local voters approve it.
Richmond received a total of three proposals. With Bally’s out, the remaining two belong to Washington media conglomerate Urban One and the Cordish Companies which operate the Live! Casino brand. Urban One’s proposal is located at the Philip Morris USA land off Commerce Road while Cordish’s proposal is to build a casino at the 17-acre Movieland Property.