Officials Eye Petersburg After Richmond Residents Reject Casino Measure

Richmond Virginia
With Richmond voters rejecting its proposal, One Casino and Resorts could be coming to Petersburg instead.

This development comes after Petersburg Mayor Samuel Parham told CBS 6 last Friday that representatives from Urban One visited his city last week and checked out a site near Interstate 95 that could host a new casino and resort. Parham also added that other casino companies have also reached out to show interest in building a casino in the city in a site that is 20 minutes south off the disapproved Richmond location.

Said Parham:

“We’ve been blessed. For some reason, word has gotten out and we’ve had several of the casino guys who were in Richmond down in Petersburg looking now. We are excited to have them and definitely explore the opportunity to be a site here in Petersburg.”

Richmond Rejects Casino Proposal

Earlier this month, Richmond became the only one among five eligible economically challenged Virginia cities to reject their casino measure. 51.4% of Richmond voters wrote no in their ballots while only 48.56% supported the $565M ONE Casino + Resort proposal which would have been built on the city’s Southside.

The ONE Casino was supposed to have 100,000 square feet of gaming area with a 250-room hotel and a 3,000 seat theater plus 15 bars and restaurants. It was projected to create 1,300 new jobs in the city with the gambling company paying the city government an upfront payment of $25 million.

Richmond’s Loss Could be Petersburg’s Gain

Richmond’s loss could be Petersburg’s gain after Virginia State Senator Joe Morrisey said he will begin drafting a legislation that will allow Petersburg voters to hold their own referendum on a casino. The bill will require the approval from the General Assembly, Virginia’s Governor, the Petersburg City Council and of course the majority support of Petersburg residents in a vote.

Tax revenues from a casino resort development could be of great help to Petersburg as far as funding projects to improve roads, provide salary raises to teachers, police officers, and fire fighters in the city. Mayor Parham also said that he hopes that it will also help in the reduction of the city’s real estate tax rates.

ONE Casino+ Resort and Hotel Vote Officially Included in November Ballot

Richmond Virginia

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.

City Council Approves ONE Casino + Resort Project in Richmond

Richmond Virginia
The proposed ONE Casino + Resort in Richmond passed the City Council on a vote of 8-1 on Monday, taking it to the city’s November 2 ballot for the approval of voters.

If passed, it will become the first casino in the United States under Black ownership.

The Richmond casino is a project of Urban One Inc., a Maryland-based African-American owned media conglomerate with over 55 radio and TV stations owned including the TV One cable network, and Peninsula Pacific Network, the owner of the Rosie’s Gaming Emporium franchise and the Colonial Downs Group.

Said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney in a statement on Monday:

“ONE Casino + Resort is a $562.5 million project that will create 1,300 well-paying jobs with benefits in South Richmond, and every Richmond resident will benefit from the new revenue created by the project. City Council’s vote tonight paves the way for every voting Richmond resident to have their voice heard on this important project.”

According to the office of the City Mayor, the city will now submit the preferred operator and site to the Virginia Lottery Board for pre-certification. They will also make the petition to the Richmond Circuit Court to hold the November 2 referendum.

A $562.5M Project

It is slated to be built at the former Philip Morris building off Walmsley Boulevard in the city’s South Side, near interstate 95, which is an economically deprived area in the city.

The $562.5M project includes a sportsbook, 250 hotel rooms, a 3,000 seat theater, 12 bards, a restaurant and 100,000 square feet of gaming area.

Six Richmond casino proposals were received last January but a city-appointed advisory committee recommended the ONE Casino + Resort plan to be approved by the city council after narrowing down the field.

Catalyst to the South Side

Urban One’s Richmond casino proposal is being hailed as a “catalyst to the south side” which lawmakers agree need significant infrastructure and economic development. Aside from that, it is seen as an amazing opportunity for the city overall.

According to Urban One, its Richmond casino project will create an estimated 1,300 permanent jobs which would pay a minimum wage of $15 per hour. The company will also pay an upfront $25M to the city and is expected to generate a $5.7B economic impact over its first decade of operations.

As such, the transformational project will generate millions of dollars in much-needed tax revenue that can be used by the city for schools, affordable housing, development of workforce, infrastructure, and other city projects.