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.