Voters in the central Virginia city of Richmond have reportedly rejected a plan that was to have seen local radio broadcaster Urban One partner with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment so as to bring a large casino resort to a 100-acre brownfield site.
According to a source, the proposed One Casino and Resort was due to sit on a plot of neglected land currently owned by tobacco giant Philip Morris International and feature a 90,000 sq ft casino as well as a 3,000-seat entertainments venue and a 55-acre park. This $565 million facility to be situated approximately five miles from the center of the state’s fourth-largest city had also been set to host an in-house sportsbook, a 250-room hotel and a selection of 15 bars and restaurants.
However, Richmond voters reportedly snubbed this ambitious scheme via a local Tuesday referendum by a margin of around 51.4% to 48.6% amid fears that the coming casino resort would lead to a rise in crime as well as the prevalence of gambling addictions. This result purportedly came despite the fact that the developers had spent upwards of $1 million to advertise and promote the planned property’s benefits, which they asserted would have included up to $500 million in ten-year direct, indirect and induced tax revenues and community benefits from the start of about 2025.
Headquartered in the nearby District of Columbia, Urban One had reportedly moreover noted that its envisioned One Casino and Resort would be the only wholly-black-owned casino in the whole of the United States. It had purportedly wanted to partner with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, which is already responsible for the Colonial Downs Racetrack venue in the nearby community of Kent, in order to run a selection of 1,800 slots and 100 gaming tables in addition to a high-stakes poker room inside the imagined Virginia facility.
In responding to the snub and the mayor of Richmond, Levar Stoney (pictured), released a statement in which he proclaimed that he would now respect the decision of the voters despite being disappointed with their choice. The Democratic politician furthermore vowed to continue working ‘to bring other economic development opportunities to our city’ in hopes of benefitting ‘the lives of all who live here.’
Read the statement from Stoney…
“While I believe this was a $565 million opportunity lost to create well-paying jobs, expand opportunity, keep taxes low and increase revenues to meet the needs of our growing city, I am proud of the transparent and public process we went through to listen to our residents and put this opportunity before our voters.”
Virginia legislators reportedly passed a measure in April of 2020 that gave five disparate local communities in ‘The Old Dominion State’ the right to inaugurate Las Vegas-style gambling facilities so long as such schemes received the support of the local population by means of referendums. But unlike their compatriots in Richmond, voters in the cities of Norfolk, Danville, Bristol and Portsmouth purportedly earlier sanctioned their own envisioned casino schemes via ballot measures by healthy majorities of 65% or greater.