Which Casino Plan Will Richmond Choose?
Three companies are in the running for a casino in Richmond, Virginia, with more details provided on each plan this week.
In the early stages of the casino licensing process, there were six companies vying for a spot as the operator to offer a casino in Richmond, Virginia. The capital city should be a gold mine when it comes to tourism and everyone wants in on the action. The original six companies have now been narrowed down to three, with each operator offering more details on their proposal in the hopes of being chosen.
Narrowing Down the Choices
In a few months, the internal evaluation panel of City Hall will recommend one project to the City Council. If the project is approved, the proposal will move on to the ballot in November and voters get a chance to have their say. If the referendum passes, then the casino will be able to begin the development stages.
The finalists were announced last week and include Bally’s Corporation, The Cordish Companies, and Urban One. Each proposal pitches the idea of providing benefits to the city as well as the Black community. Each offers new jobs as well as investment opportunities for people of color and business owners.
Each of the proposals are pushing certain incentives in the hopes of being chosen. It is still unclear as to if any of the proposals are a top choice among the panel.
For Urban One, the company would create the One Casino + Resort. A total of $60 million would be paid to the city up front and then $6 million each year from revenues on top of the state gaming tax paid. The company also wants to provide $3 million each year to nonprofit organizations.
Urban One is a media organization that will use its presence in the media industry to provide $2.5 million in free advertising and promotion via television, radio, and other outlets. If the proposal is chosen, a temporary casino would be opened while the resort is under development to provide early revenues for the city.
For Bally’s Corporation, the company plans to pay the city $100 million on top of the gaming revenue share. An additional $3 million would be invested into a program to provide vouchers to casino players so they will spend money at small businesses in the city.
The company would spend $650 million on the casino development on 61 acres of land. The project would include a casino as well as an upscale hotel with 250 guest rooms. An events space and concert venue are also listed in the plans.
For The Cordish Companies, the plan is to create a casino at the former Bow Tie movie complex. The casino would be a Live! branded facility and the provider does not have plans to offer an upfront payment to the city. Instead, the company will offer $30 million a year in gaming tax revenues, which is about $10 million more than projected by the city based on tax percentages.
Cordish would also create a community benefit fund and donate over $13 million on average to provide funds for community services. Education, parks and recreation, infrastructure, and health care would benefit.
Each company is pledging a certain percentage of investment opportunity to Black and minority investors. Job creation is also on the table, which would be beneficial to the community.
Now, each of these plans will be reviewed thoroughly and a decision made by the panel. It will be exciting to see which plan is picked and then we must wait until November for the vote. Will a casino finally be in the works for Richmond by the end of the year? Only time will tell!