The updated design plans for a prospective casino in Richmond, Va., have been presented this week by the project developers. Now known as the Richmond Grand Resort and Casino, this project, worth $562 million, would consist of a luxury hotel and spa, a community park, an entertainment venue and, at its heart, a casino complete with table games, poker, slots, and an on-site sportsbook.
This November, Richmond residents will vote on whether or not the project should proceed. Supporters of the initiative assert that it will create approximately 1,300 jobs and produce $30 million in revenue for the city, with no need for taxpayer subsidies.
The consortium behind the plans, Richmond Grand, combines Urban One, Inc., a Maryland-based Black-owned entertainment company, and Churchill Downs, Inc., the renowned Louisville-based company responsible for the annual Kentucky Derby. The development was shaped by numerous discussions with Richmond locals, as announced by the developers in a press release.
Project endorsement by Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins, III, emphasizes that “This is a plan by Richmond, for Richmond, and when we vote yes, all of Richmond wins.”
If the state approves, the project will be implemented in southern Richmond, near a Philip Morris manufacturing facility along I-95.
Richmond represents the final of five cities in the state considering a casino referendum, following the green light given for commercial casinos by the state legislature. Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond each have permission to build a single casino, provided voter approval is granted.
Proponents of the casino have already initiated their campaign for support, with Richmond resident and former state democratic party local elections director, Tierra Ward, in charge.
The resubmission of the casino measure to voters was authorized by the Richmond city council in June, and it has since navigated through multiple legal twists. A judge recently ruled in favor of the city against a nonprofit group that aimed to obstruct the casino referendum due to worries it might jeopardize local charitable gaming operations.
Meanwhile, opposition to the casino is led by Richmond-based lawyer, Paul Goldman, founder of the political committee No Means No Casino, partly funded with $100,000 from the family who once owned a popular local grocery store. A lawsuit was filed by Goldman earlier this week against the state Board of Elections, arguing the denial of access to relevant voter data needed to conduct his campaign.
The previous referendum, in 2021, was rejected by 51-49%, leaving the proposed casino project hanging in the balance. This November, the citizens of Richmond will again have the opportunity to influence the city’s gaming and entertainment landscape.