Richmond residents begin to decide the fate of a casino location
Posted: Sep 30, 2021, 12:05 p.m.
Last update on: September 30, 2021, 12: 24h.
November 2 is election day in Virginia, but early voting is underway across the Commonwealth. Residents of the capital Richmond are asked if they would like to allow a single casino to stimulate economic activity locally.
Richmond qualified to ask residents if they would like to bring a commercial casino to the area under the 2020 legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D). The capital chose to delay its local referendum for a year to examine half a dozen locations submitted to the city by interested casino developers.
Richmond ultimately opted for a ploy from Urban One, a publicly traded media conglomerate. Urban One has teamed up with veteran casino company Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) to present Richmond with a $ 565 million pledge known as ONE Casino + Resort.
The casino plan targets vacant land just south of the Philip Morris tobacco factory along I-95 at Walmsley Boulevard and Trenton Avenue.
âSouth Richmond was waiting for its own economic development opportunity,â said Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One. Business Virginia this week. âOther sections of Richmond have seen tremendous growth in recent years, but that growth has not, to date, included South Richmond. “
If a simple majority of Richmond votes on the casino issue, Urban One and P2E will be allowed to sue the business. Voting in early 2021 began on September 17.
Voting finally begins
Virginia voters in four cities supported local referendums in the 2020 general election that approved a casino for each locality. Many in Richmond are hoping that the capital will join Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville and Bristol.
ONE is going to be a catalyst for new jobs, much needed tax revenue, as well as additional economic development and opportunities in this part of town, âLiggins added.
Urban One has embarked on a campaign to woo voters in Richmond. The company installed billboards along I-95 and bombarded TV and radio ads with spots emphasizing the potential benefits of answering âyesâ to the ballot question.
Company Says ONE Casino + Resort would generate $ 500 million in new tax revenue and an economic impact of $ 5.7 billion in the casino’s first 10 years of operation, and attract 3.7 million tourists to Richmond every year. Urban says he would hire 1,500 permanent positions with an average salary of $ 55,000 per year.
Not everyone is on board. âRichmond for All,â a non-profit organization, opposes gambling in the city. The “Richmond for All” committee says a casino “would steal our community just to make a few people rich.”
The question of the game the Richmonders face is cut and dry. It reads:
“Should casino games be permitted at a City of Richmond, Va., Casino gambling establishment at 2001 Walmsley Boulevard and 4700 Trenton Avenue, Richmond, Va. 23234, as may be approved by the Virginia Lottery Board? “
Those who want to make ONE Casino + Resort a reality will vote âYesâ.