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Richmond Casino Finalists Present Virginia Capital with Varying Windfalls


Posted on: April 2, 2021, 09:21h. 

Last updated on: April 2, 2021, 10:18h.

The three Richmond casino finalists are offering the Virginia capital city varying gratuities should they be selected as the winner of the lone gaming permit.

Richmond Virginia casino gambling
Virginia’s capital city of Richmond is seen from across the James River. The city is reviewing three casino presentations offered to spark economic activity in the area. (Image: Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The Bally’s Corporation, Cordish Companies, and Urban One are the three contenders vying for the city’s casino license. Each company is trying to woo over residents and the city’s Evaluation Panel by presenting substantial economic and social benefits to the region.

Richmond’s Economic Development agency is spearheading the review process. Community meetings are currently being held, with representatives from the three casino businesses taking questions from residents and city officials. The city anticipates the Evaluation Panel to decide on a casino proposal to move forward with by June.

Once a project has been chosen, citizens will have the ultimate say on whether to authorize the commercial gambling venue during a November ballot referendum. If a simple majority backs the casino initiative, it will be cleared to begin construction.

Casino Offers

Bally’s wants to build Bally’s Richmond Casino Resort, a $650 million development on 61 acres in the Gravel Hill neighborhood south of the James River. The company is offering the city the largest one-time upfront payment if selected — $100 million. Bally’s has also pledged to give $3 million annually to its casino rewards players in the form of vouchers that can be used at small businesses in the area.

The Cordish Companies wants to build Live! Casino and Hotel Richmond, a $600 million complex located at the 17-acre Bow Tie movie complex on Arthur Ashe Boulevard in the historic Scott’s Addition neighborhood.

To sweeten the deal, Cordish is offering to establish a community benefit fund that would support community services, including infrastructure, education, health care, affordable housing, workforce training, and parks and recreation. Cordish says it would initiate the fund with a more than $13 million contribution.  

Urban One is partnering with Colonial Downs for its $517 million casino scheme proposed for 100 acres in the South Side just off Interstate 95 at the former Philip Morris tobacco factory. If picked, the group says it will hand over to Richmond $60 million in the form of a one-time upfront payment and contribute $3 million a year to area nonprofits. 

Minority Involvement

The main goal of the casino resort is to use it to help revitalize Richmond’s economy. Along with an estimated $19 million to $21 million in yearly gaming tax revenue for the city, the resort is projected to generate $10.5 million in new property, meals, and lodging taxes. 

Each casino bid promises to hire a substantial number of minority residents, and also partner with black investors and minority-owned businesses. 

Bally’s says its 2,000 permanent employees at its Richmond casino would receive an average salary of $52,000 per year. Cordish says its 3,000 workers would average $60,000. Urban One says its 1,500 employees would average $48,000, but would also be part owners and eligible for up to $5,000 per year in profit-sharing. 


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