Richmond’s Gaming Campaign’s Defeat Doesn’t Discourage Urban One from Planning to Own a Casino

Information Posting Could Speed Up Casino Licensing in New York State

Urban One has aspired to own and run its casino resort for a long period. Yet, Richmond voters recently rejected a casino resort proposal in Virginia’s capital in a ballot. However, Alfred Liggin, Urban One’s CEO stated that the company is still determined to construct a gaming venue.

The Maryland-based media conglomerate operates and runs several television and radio networks that focus on the Black community. It intended to develop an over $500 million integrated gaming resort in Richmond. Unfortunately, Richmonders rejected a gaming referendum twice which the company hoped would pass for it to start its project.

The city’s residents turned down the company’s casino proposal in 2021 in a 51 percent to 49 percent ballot. Still, they rejected the same proposal in November 2023 in a 62 percent to 38 percent ballot.

Nasdaq publicly trades Urban One. The conglomerate disclosed its third-quarter earnings report recently before contacting analysts and its shareholders. Liggins disclosed during the call that the company intends to own a gaming property.

Urban One sold its share in MGM National Harbor for $145.5 million in March. It allowed MGM Resorts to invest in the integrated casino resort in 2016 to widen its ownership structure.

What Are Urban One’s Future Plans?

Liggins stated on Thursday that the company wants to increase its presence in the casino industry. its MGM investment earned it a return that was 3.5 times its capital hence making it a profitable venture.

The executive stated that the country’s current economy is different from how it was in 2016 when the $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor project ended and the casino started operating. Nevertheless, Higgins said that overbuilding casinos is a risk now since the existing rates are high.

Urban One Struggle to Win Richmonders’ Hearts

Richmonders chose Silver Spring to be the city’s new casino operator after the 2021 ballot despite it lacking gaming experience. The Richmond Resort Casino Evaluation Panel chose Urban One’s proposal after rejecting The Cordish Companies and Bally’s Corporation’s gaming plans. The Cordish owns Live! Gaming sites in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Richmond City Council selected the casino evaluation panel which picked Urban One to offer social equity. The over $500 million proposal called ONE Casino+Resort incorporated Peninsula Pacific Entertainment(P2E) and over 50 investors.

Mayor Levar Stoney(D) and city officials didn’t get discouraged after the 2021 casino ballot. Instead, they started another gaming campaign and Urban One was a development partner. The company partnered with Churchill Downs in this year’s drive.

Even so, luck wasn’t on Urban One’s side as Richmonders rejected its proposal again. Most of the wealthy residents opposed it while those in blue-collar regions supported it.

Would Maryland Be A Perfect Gaming Destination for Urban One?

Maryland’s current gaming regulations allow six casinos only. But, its lawmakers are gradually changing their stand on expanding its gaming industry. Reports indicate that the state might hold an online gaming ballot next year hence giving Urban One hope to build a casino there.

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