Urban One Awaits Green Light to Build a Casino in Virginia: Voters’ Decision in November

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Urban One is a big company that runs one cable TV network and 55 radio stations across the USA. The brand has invested in casino gaming, including having some shares in the MGM National Harbor Hotel and Casino in Maryland.

Urban One is looking to make another investment in the gambling industry in Virginia. The brand proposed to build One casino plus Resort in Richmond, Virginia. Once approved, the casino will become the first casino currently owned by a black.

Urban One Proposal Was Chosen From Six Proposals

The city’s officials received six proposals in January from various companies with an interest in developing a casino. Among the six, Urban One had the proposals that stood out.

It was sent to the city council for recommendation in May. The council voted 8-1 approving the proposal a month later.

The council requested the Richmond circuit court to add a referendum about the proposal to the November ballot. On Tuesday, the Richmond circuit court approved the petition of the Richmond city council. This means that the final decision to allow Urban One’s casino proposal to build a casino in Richmond is in voters’ hands.

Richmond’s mayor, Levar Stoney, recommended the casino project. He was thankful to the court for its review and order to place the final decision on people’s hands. The mayor noted that the casino project would create over 1300 good jobs.

He also said that the casino would generate millions of revenue that the city and the state needed. Stoney also recognized that the final decision lay with the people of Richmond.

The Richmond project will cost about $562.5 million. It will be built on a 300,000 square foot property belonging to Altria Group Inc. The facility will have a sportsbook, a 100,000 square feet casino gaming floor, a 3,000-seat theater, 250 hotel rooms, 12 bars, and restaurants.

If voters decide the casino project to move forth, it is expected to open by October 2024. The casino will operate at the former Phillip Morris Operations Center on the city’s south side near Interstate 95. The hotel would then open in October 2025.

The Last City in Virginia to Vote on Casino Gambling

In November last year, four cities in Virginia voted almost two to one in favor of commercial casinos. Voters in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville, and Bristol supported individual referendums allowing each city to build a casino.

The Virginia Department of Elections reported the outcome barely two hours after the polls closed on November 3, 2020. The casinos in these cities are expected to be completed in two years.

Richmond is the only city that did not vote for several reasons, including delayed picking the perfect proposal. Earlier last year, the Virginia General Assembly voted to allow five cities needing an economic boost to have a casino if locals allow it. Richmond is the last of the five cities to vote for the same.

The casino owner promised that the minimum wage for anyone employed at the upcoming establishment would be $15 per hour. The company also promises to pay $25 million to the city before it even starts operating.

The casino is expected to generate $5.7 billion for Richmond in the first ten years. Also, it is likely to create at least 1000 permanent jobs.

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