The Richmond casino vote outcome in Virginia was anticipated to be close. And close it was, as it took until Wednesday morning around 10 am to announce the outcome.
Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E), a casino operator, and Urban One, a publicly-traded media conglomerate, were jointly seeking to build a $565 million casino resort near the Philip Morris tobacco plant along I-95. However, they first needed approval from Richmond residents in the Virginia capital city. That approval did not happen.
Approximately 15 hours after the polls ended, Richmond election executives regarded the referendum as a failure. About 51.4% of local voters reject the Urban One/P2E proposal.
“From the beginning, we said the people would decide. They have spoken, and we must respect their decision,”
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) opined in a prepared statement.
The mayor was one of the most vocal supporters of bringing commercial casino sports betting to the city.
“While I believe this was a $565 million opportunity lost to create well-paying jobs, expand opportunity, keep taxes low, and increase revenue to meet the needs of our growing city, I am proud of the transparent and public process we went through to listen to our residents and put this opportunity before our voters,”
the mayor concluded.
P2E is also invested in Virginia through the Colonial Down Racetrack and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium bars. The latter offers to bet on historical horse racing (HHR) machines.
First Virginia casino rejection
Virginia passed commercial sports betting legislation last year. However, only specific cities facing economic hardship, as defined by a set of conditions, qualified to host such as a resort. Five cities that met the criteria chose to move forward with the casinos. These include Richmond, Danville, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Bristol.
The few qualifying locations require local approval before moving forward with a gaming resort. The other four cities successfully passed casino referendums during the 2020 election.
ONE Casino + Resort failed to win over Richmonders into backing its more than a half-billion-dollar project. This week, Virginia native Missy Elliot unveiled her support for the Casino in a Twitter video that she has since recorded in the referendum’s defeat.
ONE Casino was named as the first Black-owned Casino in the United States. Its targeted location in Richmond, a city with strong ties to the Confederacy that straggles today with its Monument Avenue that pays tribute to most of the south’s Civil War leaders, appeared more appropriate.
However, Richmonders said “No” to the Casino. Richmond still voted enormously on Tuesday in favor of Democrats, former Democratic Governor. Terry McAuliffe got more than 77% of the city vote despite losing the gubernatorial election statewide.
One casino relocation possibility
Before Election Day, Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins stated that if Richmonders don’t want his Casino, he will take it elsewhere.
“If it doesn’t pass in the city of Richmond, I believe that the General Assembly will ultimately look to put in a locality in and around Richmond in Central Virginia in one of the outlying countries that do want it. I do not believe that the General Assembly and the governor will want to leave Central Virginia without a gaming opportunity,”
Liggins said last week.
Yesterday morning, Liggins said he was very disappointed but accepted the will of Richmond voters. Urban One shares declined on the news, with shares down almost 40% as of this writing.
The ONE Casino + Resort facility features a 250-room hotel, over 100 table games, 10,000-square-foot casino floor with 1,800 slot machines, 15 bars and restaurants, theater, a sportsbook, and 55 acres of public green land with large and small breed dog parks.
Last Updated on by Ryan