Richmond’s Urban One Casino Moves Closer To Deal

  • Richmond’s Urban One Casino proposal will be voted on by mid-June.
  • If it passes the City Council, it will then be the subject of a public referendum.
  • If that is passed, it would be the first operating black-owned casino in the United States when it opens.

RICHMOND, Va. - The first currently running black-owned casino in the United States is moving closer to reality.

Richmond’s proposed Urban One Casino has the potential to be the only black-owned casino in the United States - as long as the City Council and voters in the city approve of it.

Urban One, the proposed proprietors of the Urban One Casino, have been negotiating with the Richmond City Council regarding terms for construction on this public-private partnership.

Per Richmond.com, the casino will pay an up-front payment of $25 million, less than some other proposed casino options.

The project is expected to generate up to 1,300 jobs, and there are several requirements for the proprietors of the casino to give back to the community.

For example, the deal includes at least $16 million in payments to local nonprofits from the casino over the next decade.

It also includes provisions for monetary support of Richmond Public Schools, problem gambling mitigation, and advertising for public initiatives.

One other notable aspect of the deal is that it includes a provision that aims for 40% small and minority owned business participation in the construction of the Virginia casino.

In other words, this project seems to be welded deeply to the status of Richmond as a city - and that seems to have been a big part of why the Urban One casino proposal was chosen in the first place.

Leonard Sledge, the director of Richmond’s economic development office, alluded to this holistic approach when discussing the project.

“It’s an outstanding project in terms of the criteria we looked at project feasibility, the sustainability of the project, location factors, community benefits, economic impact to the city and a host of things in addition to what is required in the Virginia Casino Act,” said Sledge.

The City Council will meet to vote on the proposal on June 14, 2021. Should the proposal make it through the council vote, it will be sent to the voters in a public referendum.

After that, the targeted date for the casino’s opening is the end of 2023, which could be good news for Richmond’s gamblers.

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