Richmond City Council Revives Urban ONE Casino Plans

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on May 23, 2023
Richmond Virginia reconsidering Urban One casino development project

Lawmakers in Richmond are taking another look at the ONE Casino + Resort project.

On Monday, the Richmond City Council reintroduced the $562 million Virginia casino proposal that residents voted down in November 2021. 

Richmond hoping for a new Virginia casino

The Virginia casino project dates back to 2020 when state lawmakers legalized casinos in five cities:

  • Bristol
  • Danville
  • Norfolk
  • Portsmouth
  • Richmond

Of the five, Richmond was the only city whose residents rejected the casino referendum. In January, Richmond City Councilwoman Reva Trammell introduced a resolution to revive the casino referendum. 

According to ABC News-8, Trammell said although the new proposal had the same development plan, it featured an updated property tax plan making it different enough for a new vote. However, Trammell’s efforts to revive the casino project were almost cut short by State Sen. Joe Morrissey.

In February, Morrissey introduced a bill that would have blocked Richmond’s attempts to vote on a casino. Although the bill ultimately failed, it would have allowed Petersburg to put its casino referendum on its local ballot.  

Richmond gets a second chance to pass a casino proposal

Now, for the second time, Richmond has a chance to pass its updated casino proposal. City Council officials said the project would not use taxpayer money. Instead, developer Urban ONE would use money from the city’s General Fund, which requires approval from city voters. 

City Council members also said casino revenue would address “city priorities,” like investing in education and creating new opportunities for those living in Southside Richmond.

Speaking about the casino, Mayor Levar Stoney said in the same ABC News-8 article:

“It is critical that we continue to find ways to diversify the revenue streams that feed our local economy, which is why I am excited about another shot at this game-changing development.”

The Richmond City Council must still consider the proposal in June. If approved, the Virginia Lottery and Richmond Circuit Court must accept the referendum before placing it on the November 2023 ballot.

Photo by ONE Casino + Resort; illustrated by Playin USA
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for Playin USA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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