Richmond City Council has approved contract terms for the new casino resort project in South Richmond by Urban One for a 2024 launch.
Richmond City Council Approves the Terms for Urban One Casino
On Monday, Richmond’s City Council approved the contract terms with the extension of Urban One’s project to build a casino resort by 2024. Last year, Gov. Northam signed legislation permitting sports wagering and the construction of a casino in five cities in Virginia.
Richmond City Council finalized the terms of the contract for a casino resort project, which would appear on the November 2 ballot this year. If voters approve the measure in the fall, Urban One, a media conglomerate, will have a green light to build a luxury casino resort and a hotel with 250 rooms, along interstate 95, near the intersection of Commerce Road and Walmsley Boulevard. The property currently belongs to Philip Morris, USA.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and other city officials recommended the Urban One project after examining six casino development proposal submissions on the request for bids issued by Richmond in December.
Supporters predict $30 million in annual tax revenue and more than 1,000 new job openings from the project through its development.
Urban One Casino Resort terms of the deal
If the measure passes in the vote in the fall, the terms include $25.5 million upfront and $16 million in payments to local nonprofit and governmental organizations for the next ten years. $6 million of that would go for “research initiatives and missions of the city’s Office of Community Wealth Building and Richmond Public Schools.”
Other terms of the agreement include $25 million for advertising for the public initiatives at no cost to the city, an annual compensation package for resort casino employees of $55 000, and up to $500,000 in reimbursement to the city for consultation fees paid during the evaluation process. For problem gambling mitigation, the government expects $200,000 annually. Also, the city aims for 40% participation for small and minority-owned businesses in the construction and operation of the resort. The project development also includes a studio for television and radio production in the facilities.
The City Council approved these terms of the deal with the casino developer at a hearing on Monday. Many of the people supporting the project expressed their opinion during the hearing were leaders from local businesses and nonprofits.
Richmond for All Opposes the Project
Richmond residents who opposed the casino project in the city say that the region would not benefit from it. Quinton Robbins of the social justice advocacy group Richmond for All stated that the organization is against the project. He also said that his group conducted a survey, asking people in the area where the project site would be located if they support it. The survey found out that 45% of the residents were opposed to the project. Additionally, 25% were undecided. Opponents believe the new measure will lead to people losing money on gambling that they can’t afford to lose.
According to Councilwoman Reva Trammell, however, almost everyone supports the project. She represents the area where the casino will be developed. According to her, residents and colleagues in the city support the project and adds, “This is a golden opportunity, not just for the South Side and 8th District, but for the city as a whole. Give my people, all of us, a chance.”