Urban One Drops 2022 Casino Referendum Bid

Downtown Silver Spring-based Urban One is ending a bid to hold a referendum this year for a proposed ONE Casino and Resort, a $517 million gaming, dining, and entertainment venue on the south side of Richmond, Va., the company announced Thursday.

The company will now pursue a campaign to place the measure on the ballot in 2023.

The Virginia General Assembly in May passed a new budget that included an amendment that prevented Richmond from holding a referendum on the planned casino and resort until November of next year. “We were disappointed with the introduction of the budget language, especially after both the House and Senate bills containing similar language were defeated in the General Assembly,” Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins said in a press release. “Despite strong legal arguments to support moving forward in 2022, we have asked our partner, the City of Richmond, to withdraw their petition for a November 2022 ballot referendum because we feel a long protracted legal dispute at this time does not best serve the citizens of Richmond or the State of Virginia. We are now focused on winning the Richmond casino referendum in 2023.”

According to the Washington Business Journal, Richmond voters narrowly rejected an initial ballot initiative last year that would have allowed the casino project to move forward, but Urban One and city officials remain committed to the project. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that city leaders have proposed a 2-cent reduction to the city’s real estate tax rate to get voters to approve the referendum.

According to the City of Richmond’s website, the proposed ONE Casino and Resort includes:

  • 9 million square foot development on 100 Acres
  • 100,000 square-foot casino
  • 2,000 slot machines, 110 table games, including poker, and a sportsbook
  • 250-room hotel with the ability to expand to 600 rooms
  • Resort-style spa & salon retreat
  • 15 bars & restaurants
  • 3,000-capacity event center
  • 200 entertainment events annually
  • 55-acre park and green space, and
  • TV & radio production studios.

Urban One’s media brands include TV One, Radio One, Reach Media, and iOne Digital. The company claims to reach 82% of Black Americans with its outlets, including in Richmond.

Photo courtesy RVA Entertainment Holdings, LLC

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