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May 11, 2021

Only two contenders left: Urban One and The Cordish

Virginia: Bally's casino project for Richmond cut by the city

Virginia: Bally's casino project for Richmond cut by the city
The city of Richmond has cut the $650 million Bally’s casino proposal from consideration, leaving two competitors, the mayor’s office announced Wednesday morning.
United States | 04/22/2021

City officials on Wednesday cited concerns about "site access, environmental factors, and required approvals from non-city entities that may not be granted or extend the project timeline." The city recently concluded a series of virtual public meetings and accepted public comments about what is the state’s only undecided casino project under current law.

T

he only two options now being considered by an evaluation panel named by the city are The Live! Casino & Hotel proposal by The Cordish and ONE Casino and Resort, proposed by Urban One. According to Virginia Business, in line with a spokesperson for Urban One, the two finalists were allowed to enhance their proposals, and members of Richmond’s selection committee will be making site visits soon.

Leonard Sledge, director of the city’s Department of Economic Development, stated: “We appreciate Bally’s interest to develop a resort casino project in Richmond. The evaluation panel is no longer considering the Bally’s project or the Parkway Crossings site for a resort casino due to concerns about site access, environmental factors, and required approvals from non-city entities that may not be granted or extend the project timeline. We also appreciate the many Richmond citizens who have shared their thoughts throughout this process.”

Bally’s Corp. President and CEO George Papanier said: “We are disappointed and surprised by the evaluation panel’s decision. We are the best operator to partner with the city on this endeavor and we provided the largest financial package with the most economic benefit to [Richmond] residents and business owners. We were deeply committed to this project, as well as to become a responsible neighbor and member of the Richmond community. Should the city reconsider its decision, we would be pleased to reengage.”

Papanier added that Bally’s still plans to offer its online sports-betting platform in the state after it was recently awarded a temporary permit in mid-March. Virginia legalized sports wagering in January, and in February, Virginians bet $265 million on sporting events with five licensed operators.

The proposal, which included a $650 million, 1.6 million-square-foot casino with sportsbook, performance space, a hotel, and dining and retail outlets on a 61-acre parcel of land, and a $100 million one-time payment to the city, was opposed by many residents who pointed to traffic and crime concerns, even holding a public protest in recent weeks.

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