Urban One, a black-owned media company based in Washington, has teamed up with Colonial Downs to create a casino resort and live music venues in South Richmond. This week, Urban One will officially announce its new partnership with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, the Colonial Downs Group owner. The company also owns gaming emporiums in the state of Virginia.
The casino resort project plans include creating a venue on 100 acres that is owned by Altria Group Inc. With this new partnership, it takes Colonial Downs out of the equation when it comes to a license to build and operate a casino in the city of Richmond. An application is also expected to be provided this Monday by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe for a casino in South Richmond, valued at $350 million.
Urban Downs will be the majority investor in the project with Colonial Downs. Alfred Liggins, the CEO of Urban One, commented on the plan by stating the company is excited to be submitting its ‘robust proposal’ to Richmond officials. The plans include creating an unparalleled space that offers dining, gaming, and music, attracting travelers from around the United States.
If the company is selected for the license, the property would be the only Black-owned casino with diverse investors located in the nation. Urban One is no stranger to Richmond, having operated in the city since 1999. Every aspect of its casino plan will include a local flavor and will help to uplift the local community.
Urban One operates as Radio One, owning over 50 radio stations in several markets across the East Coast. The company has five FM stations in Richmond. With its rich history in the community, Urban One has plans to focus on diversity and inclusion with its casino plans. This includes creating economic opportunities for Black and other minorities in the state.
Plans for the casino include 90,000 square feet of gaming space. There will be a 150-guest room hotel located on-site along with several restaurants and lounge areas. An entertainment venue will be created to house 3,000 guests and there will be as many as 200 live music events a year.
Bringing a Casino to Richmond
The city of Richmond is seeking proposals for potential casino operators based on a state law that was enacted in 2020. The law allows legal casino gambling in the state with five cities selected for the casino venues.
Norfolk, Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth have already approved their casino projects. Voters in Richmond will decide in November. Right now, there is an evaluation panel that has nine members who will review the gaming proposals as they are submitted.
Pamunkey Tribe’s Plans
The Pamunkey Tribe is hoping to create a casino in both Richmond and Norfolk. The tribe is given preferential treatment when it comes to gambling services because of state law regarding gaming rights. In early 2020, the tribe proposed a casino near downtown Richmond. However, the plans were not received well by the local neighborhoods.
The Pamunkey tribe has plans to submit a proposal for Richmond at a new location this Monday, according to Jay Smith, a spokesman for the tribe. The tribe is already approved in Norfolk for a gaming venue.
In mid-January, the tribe signed a deal with the city of Norfolk for $10 million. The tribe purchased just over 13 acres of land to develop a casino resort on the water.