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US – Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond and One Casino + Resort also through to Richmond final

By - 26 March 2021

Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond and One Casino + Resort have joined Bally’s Richmond Casino Resort as the three finalists in the bid to land a casino licence from the City of Richmond in Virginia.

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Golden Nugget Hotels & Casinos and Wind Creek Hospitality missed out.

Richmond’s Evaluation Panel said: “The top ranked proposals stood out because the operators provided strong proposals with detailed financial and operational analyses to support their vision for a resort casino in Richmond.”

The panel considered each proposal’s site control, the feasibility of financial projections, organisational experience, community impact/benefits, location, potential city revenues and economic development impact.

Legislation adopted by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Northam earlier this year authorizes the city to host a casino gaming establishment, subject to the residents of Richmond approving a casino referendum. That referendum is anticipated to be on the ballot in November of 2021.
Six proposals were originally submitted and reviewed by the Evaluation Panel, which considered, among other factors, each proposal’s site control, feasibility of financial projections, organizational experience, community impact/benefits, location, potential city revenues, and economic development impact.

The top ranked proposals stood out because the operators provided strong proposals with detailed financial and operational analyses to support their vision for a resort casino in Richmond. The Evaluation Panel will enter into the next phase of evaluation and begin negotiations with these operators; while continuing to engage the Richmond community.

Proposals not advancing to the next round of consideration are: Golden Nugget, Wind Creek Hospitality, and Pamunkey Indian Tribe & Reservation. These proposals did not advance due to factors such as lack of site control, concerns about the feasibility of financial projections, lack of organizational experience and/or deficiency of the proposal.

Of the developers through to the final, Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins said: “ONE is honoured and excited to be selected as one of three finalists to develop a resort casino project in the city of Richmond. We are convinced our selection is based on having the absolute best location in an industrial area off Interstate 95 in South Richmond; having the most diverse group of more than 50 investors providing opportunity for minority ownership and wealth-building in the Richmond community; and offering the most robust amenities, including 50 acres of green space for Richmond to enjoy, a music venue and a first-class casino and hotel.”

The Cordish Companies is planning a $600m destination casino resort called Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond to be located at the intersection of Arthur Ashe Blvd and West Leigh Street in the City’s Scotts Addition area. It will boast a luxury hotel with 300 rooms and 30 suites, 18 restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, spa and fitness, live entertainment venue and 40,000 square feet of event space.

Having not made it through, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe released a statement expressing its disappointment. Pamunkey Indian Tribe Chief Robert Gray said: “The timing of the decision, which comes before the public comment period has even concluded, seriously undermines confidence in the selection process and suggests a pre-determined outcome has been reached. The timing of this decision also suggests that public and community input will not be seriously considered in this process.”
“Further, it appears that the city of Richmond did not afford the Pamunkey Indian Tribe the optional preference in state law that recognizes the Pamunkey Tribe’s ancestral heritage in the region. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe submitted the only 100 per cent minority-owned, Virginia-based proposal. We were shocked to learn of our early dismissal from a process occurring in our native region and state, particularly in light of the fact that the tribe was one of the first entities — if not the first — to talk to the city about gaming before commercial gaming was legalized in the commonwealth.”

Wind Creek Hospitality also released a statement. It said: “We are disappointed to learn that Wind Creek Hospitality will not be considered for the Richmond casino project. We strongly believe that Wind Creek sets itself apart from other operators by not only building casino resorts, but by building up the communities our properties are located within. We wish the best of luck to the other operators and to the city of Richmond as they continue through the selection process.”

The city is hosting three virtual meetings next week for each of the top three ranked operators to discuss their proposed projects and for citizens to ask questions directly to representatives from the companies. The meetings will be held via MS teams, and the public is encouraged to attend and participate.

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