- US Online Poker
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There’s a lot of uncertainty and hedging surrounding the fifth and final retail casino in Virginia. One Casino and Resort‘s leader hedged about whether his company’s entry to the retail gambling space will lead to a push to offer online gambling as well. This comes at the same time as an announcement that construction on the casino has been postponed pending approval from the Virginia Lottery.
One Casino is a project by RVA Entertainment Holdings, a subsidiary of the media company Urban One.
Speaking yesterday to Online Poker Report, Alfred C. Liggins III said his Richmond retail casino project is going to offer what the current law allows. That answer from the CEO of Urban One avoids discussing the possibility of an online gambling operator eventually using the land-based casino’s license.
Such a possibility is speculative at this point, but not unlikely. Virginia legalized sports betting last year, and authorized the construction of new casinos. Given the way that US iGaming generally builds off the retail industry, there’s a good chance that these new casinos will one day be able to serve as partners for online brands, or launch their own.
Liggins did, however, discuss his plans for a sportsbook and poker room at the casino, both of which will be of interest to some OPR readers in the state.
Also yesterday, Liggins lauded Monday’s vote by the Richmond City Council. The body approved putting the retail casino referendum on the November ballot. However, Liggins informed the Council about his intent to delay construction on the $563 million retail casino.
Meanwhile, voters still need to approve Richmond retail casino in November. If passed, One Casino and Resort will become the fifth and final retail casino Virginia authorized with last year’s bill.
According to the Richmond Free Press, Liggins made the decision to wait because he didn’t want to gamble on the casino’s approval. It would be an extremely expensive error to proceed with construction immediately following a successful referendum, but then fail to get final approval from the Lottery. Liggins addressed that RFP article in his comments to OPR below.
With that in mind, here are the answers about the retail casino that Liggins gave OPR yesterday. Questions are from OPR, while the rest of the words are Liggins’, edited only very lightly for clarity.
Changes in target dates in the community agreement between ONE and the City of Richmond are to provide some flexibility given the Virginia Lottery will have up to 12 months to issue a license once ONE has submitted its final application. We plan to submit our application no later than December 15, 2021 assuming the referendum passes on November 2. This is a big project and there will be many moving parts along the way. With Richmond city voter approval, we look forward to working with the Virginia Lottery, the City of Richmond and other stakeholders to have ONE open to consumers, providing good jobs and generating important tax revenues as early as possible.
Our application is for a traditional brick and mortar casino with slot machines, roulette, poker, blackjack and other approved games. If our application is approved, it will also come with a sportsbook license, as well. This is the same for all five casinos that have submitted applications to the Virginia Lottery.
[The other casino locations are Hampton, Portsmouth, Danville and Bristol.]
Yes, we will have a poker room, and to the extent authorized by the regulator, we will host poker tournaments. While it is still in the early stages of planning, we are approaching its design and branding using the same lens that we have for the entire ONE Casino + Resort project, something that is uniquely Richmond, highly entertaining and will be exciting for all levels of poker players.
We will use our media expertise to market and promote ONE up and down the east coast and across the country. Urban One is the largest distributor of urban content in the country. For more than 40 years, Urban One has been the leading voice speaking to Black America. First, as the largest local urban radio network. Then, as the largest syndicator of urban programming. Our brands are unsurpassed, our content is relevant, our reach is unparalleled. We have a terrific story to tell.
This project has something for everyone. It will be a landmark destination for South Richmond, an area that has not seen a premier economic development project like this before. The casino, hotel and our 15 local restaurants and bars will anchor the project, but it will be surrounded by a 3,000-seat Rise Theater that will bring 200 live shows and 250,000 visitors annually to Richmond, with all kinds of music genres.
We are partnering with Live Nation, a global leader in live entertainment, to book the hottest acts. We will also have an onsite radio and TV studio and soundstage. As the largest syndicator of Urban programming in the country, we will bring some of that production to ONE. We will also have 55 acres of green space on the property called Glory Park. It will have community gardens, miles of hiking and biking trails, dedicated space for food trucks and playgrounds – a place for the entire community to enjoy.