As of Nov. 3 the unofficial vote count for the One Casino Resort referendum is 37,599 Yes to 39,824 No

Richmond Vote Close, But Looks Likely To Fail For Virginia’s One Casino And Resort

With 71 of 72 Richmond precincts counted as of this morning, One Casino and Resort is losing its referendum by 2,225 votes. Things could still change, as results will only be official and complete on Friday.

At issue is whether this retail casino will be built. Right now, the odds don’t look good. At the moment, it’s on course to fail by a margin of 2.88%. If the final precinct does manage to swing the vote, One Casino will clock in at $563 million to construct and be the state’s fifth, final and most expensive retail casino. The plan had been that it would open to gamblers in 2024.

The establishment would house 100,000 square feet of gaming space. It would cater to gamblers residing in Old Dominion and beyond.

These facts come from the company’s website, OneCasinoResort.com. The project is the work of RVA Entertainment Holdings – a subsidiary of the media company Urban One – which said:

“ONE will open as the nation’s only Black-owned casino.”

As of this morning, One Casino officials haven’t made a statement to Online Poker Report or issued a press release regarding the vote.

Update at 6:20 p.m. today: Update: While the official word is it’s “too early to speculate” about the official vote count defeating ONE Casino and Resort in Richmond, photos are gone from @OneCasinoResort Twitter account. No tweets emanated from it today. Plus, the project site, OneCasinoResort.com, is blank now.

Meanwhile, One Casino’s ballot measure is only losing by 2.34%, or 1,825 votes.

What Richmond voters are denying

In Spring 2020, lawmakers approved five retail casinos in the state and specified that they be regulated by the Virginia Lottery. Legislators approved online sports betting at that time, as well.

However, each municipality needed to sign off on the projects.

So last November, voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth accepted the other four casinos that will cost between $300 and $500 million to build.

Then yesterday, Richmond voters decided the fate of One Casino and Resort.

Casino construction one of many issues on a busy Election Day

Richmond has 142,460 active voters registered with the Virginia Department of Elections, almost 80,000 of whom voted yesterday and saw the question. They weren’t only interested in that ballot issue, however.

The casino gaming item was at the bottom of a long list, which started with the hotly contested gubernatorial race. While only 19.73% of Richmond voters picked Republican Glenn A. Youngkin to occupy the governor’s office, he was elected with a majority of votes statewide.

The defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry R. McAuliffe was a staunch supporter of One Casino. In Richmond, he received 77.13% of the vote by today’s unofficial count.

As for the unofficial election results regarding the “casino gaming” ballot measure, 39,824 voters answered “no” to the question, which read as follows:

“Shall casino gaming be permitted at a casino gaming establishment in the City of Richmond, Virginia, at 2001 Walmsley Boulevard and 4700 Trenton Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23234 as may be approved by the Virginia Lottery Board? [] Yes [] No”

One Casino planned to market to Black America

Urban One CEO Alfred C. Liggins III told Online Poker Report in July that One Casino and Resort will be marketed in the following way:

“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.”

It’s now unclear whether he’ll have a chance to tell that story after all.

- Heather Fletcher is the lead writer with OnlinePokerReport. She's a career journalist, with bylines in The New York Times, Adweek and other publications. Reach her at [email protected]
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