Churchill Downs and Urban One raised over $1 million this week for a political action committee. Its main duty is to lure Richmonders to vote for their $562 million proposed casino project in the city.
Yet, Cathy Hughes, Urban One’s founder stated that the companies had to spend $10 million to let the public vote on a casino presentation in this year’s ballot. The political campaign finance records in Virginia show that Urban One and Churchill Downs gave the “Richmond Wins, Vote Yes” committee over $8.42 million. Urban One contributed $4.18 million and Churchill Downs raised $4.24 million.
The two gaming firms require Richmonders’ support for their Richmond Grand Resort & Casino project. They gave the Political Action Committee (PAC) an extra $1.06 million in October. Urban One offered $168,714 while Churchill raised $899,269. Statistics indicate that the two companies have spent about $9.5 million in this year’s Richmond casino ballot.
This will be Richmonders’ second chance in three years to decide whether to back or reject a regional casino project. They participated in a gaming referendum in 2021 and voted 51- 49 percent.
Yet, the city’s officials hope to host a casino in southern Richmond near the Philip Morris plant. They believe that it will boost the capital metro’s economy.
The Gaming Campaign
Urban One started and ran the 2021 gaming campaign that voters turned down. This hasn’t killed the company’s hope to build a casino in Richmond as it partnered with Churchill Downs to push the ongoing casino drive. Urban One parted ways with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment which later collaborated with Churchill Downs.
The latest poll shows that the 2023 casino ballot will have a razor-thin result. Churchill Downs and Urban One decided to invest huge sums of money on their gaming campaign to win voters’ hearts.
The “Richmond Wins, Vote Yes” committee has used the money to make campaign advertisements on social media, yard signs, billboards, television, and radio. Also, it used part of the funds to offer free Uber vouchers to Richmonders who will vote with their rideshare credits and to organize a block party.
“No Means No Casino”, a political committee is a key opposer of the proposed Richmond Grand Resort & Casino. The Family Foundation is also determined to convince voters to oppose the gaming project in the referendum.
Even so, the two entities have not received $500,000. But the figure might soon increase as they are concentrating on the city’s wealthy regions.
Hughes’ Wasted Funds
Hughe’s company spent over $4.25 million on the upcoming casino ballot. Yet, it spent another $2.6 million in the 2021 casino vote. The investor told “Praise Richmond” this week that the company would have spent the gaming campaign money on a better campaign.
The founder stated that the gaming campaign’s opposers agitate her since they have spent $10 million on their drive. She paid lobbyists, accountants, and lawyers a lot of money for Richmonders to cast the ballot.