Golden Nugget May Head to Court Over Richmond Casino Proposal Rejection

It never feels good to be rejected, but we go through it every day. In most cases, we get up, dust ourselves off from the negativity and move on. However, in the case of the Golden Nugget and a potential casino build in Richmond, Virginia, the rejection was too much too bear. The company was recently cut out of a competition to receive a license to operate a casino in the capital city of Virginia, and now it seems the company is taking legal action based on the decision.


Originally, the city of Richmond narrowed down its casino proposal options to six. In March, the list was cut down to three operators. Of those cut from the list was the Golden Nugget. An Evaluation Panel was created by the city’s Department of Economic Development and the rejected proposals were removed due to several reasons, like financial revenue projections and lack of experience.

Dennis Cotto is an attorney in Virginia who says the rejection of the Golden Nugget proposal was unlawful. He was a partner in the project and in charge of the company’s legal matters. He says the city ignored Virginia procurement laws and did not allow the Golden Nugget to address the concerns of the city or appeal them in the rejection.

But what are procurement laws? In general, these laws relate to government bids and are designed to ensure the city gets the best bid, with the process free from corruption. The regulations connected to these laws state that bidders’ rights must be ensured within the process of choosing a winner.

In speaking with the press, Cotto said that the rejection is a matter of principle. There cannot be a procurement that is not subject to procurement rules and procedures. The attorney pointed out he had lost bids before and was always given a debriefing. He said this time around, there was no debriefing, and this was the first time this had happened to him.

A letter was revealed by Cotto that was provided by the city stating the plan submitted by the Golden Nugget was rejected because the company did not secure the land it needed for the resort. They said the company also did not provide an alternate site for the venue.

According to the attorney, the city did not require the conditions they mention in the letter as requirements when submitting a bid.

The Plan

Golden Nugget provided a plan to Richmond officials that would have created a $400 million casino. If the firm had been approved by the city and an upcoming voter referendum, it would create a hotel with 177 guest rooms and a casino with 93,000 square feet of gaming space. The property would have a convention center, a theater, and six dining venues.

It looks like Richmond will be choosing Urban One’s plan in the end, as Bally’s Corporation has been eliminated and it appears as though the Cordish Companies plan is subject to backlash. It will be interesting to see which plan is chosen and if the Golden Nugget decides to pursue legal action for its bid being rejected.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.