Three companies are intending to invest in Virginia capital on a projected casino resort. The three firms have informed Richmond of their intentions to develop the casino, including the Pamunkey Indian Tribe that is already developing another casino resort in Norfolk alongside a known billionaire Jon Yarbrough. The other company vying for the opportunity is Urban One Inc, a multinational firm whose headquarters are in Maryland State. The third party is a Revolutionary Racing firm based in Chicago.
Earlier this month, Richmond had asked residents to contribute their thoughts on an upcoming casino resort in the city. The survey found out that most residents supported the move, saying that the new casino would provide high-paying jobs and tax revenue to benefit schools and the general economy.
Richmond Is Facing Hard Economic Times
Although Richmond host over 500 companies, it is experiencing economic problems following the coronavirus pandemic. In 2016, the city had one person in every four living below the poverty line. According to Thad Williamson, a professor based at the University of Richmond, the city is like any other central city characterized by poverty and race controversies yet is surrounded by other better suburbs.
Inline to eliminate poverty in Richmond, the mayor wants to bring in a casino. Levar Stoney believes that the casino will improve the city’s economy. The mayor revealed another project in Navy Hill downtown that failed soon after it was commissioned. The $1 billion projects were to change Navy Hill with new retail shops, a sports stadium, restaurants, offices, and apartments. Levar is picking a lesson from the failed project and doesn’t want to rush the new casino resort project as it might fail as well.
Stoney also learned that community engagement in new projects is paramount, mainly because they directly influence economic development. Stoney was talking to Richmond times dispatch, expressing that the new project would involve residents as they have already done starting with an online survey carried earlier. According to Stoney, the new project is about growth for the city and administration and the overall government. He believes that everyone should take lessons from the previous failed project.
Richmond Is in No Rush to Bring Gaming in the City
Last month, Richmond voted to allow commercial gaming facility in the city. This came after Virginia State Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill into law allowing commercial gaming facilities to be built in various cities. The bill allows various cities to decide and bring in one casino facility to stir economic growth.
Richmond was among the five cities that passed the set economic criteria to bring in a casino resort. Other cities in Virginia that can also set up casino facilities include Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Bristol. After last month’s referendum approval, Richmond can now develop a casino.
However, the city is not in a hurry to build one and is instead delaying the amendment to the approval until November 2021. The city will hold a referendum vote asking its people to approve a casino to proceed with development. The online survey was not enough, which means residents have to cast votes last next year. The mayor expects the Richmond city council to look at various proposals from the three interested potential casino developers and pick a preferred partner by February next 2021.