Richmond Casino Deal Voided for Urban One

A court decision that pulled a referendum vote from this year’s November ballot has voided a contract previously won by Maryland’s Urban One to build a casino resort (l.) in Richmond, Virginia.

Black-owned Maryland media company Urban One is out of the running, at least temporarily, for what was planned as the One Casino in South Richmond, Virginia, after a second referendum on the casino was pulled from this year’s November ballot.

Virginia’s casino law provides for five casinos, subject to voter approval. Urban One’s planned Richmond casino was narrowly defeated in a referendum vote in 2021. The contract signed by the company and the city states that the agreement “shall be void and of no force and/or effect if a majority of those voting do not approve” in the November 2022 referendum.

The cancellation also impacts Churchill Downs, which was going to operate the casino through a contract it acquired when it purchased Peninsula Pacific last year.

Richmond Circuit Court pulled a planned second referendum vote for November’s ballot after a request from the city saying it would be best to wait a year. Under the contract, no vote this year voids the contract.

The Richmond City Council could still select Urban One’s project a third time and send the matter to voters in November 2023. However, there is also a possibility that the Virginia General Assembly could select a competing city, Petersburg, to replace Richmond as the Central Virginia casino location.