One Casino and Resort, Gaming ‘for Black America,’ Hits a Legal Snag

One Casino and Resort, the $562 million retail casino proposed for Richmond, hit a legal snag that could stop a ballot measure. The Nov. 7 measure asks voters whether they want the gaming facility in their backyards. Plus, another lawsuit may be on its way.

The court decision yesterday means the ballot measure is on hold. Yesterday was when William R. Marchant, chief judge of the Richmond City Circuit Court, was scheduled to finalize the order to put One Casino and Resort before voters.

It’s the latest setback for the retail casino proposal that began with fervor three years ago. Then, Urban One CEO Alfred C. Liggins III told Online Poker Report that his media company would market the gaming facility as “the nation’s only Black-owned casino.”

However, about 2% of Richmond voters sent the One Casino and Resort proposal to defeat on Nov. 3, 2021, OPR reported. OPR is a former Catena Media site. Bonus is a Catena publication.

Since that election defeat, Urban One joined forces with Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) on Nov. 1, 2022.

That CDI partnership is partly why political strategist Paul Goldman may sue to stop the development. According to an Aug. 3 article published by The Richmond Free Press, Goldman claims RVA Entertainment Holdings – a subsidiary of the media company Urban One – partnering with the Louisville, Ky. organization negates “the nation’s only Black-owned casino” claim. Goldman said the most concerning issue is Richmond didn’t put the project out to bid in 2023 as it did in 2021.

So by the time Marchant revisits the court case on Friday that’s currently got the ballot issue in limbo, RVA or the city may have a new lawsuit headed its way. The current case before Marchant is suing the city of Richmond.

That’s because Richmond City Council asked the court for the special election on Nov. 7 to present the casino ballot question to voters.

If the vote occurs and electors approve One Casino and Resort, it will be Viriginia’s fifth retail casino.

The Current Lawsuit Impacting One Casino and Resort

Yesterday, Marchant allowed plaintiff Richmond Lodge No. 1 of the Good Lions, Inc. until Friday to find “some more law” about its ability to intervene and stop the vote. Good Lions contends that One Casino and Resort would cannibalize its revenue, plus Richmond didn’t seek bids in 2023.

Dean Mirshahi broke the news yesterday on WRIC:

Richmond Lodge No. 1 of the Good Lions, Inc., a nonprofit that holds charitable gaming twice a week at Pop’s Bingo World in Midlothian, filed motions to intervene – or enter a proceeding – in the court order and block the city from asking voters if they want a casino resort in Southside.

Mirshahi reports Marchant is slated to decide the case on Aug. 23.

The Richmond City Office of Elections says early voting in the special election is scheduled from Sept. 22 to Nov. 4. Election Day is on Nov. 7.

What One Casino and Resort Is Expected to Give Richmond

Richmond will get “$30 million in new General Fund revenue annually in addition to a one-time payment of $25.5 million to the City upon passage of the voter referendum,” a Richmond press release said.

The One Casino and Resort proposal calls for such a large casino, it will have two addresses:

  • 2001 Walmsley Boulevard
  • 4700 Trenton Avenue

That’s because the project outline is as follows:

  • 12-story luxury hotel
  • live entertainment venue and conference center
  • audio and visual production studio
  • food and beverage amenities featuring local Richmond restaurants,
  • a 55-acre green space and park.

One Casino and Resort Developers Mum

Unlike 2021, One Casino and Resort developers are remaining quiet in 2023.

In 2021, Liggins provided a Q&A to OPR. The proposed project site, OneCasinoResort.com, was filled with casino and grounds renderings, press releases, and testimonials. On the platform then called Twitter, the project account was full of updates.

In 2023, the @OneCasinoResort X account shows the entity that joined in February 2021 has gone private. Its last public update was a “repost” on Nov. 2, 2021. That was a day before the election defeat by fewer than 2,000 votes.

OneCasinoResort.com only says:

Coming soon …

Urban One, representing Black culture

Churchill Downs

Partnering to Bring Great Things to Richmond

One Casino Planned to Market to Black America

In July 2021, Liggins talked to OPR about the marketing plans for One Casino and Resort.

Liggins said in 2021:

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.

The final sentence Heather Fletcher, now of Bonus, wrote in the OPR election story was:

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

The same is true now, even though the One Casino and Resort story appears to have changed.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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