Virginia launched legal online sports betting on Jan. 20 with a number of the top US sportsbooks, such as Fanduel, BetMGM, DraftKings, and BetRivers offering their mobile betting app. The next step in the state’s gambling expansion plans are land-based casinos in specific markets throughout the Commonwealth.
The process is moving forward in cities such as Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth after receiving positive results in a voter referendum . The city of Richmond, as the state’s capital, decided to put things on hold with a voter referendum on track for this November’s general election.
Ahead of that vote, the city is entertaining proposals for a land-based casino resort. Stepping to the plate early was The Cordish Companies via its Live! Casino brand.
Based in Baltimore, this real estate development company has gotten into the casino gaming industry in a big way. Setting itself up as a regional player in the Mid-Atlantic, Cordish currently owns and operates Live! Casino & Resorts in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Maryland at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover.
The company is involved in multiple retail development projects across the US, so further expansion of its casino properties is part of the comprehensive plan.
If everything goes according to schedule, one of the next Live! casinos will expand its presence south to Virginia. The Richmond Department of Economic Development has been put in charge of the bidding process.
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The idea is to provide city voters with a clear picture of what type of casino resort they will be voting on. By putting the cart before the hose, so to speak, the right proposal would most likely increase its chances to gain approval.
To date, The Cordish Companies have taken the lead by submitting a proposal that would constitute the largest investment among interested parties. The location of the new casino would be in the Scott’s Addition Historic District.
Plans call for a casino gaming floor covering 250,000 square feet. This would be enhanced by a 300-room luxury hotel and a live entertainment facility that would have capacity for 4,000 guests.
The price tag for this plan is upwards of $600 million. It would be called Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond.
The 17-acre site is currently the home of the Movieland theater complex. Cordish already has an agreement in place to buy the property from Bow Tie Partners.
The Cordish Companies most recent casino project in Philadelphia has just recently opened its doors to the general public. The total price tag for that gaming venue was around $700 million.
Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia is located near the city’s Sports Stadium Complex which is home to the NFL.s Philadelphia Eagles, the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies.
Cordish may have the most expensive casino proposal for the Richmond area but it is not the only plan on the table. Urban One has submitted a bid as a Black-owned media conglomerate. This company owns an interest in MGM National Harbor near Washington, DC.
Also in the running is the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. This tribe is currently has plans to build a casino in Norfolk, which is less than two hours east of Richmond.