Richmond Hires Consultant to Help Selecting Casino Project

Richmond city officials announced hiring a consultant to help in the selection of casino project in the Virginia capital.
The person chosen for the consulting role is Leonard Sledge, director of Richmond Economic Development Authority. But the decision is up to the voters next fall.

The vote for the authorization of a single casino will happen through ballot referendum next November. The voters will have to determine the specifics of the gaming resort blueprint, including details of the city’s designated casino operator.

The consultancy contract was giving to the New Orleans-based Convergence Startegy Group. It specializes in gaming industry matters, that include project feasibility, demographic and market analysis, master planning and strategy development.

The consultant fee for the casino project that the EDA is able to spend is up to $120,000.

The consulting company was recently hired by another Virginia’s city, Danville to help it select a casino partner. At the end, the city chose Caesars Entertainment.

Last September Danville officials approved a development agreement with Caesars for the construction of a casino at the site of the former Dan River Mills industrial complex in the Schoolfield area.

Las November, Danville, along with three other cities – Norfolk, Portsmouth and Bristol, made the casino referendum.

The bidding period for Richmond began at the end of December last year. The interested companies have until February 22 to submit their casino presentations to the city. After that, the consulting agency will reach each of them in order to pick the winner at the end.

Interested Parties

There is a public announcement for bid in Richmond and it came from the Pamuckey Tribe who recently won gaming rights in Norfolk. The Tribe is currently building its future $500 million casino there, partnering with Jon Yarbrough.

In the meantime the Native American Tribe also expressed its interest in constructing a $350 million gaming property in Richmond, more specifically, in the Manchester neighborhood. The location is just south of the downtown capital area across the James River.

Two other interested parties are Colonial Downs Group, which already operates 2,150 historical horse racing machines throughout Virginia and the Cordish Companies, based in Baltimore.

Cordish developed Riverside on the James and it is currently in the middle of a legal battle in Norfolk regarding the city picking Pamuckey Tribe for the casino.

According to Cordish official, its contract with Virginia states that it will receive gaming privileges should Virginia ever legalize commercial gambling.

According to Virginia’s gaming law, signed last year by Gov. Ralph Northam, five cities, that find themselves economically distressed, are allowed to ask their voters if they want a casino to be approved. The gaming projects are supposed to help the cities financially.

Richmond happened to be one of the approved cities, but it opted for another year on the measure. According to the city’s officials, such a project should be considered very carefully before moving forward.

Source: “City hires consultant to review proposal from casino developers”, Richmond Biz Sense, January 29, 2021

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