Richmond, Virginia Casino War Adds Suitors, as Golden Nugget, Poarch Indians Bid

Posted on: February 25, 2021, 09:06h. 

Last updated on: March 25, 2021, 08:20h.

The potential casino license in Richmond, Va., has quickly become the most-contested resort opportunity in the state’s forthcoming gaming market.

Richmond casino Virginia Golden Nugget
Tilman Fertitta, seen here during a recent appearance on CNBC, has his casino company’s eyes set on Richmond, Virginia. Golden Nugget wants to build a $400 million resort destination in the capital city. (Image: Twitter)

Last year, Virginia lawmakers and Gov. Ralph Northam (D) passed legislation that allows voters in five economically troubled cities to decide whether they want to bring a casino resort to their towns. Four of the cities successfully passed local ballot referendums during the 2020 November election.

Richmond is the fifth city. It decided to hold off until the 2021 election in order to field the best casino proposal. The move is paying off, as the capital is receiving numerous pitches from major casino operators.

Houston-based Golden Nugget Hotels & Casinos is the latest. The firm owned by Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta presented Richmond this week with a $400 million scheme.

If Richmond voters back the casino referendum next November and the city goes with the Golden Nugget tender, the company says it will build a resort featuring a 177-room hotel, with a casino floor spanning 93,000 square feet, 16,000 square feet of convention space, a 1,500-seat theater, and six restaurants.

Unlike the other casino submissions, Golden Nugget has not yet identified a target location for the development. Richmond’s request-for-proposal did not require that schemes have a site pinpointed.

Golden Nugget owns and operates Golden Nugget casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Lake Charles, La., Biloxi, Ms., and Laughlin, Nv.

Alabama Tribe Casino Offer

Golden Nugget joins Bally’s, The Cordish Companies, Colonial Downs/Urban One, and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in unveiling a casino arrangement for officials in Richmond to ponder.

Today, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, a Native American tribe based in Alabama, delivered Richmond yet another casino resort scenario. The tribe’s gaming unit — Wind Creek Hospitality — has suggested a $541 million development that would include a 252-room hotel, with a 100,000-square-foot casino with 2,500 slot machines and 120 table games, seven eateries, a spa, and a 67,000-square-foot family-friendly entertainment center.

Wind Creek is considering its casino resort in the Oak Grove-Manchester neighborhoods south of downtown Richmond across the James River. Wind Creek owns tribal casinos in its home state of Alabama, as well as commercial gaming properties in Pennsylvania and the Caribbean.

Richmond Casino Pitches

The Richmond Department of Economic Development is handling the casino reviews. The agency will seek input from the community and appoint an “Evaluation Panel” to select the winning bid.

Here’s a recap of the current resort presentations.

Developer(s) — Total Investment — Casino Space

  • Bally’s Corporation — $650M — 2,500 slots, 120 tables
  • Cordish Companies — $600M — 250,000 sq. ft.
  • Wind Creek — $541M — 100,000 sq. ft.
  • Colonia Downs, Urban One — $517M — 90,000 sq. ft.
  • Golden Nugget — $400M — 93,000 sq. ft.
  • Pamunkey Tribe — $350M — 100,000 sq. ft.

The preferred casino developer will be announced by early summer.

*Bally’s did not specify how large its casino space would be.