Urban One Stock Skyrockets After Winning Richmond Casino License

Posted on: May 20, 2021, 11:18h. 

Last updated on: June 30, 2021, 10:05h.

And then there was one — Urban One. After reviewing the three finalists — Urban One, The Cordish Companies, and Bally’s Corporation — Richmond’s Resort Casino Evaluation Panel chose the Urban One blueprint known as ONE Casino + Resort. 

Urban One Richmond casino Virginia
Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins pictured in the inset. Today, Richmond officials chose Urban One’s casino bid to move forward to the 2021 election ballot. (Image: WRIC)

The media conglomerate, whose mission “is to be the most trusted source in the African-American community,” has gained the support of officials in the Virginia capital city of Richmond. Six casino bids were submitted for Richmond’s sole gaming privileges, and this week, the city made Urban One the official winner.

The project will create over 1,000 good-paying jobs, generate a significant amount of new revenue for the city, and establish an additional economic engine in South Richmond,” said Mayor Levar Stoney.

ONE Casino + Resort is targeting 100 acres of land next to the Philip Morris headquarters just off I-95. The more than $600 million integrated resort is set to feature a 250-room hotel, a spa, 15 bars and restaurants, a 3,000-person event center, a 55-acre park and green space, TV, and radio production studios, and a 100,000-square-foot casino floor with 2,000 slot machines, 110 table games, and sportsbook.

Richmond voters will now face a ballot referendum next fall with ONE project details. If a simple majority backs the question, the casino will be authorized. 

Stock Soars

Publicly traded on the Nasdaq, shares of Urban One reacted positively to the news. The stock was up nearly 60 percent today to close at $9.56.

Urban One claims to be the largest distributor of urban content in the country. The conglomerate says its television, radio, and online programming reaches 82 percent of Black America.

The company, headquartered outside Washington DC, is now trying to reach a new demographic: gamblers. Since it has no experience in the gaming industry, Urban One has partnered with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E).

P2E’s casino portfolio includes Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City, Ia., Colonial Downs Racetrack in New Kent, Va., and del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo, N.Y. The company is also currently trying to relocate its gaming license in Louisiana from Bossier City to Slidell.

Location Proposal, Major Factor

Richmond initially fielded six casino proposals. However, the city’s Evaluation Panel quickly dismissed schemes from Golden Nugget, Wind Creek Hospitality, and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe on various concerns.

After being named finalists, the pitches from Bally’s and Cordish generated a strong backlash from local communities and neighborhoods where the firms were targeting their casino projects. That wasn’t the case with Urban One’s plans for ONE, which would be built in a large manufacturing area. 

One key factor in the last few weeks has been community support,” explained Richmond Councilman Andreas Addison, who served on the evaluation panel. “I think it’s heavily weighted.”

Urban One originally said its casino resort would cost $517 million to construct but has since raised that figure to more than $600 million.

The company says, once complete, ONE Casino + Resort will be the “only black-owned casino in the country.” Along with P2E, Urban One says it has recruited more than 50 minority investors for the development.