Wind Creek and Golden Nugget Join Bid for Richmond Casino Project

Bids tabled by February 22 deadline

Wind Creek Hospitality and Golden Nugget Hotels and Casinos are the latest gambling industry players to announce their bid to the City of Richmond to develop, construct, and operate a casino in Virginia’s capital city.

Yesterday’s announcement by Wind Creek – the Alabama-based gaming arm of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians – and Texas-based casino and hotel chain Golden Nugget means at least six operators have tabled their proposals under the February 22 deadline.

In a tweet last week, the City of Richmond shared a timeline infographic of the proposal process, which culminates in a referendum on November 2:

Wind Creek and Golden Nugget join the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Bally’s Corporation, The Cordish Companies, and Urban One Incorporated in the hunt for the Richmond casino prize.

Operators get their pitches in

Wind Creek Hospitality outlined its proposal for a $541m project in the city’s South Side in an official news release on February 24. The owner and operator of several casino resorts and racetracks in the US and the Caribbean submitted a project that includes 100,000 square feet of gaming space with 2,500 slot machines and 120 table games. It also proposes over 500 hotel rooms, several restaurants, and a 67,000-square-foot entertainment complex.

an unmatched edge against our competition”

Wind Creek’s vice president of business development and government affairs, Arthur Mothershed, highlighted his firm’s experience in casino resort operations in the US and the Caribbean. He said Wind Creek’s gaming expertise, diversity focus, and community partnerships give it “an unmatched edge against our competition.”

Golden Nugget’s $400m proposal, according to Virginia’s NBC12, is for a 950,000-square-foot facility approximately six miles from downtown Richmond. It includes a 3,000-square-foot casino floor plus a 177-room hotel, 16,000-square-foot event space, 1,500-seater concert venue, restaurants, pool complex, and retail outlets.

Golden Nugget’s pitch included the creation of 1,200 jobs and one-off donations of $60m to Richmond Public Schools, $10m to Richmond Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and $1m to Virginia Union University.

The other contenders

Highlights of the Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corporation $650m proposal include a 1.6-million-square-foot casino with a sportsbook, plus a one-time $100m payment to the city of Richmond. The company estimates it would create 2,000 jobs and annually generate $415m in total gross revenue.

Also tabling a bid is The Cordish Companies. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Maryland-based real estate development and entertainment operating company has proposed a $600m operation that would include 250,000 square feet of gaming space, and a 4,000-seat entertainment venue.

The Pamunkey Tribe’s $350m proposal expects to create 1,910 permanent jobs and attract 5.3 million visitors annually. The project would be 100% minority owned and is the only bid from a Virginia-based organization.

Urban One, a Maryland-based American media conglomerate, is proposing a $517m project that, if successful, would herald the first casino under Black ownership in the US.

Who will the City of Richmond choose?

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has named a nine-member evaluation panel that, according to Virginia Business, will “review the casino proposals over the following days.” Consulting firm Convergence Strategy Group will assist the panel in its decision.

tremendous opportunity […] to create new jobs for our residents and new revenue to fund our priorities”

Stoney said he was thankful two council members agreed to serve on the panel, and that the group would “thoroughly vet each proposal”. He added that Richmond has “a tremendous opportunity […] to create new jobs for our residents and new revenue to fund our priorities.”

Later this year, voters in Richmond will head to the ballots to approve casino development via a referendum.

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