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Urban One to Create the First-Ever Black-owned Casino Resort in the US

Richmond, Virginia is already one of America's most historic cities. It was the location of the country's first hospital and even the capital of the Confederate States during the Civil War.

And in the next couple of years, Richmond will be adding one more item to its list of firsts: the opening of the first-ever and only Black-owned casino among the over 1,000 casinos currently open in America. The ONE Casino + Resort will encompass 100 acres of land off the I-95, bringing fast-paced economic development — including 1,500 well-paying jobs — to South Richmond.

How we got here

In February 2021, four companies, including the Black-owned Urban One, submitted proposals. All hoped for the chance to build a hybrid casino-resort establishment in River City. Aside from Urban One's, proposals included the Pamunkey Indian Tribe's plan for a 100% minority-owned facility, a submission from Rhode Island-based gaming company Bally's Corporation, and even one from The Cordish Companies, known for its ownership of the Hard Rock chain. To choose which proposal to support, the city consulted with outside firms to form the Resort Casino Evaluation Panel. And last May, the panel chose Urban One thanks to its proposal's feasibility, sustainability, and potential benefits for the community.

ONE grand plan

Urban One, in partnership with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, will be investing over half a billion dollars into the casino's construction — and for good reason. Blueprints include over 250 luxury hotel rooms (expandable to 600), a theater capable of housing 3,000 people, a world-class spa and salon, film and radio broadcast production studios, and 15 dining establishments. Meanwhile, ONE's world-class gaming facility will have over 2,000 slot machines alone, and more than 100 tables where you can play everything from blackjack and craps to everyone's favorite Texas Hold'em. After all, according to this No-limit Texas Hold’em guide, the game is the most popular poker variation in the entire country. Additionally, over half of ONE's property will be cultivated into delightful pockets of green spaces. Here, you'll find bike trails, playgrounds, food trucks, and lawns for events of all sorts. The best part? ONE will be adding amenities based on community feedback.

Behind Urban One

The Black-owned Radio One and TV One have been household names for decades. Indeed, the company has solidly built its reputation as the only integrated media company focused on Black culture, and they've recently rebranded to Urban One to signify the media powerhouse they've become. For this noteworthy feat, founder Cathy Hughes was even recognized as Woman of the Year by 100 Black Men of America, Inc., rated here on the Quintessential Gentleman as one of the Black community's most influential organizations.

“ [Urban One has] invested in African American culture and communities for decades, and I think it is only fitting they get the opportunity to raise the aesthetic to an impoverished area," Richmond 9th District City Councilman Michael Jones observed. "It is now time to truly make this one city with this project. Southside residents are excited about this.” In November, the proposal for ONE Casino + Resort will be up for approval by the citizens of Richmond via referendum. And if all goes well, its doors will open in 2023.

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