US land-based casino operator Bally’s Corporation has put forward a proposal to construct a new $650m casino resort in the city of Richmond, Virginia.
The facility would span 1.6m square feet and include a casino with 2,500 slot machines, 90 table games, 30 poker tables and a high-limit gaming area.
Other on-site amenities would include a sportsbook, 250-room hotel, 13 food and beverage venues, retail outlets and a flexible space for live entertainment and conferences.
Bally’s would build the resort on a 61-acre site located north of Powhite Parkway and east of Chippenham Parkway, on the western border of Richmond.
Construction would take approximately 18 months, with Bally’s hoping to open the new facility in 2024. Once operational, Bally’s said the resort could welcome up to 3.7m visitors each year and create 1,700 full-time jobs in the city.
“Our proposal represents an unprecedented project for the Richmond community that will embrace and showcase the city’s existing culture and traditions in an environment positioned towards entertainment and leisure,” Bally’s president and chief executive George Papanier said.
“The Bally’s Richmond would provide the city with a vibrant new attraction that is sure to turn Richmond into a dynamic tourist destination.”
As part of this project, the Lanier Family will take a minority ownership interest in Bally’s Richmond, as well as provide construction and development services through Lanier United, a real estate development and construction firm owned by Willie Lanier Jr.
NFL Hall of Gamer Darrell Green has also agreed to acquire a minority stake in the project, as will Warren Thompson and his food and facilities management business, Thompson Hospitality Corporation.
Bally’s also said it would put in place a number of initiatives to benefit the local Richmond community. This would include an interactive program to incentivize players and guests to redeem the rewards they earn while playing at the Bally’s at local retailers.
The ‘Richmond Rewards’ program will allow players and guests to view any participating businesses and their products through a virtual store via their mobile device.
The City of Richmond is expected to issue its decision on Bally’s proposal in June.
Richmond must first select a preferred casino operator and location before a referendum on the casino takes place. If approved by referendum, the casino chosen by the City may be built.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in March 2019 signed into law a bill to permit casinos to open in five cities: Richmond, Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth.
A study published in November 2019 estimated that each project would require initial capital expenditure of between $200m and $300m, with the venues to generate around $970m in net revenue, and $262m in gaming tax revenue by 2025.