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Richmond Resort Casino Development
Learn More about the Competitive Process 

In 2021, Richmond voters will have the opportunity to bring a resort casino to the city. 

Legislation adopted by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Northam earlier this year authorizes the city to host a casino gaming establishment, subject to the residents of Richmond approving a casino referendum. That referendum is anticipated to be on the ballot in November of 2021. The law requires that, prior to requesting the court to order a casino referendum, the city select a preferred resort casino operator and location.

On December 1st, the city opened a survey asking Richmonders what they believe the city should consider in a proposal for a potential resort casino in Richmond. The survey was available both online and in hardcopy form (in English and Spanish) and closed December 14th. The results from the virtual survey are now available and can be viewed here

Para ver la página en español, haga clic aquí.

Click here to read the Request for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ/P). Responses must be delivered to Leonard Sledge, Director of Economic Development, per the instructions in the RFQ/P by no later than 3:00 pm EST on February 22, 2021. 

Click here to read the questions and answers submitted in response to the casino development and operation RFQ/P. 

Timeline for planned RFQ/P

Frequently Asked Questions

State Legislation
  • The state legislation authorizes casino gaming in the Commonwealth to be regulated by the Virginia Lottery Board. It allows for the construction of five casinos in the Commonwealth of Virginia in five cities and requires that each locality interested in hosting a casino hold a voter referendum.
  • Further, the bill specifies the requirements for licensure of casino gaming operators and the conduct of casino gaming and imposes criminal and civil penalties for violations of the casino gaming law.

  • The state legislation went into effect July 2020, meaning that as soon as November 2020 localities could begin holding voter referenda on the topic. 
  • The law is clear: before voters decide whether they want a casino in their city, the interested locality must bring an operator to the table. The City of Richmond has chosen to do this through a competitive request for qualifications/proposals, because our city deserves the best deal. 
     

  • The legislation reads that the location of casino gaming establishments shall be limited to eligible host cities that meet specified criteria: the cities of Portsmouth, Richmond, Norfolk, Danville, and Bristol. The bill requires each eligible host city to hold a referendum on the question of whether to allow casino gaming in the city. All localities, with the exception of Richmond, chose a casino operator and held a referendum in 2020.
  • On November 3, 2020, voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth all approved the development of a casino in their respective cities in landslide referenda. Read more here.
  • The development is entirely subject to voters passing the casino referendum. If Richmond voters go to the polls and decide not to approve of the development of a casino, there will be no casino.

Nature of the Development

  • A resort casino is an establishment consisting of a casino with temporary lodging provided in an on-premises hotel. Customers receive the benefits of both gambling facilities and lodging.
  • Primarily, a resort casino provides a wrap-around hospitality experience for tourists rather than a source of short-term entertainment. A casino resort is just that – a resort that has the added benefit of a casino for those who wish to participate in that form of entertainment.
  • On a technical level, a casino offers more by way of entertainment. In comparison to a gaming emporium, this type of resort casino offers table games, slot machines, and lodging. Gaming emporiums focus on bets-based games, jackpots, and other electronic gaming devices.
  • The location is to be proposed by each interested Casino Operator.  Once all proposals are received, the administration will engage the community as part of its evaluation.
  • No, the state legislation clarifies that casino operators answer to the Virginia Lottery Board, the state body that will be ensuring fair practices and protocols for all five potential casinos across the Commonwealth. 
  • However, the city can utilize contractual commitments to ensure the operator delivers on the project it promised. The city anticipates it will only move forward with selecting a preferred casino operator that agrees to enter into a development agreement with terms and conditions deemed acceptable to the city and which may be enforced by the city. 

Potential Benefits and Costs

  • The casino operator will be solely responsible for all costs associated with designing, building, and opening the casino, included any needed public infrastructure work.
  • No taxpayer dollars will subsidize or incentivize this development.
  • The resort casino will provide significant new annual revenues, add thousands of good-paying jobs, and boost the city’s entertainment and tourism industry. For more specific insight on potential community benefits, read and respond to the survey, available through December 15.
  • A Joint Legislative Audit and Review Report (JLARC), Gaming in the Commonwealth, found that casinos authorized by the proposed state legislation are projected to generate about $260 million annually in state gaming taxes and have a positive but modest impact on local economies. Richmond’s development was projected to contribute 31% of that total gaming revenue and gaming tax revenue. 
  • The same report noted that a casino development would offer thousands of jobs for Richmonders.
  • Commonwealth:
    • State legislation imposes a tax on each casino operator’s adjusted gross receipts from gaming to be paid to the Commonwealth as follows:
      • A rate of 18 percent on the first $200 million of adjusted gross receipts
      • A rate of 23 percent on adjusted gross receipts that exceed $200 million but do not exceed $400 million
      • A rate of 30 percent on all adjusted gross receipts that exceed $400 million
    • The Commonwealth will allocate certain portion of those revenues directly to the casino host cities, the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, the Family and Children’s Trust Fund, and the Virginia Indigenous People’s Trust Fund (if the casino deriving such revenues is operated by a Virginia Indian tribe). The remaining revenues will be appropriated annually to investment in public school construction, renovation, and upgrades statewide.
  • City:
    • Out of the Commonwealth revenues that are attributable to the city’s casino operator, the Commonwealth will allocate to the city:
      • An amount equal to a six percent tax on the first $200 million of adjusted gross receipts
      • An amount equal to a seven percent tax on the adjusted gross receipts that exceed $200 million but do not exceed $400 million
      • An amount equal to an eight percent tax on all adjusted gross receipts that exceed $400 million
    • The city revenues from casino gaming adjusted gross receipts would be in addition to other expected city revenues a resort casino project would produce due to taxes such as real estate, meals, sales, and lodging.  The city may also negotiate with its casino operator for additional revenues by requiring one-time and/or recurring contractual-obligated payments.   
    • The city can choose to allocate the new revenues created by a resort casino project to any spending priorities, a promising flexibility after the COVID-19 pandemic forced many localities to take severe budget cutting measures.

Selection Process

  • The total amount of new annual revenues coming to the City of Richmond, location of the casino resort, capital investment, job creation, small business engagement, increased tourism, how the location of the casino resort supports the city’s entertainment community, and the capacity of the operator and the quality development will all be factors in recommending the casino operator and site to the City Council and the citizens of Richmond.  
  • Community feedback will also be a factor. Please take the available survey to tell the administration what is important to you in a potential resort casino.
  • Your first opportunity to weigh in is currently available. Take this survey.
  • Throughout the evaluation process the community will have the opportunity to indicate to the administration and Council what they want to see out of a development and which site is most preferred. Additional community engagement opportunities will be posted on this page in the "Get Involved" section. 
  • The citizens of Richmond will make the ultimate decision via a referendum on Election Day. 
  • The city anticipates making a selection between February and June 2021 in order to put the question to the citizens of Richmond via referendum in November 2021. 
  • The city residents will ultimately make the final decision at the referendum in November of 2021.

Document Archive

This archive houses all relevant documents and materials related to the Virginia Casino Act and the competitive process taking place in the City of Richmond. The archive will be updated as the process unfolds. 

Questions and answers submitted in response to the Request for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ/P)

To view the questions and answers submitted in response to the casino development and operation RFQ/P, click here

Request for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ/P)

To view the Request for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ/P), click here. Responses must be delivered to Leonard Sledge, Director of Economic Development, per the instructions in the RFQ/P by no later than 3:00 pm EST on February 22, 2021. 

Economic Development Authority (EDA) of the City of Richmond Casino Consultant Solicitation 

On December 30th, 2020, the EDA of the City of Richmond released a solicitation for casino consulting services. The EDA seeks to engage a consulting firm with substantial and particular subject matter expertise related to resorts and casinos/gaming to aid the City of Richmond in navigating the process of requesting qualifications and proposals for a resort casino operator and for choosing a site to locate a resort casino within the city of Richmond. To view the solicitation, click here

Virginia Casino Act

Following two years of deliberation, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation allowing commercial casino gaming in Virginia, subject to voter approval. The bill allows for casinos in five cities including Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville, Bristol, and Richmond. Review the guidelines, restrictions, and details of the legislation here