Big Gambling Names Bid On Potential Virginia Casino Project in Richmond

A potential land-based casino project in Richmond has drawn interest from some of the gaming industry’s biggest names.

Richmond voters will decide if the proposed casino project becomes a reality, with the matter to be decided on the November 2021 ballot. The prospect of a retail casino in the Virginia capital is prompting several companies to bid on the still-hypothetical project.

Golden Nugget and Wind Creek became the latest companies to enter bids for the project, as reported by VirginiaBusiness.com on Wednesday. Those two proposals join bids from Bally’s, Urban One, Cordish Cos., and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.

Each of the six bids proposes different locations, sizes, and overall costs. Land-based casino gaming represents a brand new industry in Virginia, with voters approving the construction of retail casinos on the November 2020 ballot.

Last year’s vote gave the green light to land-based casino projects in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. Richmond would join that list as a fifth Virginia city to offer retail casino gaming in the Old Dominion.

The Richmond Casino Project’s Impact On Virginia Sports Betting

Virginia entered a new era of legal gambling in January, as online sports betting launched in the state. Brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, BetMGM, and William Hill are already live with mobile sports betting apps in the state.

The land-based casinos on the way to Virginia can also apply for licenses to operate retail sportsbooks. Virginia sports betting laws allow up to 12 different sportsbook operators to receive approval for a sports betting license, with the Virginia Lottery overseeing the state’s sports betting regulation process.

Four of those 12 licenses are earmarked for online-only operators. The other eight licenses are up for grabs for both retail and online sports betting operators.

The four cities already approved for land-based casinos bring three established commercial brands and a tribal casino ownership group to the state. Rush Street Interactive, owners of the upcoming Rivers Casino Portsmouth project, already launched their BetRivers VA Sportsbook app.

Horseshoe Danville, another casino under construction, is owned by Caesars Entertainment. The William Hill Sportsbook app represents Caesars Entertainment’s foray into the Virginia sports betting market.

Hard Rock Bristol brings another giant of the casino industry to Virginia, while the Pamunkey Indian Tribe owns the casino on its way in Norfolk. Hard Rock and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe stand as likely candidates to land a sports betting license from the Virginia Lottery.

Whichever company lands the Richmond casino project would also very likely get in line for approval for a sports betting license. VirginiaCasinos.com estimates that the state’s sports betting industry could earn as much as $412 million in annual revenue when the market reaches full maturity.

About the Author

Geoffrey Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.