Black-owned media conglomerate Urban One is expanding yet again. This time it’s not another media outlet but a casino based in Richmond, Virginia.
The One Casino Resort is still in the planning stages but will take Urban One into a different business sector.
Newly divorced, single mother Cathy Hughes founded Urban One (formerly Radio One) in 1980 with the purchase of a Washington, D.C. station. Today, Silver Spring, Maryland-based Urban One is the largest African American-owned broadcasting company in the U.S., operating 55 radio stations, the majority-owned syndicator Reach Media, as well as its digital arm Interactive One, and the cable network TV One, Black Enterprise reported.
The company went public in 1999, making Hughes the first African American woman to chair a public company. Urban One is led by Alfred Liggins III, Hughes’ son. The three top shareholders are Liggins (33 percent), Hughes (14 percent), and TCS Capital Management, LLC, (about 6.1 percent).
Here are seven things to know about Urban One’s new casino.
The city of Richmond requested and evaluated six casino development proposals in December 2020. In May 2021, the city negotiated terms for the media conglomerate Urban One and partners, Richmond.com reported.
Urban One’s proposed $25 million upfront payment was smaller than other companies in the running had bid. Bally’s Corp., for example, offered a $100 million upfront payment, Richmond.com reported.
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The One Casino Resort will cost an estimated $560 million and will be built near the intersection of Commerce Road and Walmsley Boulevard on property currently owned by tobacco giant Philip Morris USA.
The 23-story resort will feature a 250-room luxury hotel and a 100,000-square-foot casino floor with 1,800 slot machines, more than 100 table games, and a sportsbook, Casino.org reported. Resort amenities will include a pool, spa, and fitness center as well as a TV and radio production studio on site.
The Richmond City Council still needs to vote on the terms of the deal. If it’s approved, a referendum on the project will be held on Nov. 2.
Per Virginia state law, the city cannot permit a casino unless voters approve plans for a specific project, operator, and site in a public referendum, Richmond.com reported.
If approved by vote, the One Casino Resort will be the only Black-owned casino in the U.S., according to the One Casino Resort website.
When news of the approval became public, shares of Urban One rose 34 percent to $11.39. The stock has more than tripled year to date, The Street reported.
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Urban One initially set a 2023 target date for the casino to open but that has been pushed forward to 2024, Casino.org reported.
Richmond city officials expect the casino resort development to generate $30 million in annual local tax revenue, Richmond.com reported. The project will create 1,300 jobs as well as potentially trigger ancillary development in an area of the city.
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