Dover Downs owner makes bid for $650 million Richmond, VA casino-resort

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Dover Downs owner Bally’s Corp. has joined gaming rivals in submitting a proposal to the City of Richmond to develop and operate the “Bally’s Richmond Casino Resort.”

Bally’s will be one of half a dozen entities competing for a casino deal with the city, RichmondBizSense reported. The company hopes to gain an edge by partnering with two sports legends in Virginia and the head of the nation’s largest minority-owned hotel chain.

The project, which will span more than 1.6 million total square feet, will include a casino, sportsbook, hotel, resort-style pool, dining, retail outlets, and a flexible space for live entertainment and conferences.

Bally’s has proposed constructing the Bally’s Richmond on a 61-acre parcel on Richmond’s western border.

Construction of Bally’s Richmond is projected to take approximately 18 months, with an anticipated opening in 2024.

Bally’s estimates that construction, which will supply Richmond with several years of contractor and sub-contractor work, will cost about $650 million, including a one-time, $100 million upfront payment to the City of Richmond after selection.

Upon completion, Bally’s estimates that the property will attract 3.7 million visitors annually, generating approximately 1,700 full-time equivalent employment opportunities and approximately 2,000 total employees.

The project is also estimated to generate approximately $415 million in revenue annually.

Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s board, has ties to Richmond as a former board member and was the largest shareholder of Media General, a Richmond-based broadcasting company with a new owner.

Features include

A casino with 2,500 slots and 90 table games.

  • A casino consisting of 2,500 slots and 90 table games.
  • A 250-room hotel.
  • A 3,000 square foot indoor/outdoor pool entertainment area.
  • A 16,000 square foot spa, salon, and health club.
  • A 45,000 square foot multi-use event space with 3,000 stadium seats.
  • 13 food and beverage venues.
  • A visitor center providing a full range of services for guests seeking to access sites, museums, and other attractions throughout the city.

As part of this project, Bally’s is partnering with the Lanier Family, who will take a minority ownership interest. The Lanier Family will assist Bally’s in its community outreach programs and provide project construction and development services through Lanier United – a real estate development and construction company owned by Willie Lanier, Jr., son of Pro Football Hall of Famer and Virginia-native Willie Lanier, Sr.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green has also agreed to acquire a minority stake in the Bally’s Richmond. Green is a resident of northern Virginia and regarded as one of the top 100 NFL players of all time. In 1988, Green founded the Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation; a faith-based charitable organization developed to “meet the needs of children, their families and the communities in which they live.” The foundation is responsible for building four centers in the Richmond area to serve underprivileged youth and host an annual golf tournament that raises funds to invest in the education of children living in at-risk communities.

Also, Bally’s is partnering with Warren Thompson and his company Thompson Hospitality Corporation, which will maintain a minority ownership interest in the project. Thompson is the founder, President, and Chairman of the Board of Thompson Hospitality, which is the nation’s largest minority-owned food and facilities management company and the largest minority employer in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The partnership will enable Bally’s to further support the Richmond community by incorporating certain of Thompson’s local restaurant concepts and minority employees into the project and entering into supplier agreements led by his company.

Warren Thompson said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Bally’s, the Lanier Family, and Darrell Green on this historic and transformative project. Bally’s has a proven track record of supporting local organizations and minority-owned businesses and is committed to vendor diversity when sourcing products and services. I look forward to teaming up with Bally’s and contributing to outreach opportunities that are sure to make a lasting, positive impact on the Richmond community.”

The City of Richmond is expected to issue its decision on Bally’s proposal in June.

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