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Petersburg City Council Voted Unanimously For Cordish Cos. Virginia Casino Project

Written By Katarina Vojvodic | Updated:
Live! Gaming & Entertainment District, Petersburg, VA Rendering

Petersburg City Council officials have voted unanimously to select Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. as the developer that will have a chance to build a casino in the Virginia city.

No announcement on the council’s April 24 meeting agenda indicated that such an important decision could occur during the closed session, and council members did not explain the surprising vote to reporters in attendance, the Virginia Mercury reported.

But before the work on the proposed project can start, local voters must approve the casino.

Among the finalists considered by Petersburg, the Cordish Cos. revealed its vision for a $1.4 billion gambling and entertainment project spanning over 15 years.

Key takeaways:

  • The vote comes one week after the General Assembly approved an amended version of SB 628Petersburg residents will have a final say on the casino in a ballot this fall.
  • Cordish has made several previous efforts to build a casino in Virginia and is the same company Petersburg selected during its first bid in 2022. It was one of five finalists considered by Petersburg this year.
  • The proposed Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia project intends to become the main tourist attraction in central Virginia.

Petersburg city officials will compose referendum language to appear on November ballot

After lawmakers passed SB 628, sponsored by Sen. Lashrecse Aird, Petersburg replaced Richmond as a city eligible to host a casino in Virginia.

The legislation now makes Petersburg eligible for a casino, and the proposal will be listed as a referendum in November. The bill primarily had a reenactment clause that would necessitate a second vote from lawmakers to put it into effect.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin sent the legislation back with an amendment to remove the clause, and lawmakers approved the change during the General Assembly’s reconvened session last week.

In a community meeting held by Aird on April 14, all five finalists presented their plans to the public and explained why their company would be the best fit. The other companies interested in building a casino in Petersburg were:

  1. Bally’s Corp.
  2. Rush Street Gaming
  3. The Warrenton Group
  4. Penn Entertainment

Virginia’s casino law doesn’t require a competitive bidding process to determine which proposal would best fit a specific community. The Old Dominion State authorized just five casino licenses in cities the General Assembly chose.

What does the Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia proposal promise to Petersburg residents?

The Live! gaming and entertainment district would include a casino, an entertainment venue, a hotel, and restaurants. The gaming facility would be built in southern Petersburg at the intersection of Interstate 95 and Wagner Road.

The first phase would include:

  • A casino
  • 200-room hotel
  • 3,000-seat entertainment venue
  • Eight restaurants
  • Fitness center
  • Resort pool

The Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia complex proposal would feature a casino with 1,600 slot machines and 46 live table games.

In addition to Cordish, Bruce Smith Enterprise, the real estate firm owned by NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Smith, leads the project with a 50% participation.

As the owners announced earlier, the Live! gaming and entertainment district would employ 7,000 residents.

Cordish has previously developed:

  • Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland in Anne Arundel County
  • Power Plant Live! Entertainment district in Baltimore
  • Two Hard Rock casinos in Florida
Photo by Cordish Companies / Bruce Smith Enterprise
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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