Petersburg Picks Cordish Companies to Develop Proposed Virginia Casino

Petersburg Picks Cordish Companies to Develop Proposed Virginia Casino
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The City of Petersburg is wasting no time in putting plans in place for a casino in the city.

The Petersburg City Council announced Tuesday night they have selected The Cordish Companies to develop a “world-class gaming entertainment destination” in the city. The announcement follows Monday's release of a study that shows the benefits of a casino in Petersburg.

Whether the casino project will pass a referendum vote remains to be seen. State Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Petersburg) plans to introduce legislation in 2023 that would allow Petersburg to move forward with a local referendum.

A local referendum for a casino in Richmond was voted down in 2021. The city hopes to hold a second referendum in 2023 to move the project forward.

A study released by Virginia's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) on Monday found that a casino in Petersburg and one in Richmond could coexist and be profitable. The state already has four casinos under construction.

Reaction to Cordish Selection

Petersburg selected The Cordish Companies as a “development partner” for the gaming destination. Local leaders see the casino as a way “to help realize its revitalization vision for the city,” The Cordish Companies said in a press release.

Labeled a “transformative project,” Chief Operating Officer of The Cordish Companies, Zed Smith, said in a company press release, “Urban revitalization is at the heartbeat of The Cordish Companies' DNA. We share Governor (Glenn) Youngkin, Mayor (Sam) Parham, and the Petersburg City Council's commitment to creating a world-class entertainment destination and mixed-use project with gaming that will generate millions of dollars in tax revenues and spinoff economic development, create thousands of new jobs and benefits to the local community, and become a major new tourist destination for the city."

According to projections from the JLARC study, a casino in Richmond, the state capital, could generate net gaming revenue worth $249 million. A facility in Petersburg could make an additional $140 million — however, if there were no casino in Richmond, that figure would be projected to increase to $204 million in net gaming revenue and a local tax windfall of $12.2 million. Those projections are for 2028, when they would have been open for one year.

All of this, of course, does not factor in any possible Virginia online casino options in the future.

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Cordish Companies Profile

The Cordish Companies is one of the largest casino resort developers-operators in the United States. The company developed two gaming emporiums in Florida — the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood and the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa — plus two Live! Casino & Hotels in Pennsylvania (those are in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) and one in Maryland.

"An important part of our evaluation was to identify a development partner with a proven track record in developing and operating mixed-use and casino properties, a long history of revitalizing cities across the country, and strong community engagement practices," Petersburg mayor Parham said in a statement. "The development of a casino in Petersburg is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set the course for economic growth for decades to come.”

"We look forward to working with the City of Petersburg to deliver a transformative destination resort that will add new amenities to the area and draw new visitors from throughout the region to enhance the city's tourism efforts,” Smith said.

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Keith Stein is a Virginia-based writer for who covers sports betting and casinos.

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