$1 Million Contribution from Urban One and Churchill Downs Supports Richmond Casino Project


Posted on: November 3, 2023, 12:21h. 

Last updated on: November 3, 2023, 02:55h.

Urban One and Churchill Downs have made a significant political contribution of over $1 million to a PAC in support of their proposed $562 million casino project in Richmond. The “Richmond Wins, Vote Yes” committee has received a total of $8.42 million from the two companies, with Churchill Downs contributing $4.24 million and Urban One contributing $4.18 million, according to state campaign finance records. Last month, they made an additional donation of $1.06 million to the PAC, with Churchill Downs contributing $899,269 and Urban One contributing $168,714. With these contributions, the companies have now spent nearly $9.5 million on the 2023 Richmond casino referendum. This is the second time in three years that the local city government has asked residents to support a casino project, with the previous attempt narrowly defeated in 2021.

Urban One Churchill Downs Richmond casino
Urban One founder Cathy Hughes speaks in Georgia on June 24, 2023. Hughes says her firm and Churchill Downs were forced to “waste” $10 million to allow Richmond voters to decide on a casino presentation during the 2023 election. (Image: Getty)

The “Richmond Wins, Vote Yes” campaign has used the money for various promotional activities including ads on television, radio, billboards, yard signs, and social media. They have also organized a block party and offered free Uber vouchers to residents who pledge to use the rideshare credits to vote. On the other hand, the opposition is being led by a political committee called “No Means No Casino” and supported by the Family Foundation, a conservative Christian organization. While the opposition has raised less than $500,000, their grassroots campaign appears to be resonating primarily in wealthier neighborhoods north of the downtown area.

Urban One’s founder, Cathy Hughes, expressed frustration at the amount of money spent on the casino referendum, stating that the $10 million could have been put to better use. She also dismissed concerns about Urban One’s potential delisting from Nasdaq, emphasizing that it would have no impact on their business or operations.

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