Richmond Casino Reverses Course due to Offensive Remarks

Richmond Grand Casino Project’s Fate Decided by Voters on November 6, 2023, at 10:50h. 

Last Updated: November 6, 2023, 10:50h.

Richmond voters have a significant decision to make tomorrow regarding the future of the Richmond Grand, a proposed casino resort project with a budget of $562 million.

Richmond casino Urban One Cathy Hughes
Political yard signs supporting and opposing the Richmond casino. Richmond voters will decide the $562 million project’s fate on Election Day, Nov. 7, 2023. (Image: Style Weekly)

Pre-election polls reveal a divided electorate on whether Richmond should host a Las Vegas-style casino resort. A similar project narrowly lost two years ago with a vote of 51-49%, a difference of only 1,493 votes.

Urban One, the Black-focused media conglomerate, previously known as Radio One, takes charge once again after leading the 2021 casino campaign.

Urban One and their partner Churchill Downs hold the belief that the Richmond Grand can provide the capital city with a substantial economic boost and create 1,300 well-paying jobs. The casino group also projects an annual tax share of approximately $30 million, which could be invested in improving the city’s infrastructure, schools, and services.

Opponents argue that a resort should not depend on gambling and that the purported benefits can be achieved without introducing a Las Vegas Strip concept near the Philip Morris plant on Interstate 95. They maintain that gambling will exploit the less educated and low-income population, disrupt families, and contribute to poverty in the area.

Controversial Remarks

Urban One founder Cathy Hughes has faced criticism for her comments towards casino opponents. During a recent radio interview, Hughes ignited claims of racism against her adversaries.

Do not forget that they do not see you as a human being,” Hughes said of her casino opponents, primarily Paul Goldman, a Jewish lawyer and Richmond political activist leading the “No Means No Casino” campaign. “Even though you may have a house like theirs, a car like theirs, and your children go to the same schools, they see you as a n*****.”

Radio host Preston Brown also joined, making inflammatory remarks about Goldman’s Jewish background, comparing him to the Biblical figure Judas.

Urban One CEO Alfred Higgins, Hughes’ son, reportedly apologized to Goldman on behalf of the company for Brown’s comments. Marsha Landess, Urban One’s Regional Vice President, additionally issued a statement condemning Brown’s remarks.

Mayor Levar Stoney, one of the casino’s strongest supporters, also criticized Brown’s comments.

Final Days of Campaign

Goldman is leveraging the controversial audio clips in an attempt to sway undecided voters ahead of Election Day. The “No Means No Casino” website presents 19 audio clips featuring Hughes and other casino supporters making disparaging remarks about opponents.

Goldman also released a statement addressing the contentious comments.

For the love of money, for personal gain, they are willing to turn their casino project into a wedge of division, to attempt to win by a divisive strategy serving only their selfish interests,” Goldman said.

“No one needs to apologize to me. I know politics a little: They didn’t publicly apologize immediately because they were hoping there would be no political backlash. So, no public apology. But when they saw their political gamble losing today, they started apologizing,” added Goldman.


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