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Bally's Corporation proposes to develop new resort casino in Richmond, Virginia

22 February 2021

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Bally's Corporation, a leading U.S. omnichannel provider of land-based gaming and interactive entertainment, today submitted a proposal to the City of Richmond to develop and operate the "Bally's Richmond Casino Resort," a world class, destination resort, hotel and casino. The project, which will span more than 1.6 million total square feet, will include a casino, sportsbook, hotel, resort-style pool, dining and retail outlets, and a flexible space for live entertainment and conferences.

To ensure that the project fosters significant opportunities for Richmond's local organizations and minority-owned businesses, Bally's has entered into strategic partnerships with multiple leaders of the greater Richmond community, including Willie Lanier, Sr. and the Lanier Family, Darrell Green, Founder of the Darrell Green Youth Foundation, and Warren Thompson, Founder, President and Chairman of the Board of Thompson Hospitality Corporation. Bally's has also started discussions and begun forming partnerships with several small business enterprises including the Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council and the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce, each of which has committed their support to the proposed project.

Bally's has proposed construction of the Bally's Richmond on a 61-acre parcel located North of Powhite Parkway/East of Chippenham Parkway, on the western border of Richmond, Virginia. This central location will make the Bally's Richmond an attractive destination, providing convenient highway and transit access, as well as connectivity to downtown Richmond, which is only six miles away, and neighboring suburbs. Bally's carefully selected this wooded site located at the city's edge because it will provide the greatest economic benefit to Richmond without causing any disruption to nearby communities.

As detailed in the proposal, construction of the 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 approximately $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 approximately 3.7 million visitors annually, generating approximately 1,700 full-time equivalent (FTE) employment opportunities and approximately 2,000 total employees with FTE payroll. The project is also estimated to generate approximately $415 million in total gross revenue annually.

Soo Kim, Chairman of Bally's Corporation's Board of Directors, said, "As a former director and the largest shareholder of Richmond-headquartered Media General, I have a strong interest in the growth, development and success of this great city. I am grateful for the opportunity to present this project to the City of Richmond, which will not only generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, but, more importantly, thousands of high paying jobs. The project also demonstrates Bally's deep commitments to supporting local communities, partnering with local businesses and promoting diversity."

"We are honored about the prospect of partnering with the City of Richmond as it embarks upon this exciting and unique adventure," said George Papanier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bally's Corporation. "Our proposal represents an unprecedented project for the Richmond community that will embrace and showcase the city's existing culture and traditions in an environment positioned towards entertainment and leisure. The Bally's Richmond would provide the city with a vibrant new attraction that is sure to turn Richmond into a dynamic tourist destination."

A World-Class Destination Resort

Among other amenities and offerings, the Bally's Richmond would include:
  • a casino, curated to celebrate Richmond's diversity, consisting of 2,500 slot machines, 90 table games, 30 poker tables, a High Limit Gaming area and VIP lounge;
  • a 4-star, 250-room hotel that will provide the Richmond market, including the Richmond Convention Center, with an advantage in attracting meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) activities and revenue;
  • a 3,000 square foot indoor/outdoor pool area that will include a stage, access to the B3 Bar (an outdoor food and beverage venue), and adjacency to local food trucks as well as local beer, wine and other distilled options from around Richmond;
  • a 16,000 square foot multi-dimensional spa, salon and health club offering a variety of curated wellness treatments, customizable therapies and massages, advanced skincare options, and wet and dry facilities;
  • a 45,000 square foot multi-use event space with 3,000 high-quality stadium seats, a permanent stage and a state-of-the-art sound system that will be available for headline entertainment, art exhibitions, large catered, community, MICE and sports events, and other performances;
  • 13 premier food and beverage venues, including a branded steakhouse, The Bally Sports Bar & Grill, and a rooftop bar overlooking the James River and downtown Richmond, as well as a commitment to incorporate local, VA-based food and beverage vendors to the property; and
  • a visitor center providing a full-range of services for guests seeking to access sites, museums, and other attractions throughout the city.
Papanier continued, "Bally's brings a wealth of experience to this project. We have deep roots in land-based, regional casinos, demonstrated by our national, multi-property portfolio. We are a premier omnichannel gaming company with complete online sports betting and online gaming capabilities. With a database comprised of 15 million players that offers unparalleled cross-marketing opportunities, we are uniquely-situated to successfully develop and operate the Bally's Richmond, and ensure future economic opportunity for the City of Richmond, its local businesses and its residents."

Local Partnerships

As part of this project, Bally's is partnering with the Lanier Family, who will take a minority ownership interest. The partnership with the Lanier Family reinforces Bally's commitment to involve and connect with the local Richmond community. The Lanier Family will assist Bally's in its community outreach programs as well as 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 aimed at serving underprivileged youth, as well as hosting an annual golf tournament that raises funds to invest in the education of children living in at-risk communities.

In addition, 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, as well as 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."

Supporting the Richmond Community

Bally's aims to play a significant role in the local communities in which it operates, seeking to ensure that it gives back to the businesses and residents who are vital to its success. To that end, a hallmark of the Bally's Richmond will be "Richmond Rewards" – a unique, interactive program that will incentivize players and guests to redeem the rewards they earn while playing at the Bally's Richmond at local retailers. Bally's has successfully implemented similar rewards programs in a number of cities across the U.S.

Working with the Lanier Family, Darrell Green and Warren Thompson, Bally's Richmond will solicit small businesses within the Richmond area to join this innovative program and will work with participating organizations to offer the best array of rewards. Players and guests will be able to view participating businesses and their products through a virtual store easily accessible from mobile devices. The "Richmond Rewards" program represents an innovative opportunity for the casino, its players and local, participating businesses.

Papanier continued, "We are thrilled to be partnering with the Lanier Family, Darrell Green and Warren Thompson, each of whom has deep and significant ties to the greater Richmond community. Through these partnerships, we will support, utilize and develop lasting relationships with local and minority-owned businesses. We also look forward to working with historically Black colleges and universities to provide education and training opportunities, internship programs and prospects for long-term employment."

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