After a series of different uses, Sandman Comedy Club at 401 E. Grace St. in Virginia is being prepared for transformation into a Sandman Casino Bar. As reported, Michael Sands intends to have a former downtown bank building that hosted a night club, brewery, and comedy club converted into a mini-casino.
Planning Venue Conversion:
According to Richmond BizSense, Sands plan to install eight Texas hold’em poker tables to be able to host charity poker tournaments. The plan also includes five pool tables, a few dart boards, as well as the Queen of Virginia and keno machines to be operated in the 6,000-square-foot space that hosted the last comedy show on June 25. However, the level of revenues was reportedly simply too low.
Comedy Club Brought Low Profit:
As the same source reports, Sands said that ”having a comedy club is like having a one-screen movie theater in a small town.” The visits were reportedly too low to provide the projected revenues, while the costs were too high to secure profitable operations. Sands reportedly said that the $20 to $25 charges were not enough to make the comedy club running.
“The cost of the comedians has gone up. Their prices are unreasonably high right now because they’re trying to make up for money they lost during COVID. And I get it, they lost money then, but so did we,” Sands reportedly said. “What you end up being is a restaurant/bar that uses comedy to bring people in, which is fine, if they’re coming in. But if not, you’re spending a lot of money to bring people in.”
Seeking Conversion Options:
According to Richmond BizSense, these were the reasons for Sands to consider the property conversion into a gaming facility. He is now reportedly seeking to use charitable gaming option to legally host poker tournaments in the venue. Charitable gaming is reportedly regulated by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), which allows non-profit organizations to operate poker and bingo tournaments for fund-raising purposes. As reported, Sands is currently discussing partnerships with local charities to start the new venture.
Awaiting Regulator’s Approval:
Regardless of the reported changes regarding the charitable gaming regulations, Sands expects that he will be allowed to host poker tournaments in Sandman Casino Bar, according to the source, since there are other similar casinos legally operating in the state. He reportedly said: “The state opened Pandora’s box to allow (Las) Vegas-style casinos to come into the state. Once you do that, it’s hard to tell me that I can’t have legal gambling in my facility.”
Richmond BizSense reports that Sands is planning to start with the comedy club conversion into a mini-casino in the following weeks to launch the gaming facility already in August 2023. In the meantime, Sands impatiently awaits the regulator’s approval to start rolling the dice.