Lottery Board approves license for Portsmouth casino
Second license awarded in Virginia
The Virginia Lottery Board unanimously approved the casino facility operator’s license for the Rivers Casino Portsmouth Wednesday.
It was the second casino operator’s license issued in the state; the first was awarded in April to Bristol’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which opened a temporary casino in July. Two more proposed casinos are in the pipeline in Danville and Norfolk.
“The lottery’s gaming compliance department and legal counsel assisted in today’s decision by conducting investigations and background checks on the applicants,” Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kelly T. Gee said in a statement. “The lottery works with all casino applicants, their vendors and employees to make sure all aspects of the operation are in strict compliance with Virginia law.”
Rivers Casino Portsmouth plans to open its $340 million casino in early 2023 at the intersection of Victory and Cavalier boulevards, off Interstate 264. The casino will have 1,448 slots, 57 table games, 24 poker tables, five restaurants/bars and banquet and event space. The first dealer academy graduated 147 newly-certified dealers and another 347 are enrolled to date. Of the hires made so far, more than 50% are minorities.
Rush Street Gaming, the casino’s owner, plans to hire 1,300 permanent employees. So far, it has made 800 offers of employment and continuous offers are going out, casino representatives told the lottery board.
Rivers Casino Portsmouth started construction in December 2021, with Virginia Beach-based S.B. Ballard Construction Co. and Philadelphia-based Yates Construction as general contractors. Rivers Casino Portsmouth avoided supply chain issues and inflation-related cost increases by securing materials in advance, General Manager Roy Corby told Virginia Business this summer.
“Our Rivers Casino Portsmouth team is grateful to the Virginia Lottery Board for their thoughtful and thorough consideration,” Corby said in a statement Wednesday. “We look forward to sharing the timing and details of our early 2023 grand opening with the Hampton Roads community very soon.”
In July, the casino opened a 2,317-square-foot office in a coworking space on High Street in Olde Towne to house multiple administrative departments and assist with recruitment.
“The gaming landscape in Virginia continues to evolve and the Lottery Board is committed to ensuring that casinos in the commonwealth are operated responsibly, fairly and with the utmost integrity,” Board Chairman Ferhan Hamid said in a statement. “While not all Virginians will choose to visit these facilities, all of our citizens need to be confident that they are regulated with the very highest standards.”