Portsmouth casino to solicit minority ownership
Rush Street Gaming to offer 5% ownership to local, minority investor in proposed $300M casino
Portsmouth’s casino development partner, Rush Street Gaming, announced Thursday that it will offer 5% or $5 million ownership (whichever is greater) of the proposed $300 million Rivers Casino Portsmouth to a local minority-owned business or private investor who is a person of color.
“Rush Street has a track record of including minority participation in their developments,” Portsmouth Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chairman Ray A. Smith Sr. said in a statement. “In both the development agreement with the Portsmouth EDA and the Lottery Board pre-certification proposal, minority participation in ownership, contracting and employment was included in their plan. Rush Street Gaming is moving forward with the process in an open and transparent manner, ensuring the public trust, and I applaud them for that.”
Rush Street Gaming will work with Virginia Lottery regulators and the Portsmouth EDA on the minority ownership process. Public-sector employees, elected officials and their spouses, dependents and immediate family members will not be able to participate as investors or owners in order to avoid conflicts of interest.
“Creating opportunity for qualified, private-sector minority investors is paramount to building the community collaboration that’s been successful at other Rush Street casinos,” Jacob Oberman, Rush Street Gaming senior vice president of development, said in a statement. “This is another way we give meaning to our Portsmouth First policy — hiring, purchasing and owning.”
The casino, like others proposed in Danville, Bristol and Norfolk, will face local voters in a referendum on November’s ballots, after the General Assembly passed legislation allowing one commercial casino apiece in five cities, which also includes Richmond.
Rush Street Gaming received pre-certification from the Virginia Lottery Board to operate the proposed Portsmouth casino, and the Portsmouth City Council approved its bid. The 400,000-square-foot casino is set to include slot machines, table games and poker, as well as several restaurants, a hotel and conference space. There will also be a parking garage and surface parking available.
Hard Rock and Caesars Entertainment are planning resorts in Bristol and Danville respectively, and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe has received city approval for its casino in Norfolk and is bidding for a casino project in Richmond. Investors must put in at least $300 million into each project, according to state law. The casinos are anticipated to bring in more than $1 billion in annual total revenues.
The Portsmouth casino is planned for land along Interstate 264, and Rush Street Gaming will pay an additional $10 million to Portsmouth for acreage located on Victory Boulevard in Portsmouth. The Rush Street Project alone is anticipated to generate $16.3 million in annual tax revenue for Portsmouth and $260 million in annual regional GDP, according to city planners. The Portsmouth EDA anticipates that the casino will create 1,400 construction jobs, 2,000 permanent jobs and $62 million annually in wages, salaries and tips.
More information on the minority ownership of the Portsmouth casino will be available later. Interested parties can email [email protected].