Va. Lottery Board advances Portsmouth casino
Pre-certification of Rush Street Gaming casino necessary for Nov. local gaming referendum
The city of Portsmouth announced Wednesday that its preferred casino gaming partner, Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, has been pre-certified by the Virginia Lottery Board to operate a Virginia casino.
The pre-certification is necessary to move forward with a local gaming referendum in November.
“We are grateful for the Lottery Board’s diligence on this matter and for Virginia’s openness to a long-term partnership with our organization,” Jacob Oberman, Rush Street Gaming senior vice president of development, said in a statement. “Moving forward with the referendum is a positive step for Portsmouth and for the commonwealth. We’re excited to bring new jobs, opportunities for local businesses and increased tax revenue to benefit the entire community.”
Legislation passed by the General Assembly allowing five economically challenged cities to host one commercial casino each became legal on July 1. Hard Rock and Caesars Entertainment are planning resorts in Bristol and Danville, and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe has received city approval for its casino in Norfolk and is bidding in Richmond. Investors must put in at least $300 million, which Rush Street Gaming expects to do. The casinos are anticipated to bring in more than $1 billion in total revenue to the state.
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. The Portsmouth Economic Development anticipates that the casino will create 1,400 construction jobs, 2,000 permanent jobs — and $62 million annually in wages, salaries and tips.
The Portsmouth City Council will vote on the casino gaming referendum during its virtual July 16 meeting. The casino would be located along Interstate 264 in what will be deemed as the Entertainment District in Portsmouth. The entire project is expected to include a casino, an entertainment venue, restaurants and a sportsbook.
“Pre-certification by the Virginia Lottery Board is a vote of confidence by the commonwealth’s experts on our choice of preferred partner, and we could not be more excited for the Rush Street team to begin their work getting to know Portsmouth voters,” Portsmouth Economic Development Director Robert D. Moore said in a statement. “It is important for the citizens of Portsmouth to be involved in the process as we head towards November, and that they understand the full scope of the Entertainment District.
“We are ready for this next step.”