Shovels are in the ground in Portsmouth for a $300 million casino construction project that will lead to 1,300 new permanent jobs in Virginia. The new Rivers Casino Portsmouth is expected to open in early 2023.
Rivers Casino Portsmouth was approved by voters in 2020, one of four such venues given the green light in a referendum. Earlier in that same year, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law authorizing casinos in Portsmouth, Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Richmond.
New Portsmouth, VA Casino: By The Numbers
Rush Street Gaming, a Chicago-based casino developer, is building the entertainment complex on a 50-acre site adjacent to Victory Boulevard in Portsmouth. The sprawling complex will include a casino, hotel, event center, several restaurants, an entertainment stage, and a sportsbook by BetRivers. Rush Street paid $10 million to the city of Portsmouth for the property.
The construction project is anticipated to create 1,400 construction jobs for the region. Virginia’s own S.B. Ballard Construction Co. is one of the primary general contractors. Others slated to work on the Rivers Casino Portsmouth include North Carolina-based Kimley-Horn, Klai Juba Wald Architecture + Interiors from Las Vegas, and Jeffrey Beers International of New York.
Industry experts expect the venue in Portsmouth to generate $16.3 million in tax revenue annually for Portsmouth. According to Rush Street, it will “pump more than $200 million into the local Portsmouth and Hampton Roads economy annually.”
For Rush Street Gaming, this will be their seventh casino resort, but its first located in Virginia. The company has developed similar venues in in Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania, all of them operated under the Rivers brand name.
Casinos and Sports Betting in Virginia
After the sports betting ban was lifted at the federal level in 2018, Virginia legalized sports betting in July of 2020. In January of 2021, sportsbooks were launched in the state.
Virginia was one of the last states to legalize casino gaming, which they did in 2019. The Virginia General Assembly approved five cities for possible casino locations, and the Virginia State Lottery was tasked with handling the licensing and regulation of casinos in the commonwealth.
The Portsmouth casino will be operated by Rush Street Gaming under the Rivers Casino brand name. Other casinos are tentatively planned for Norfolk (to be operated by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe), and the Bristol casino, which is expected to be operated under the Hard Rock Casino name by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Neither of those casino construction projects have begun.