Rivers Casino Portsmouth Acts After Being Criticized for Indoor Smoking

Rivers Casino Portsmouth has started receiving opinions about Virginia's only permanent casino. It has placed several signs inside which show nonsmoking bettors to a section of its gaming floor which is smoke-free. But, some people criticize the gaming site arguing that smoke lacks boundaries as it spreads to the rest of the gaming floor.

The casino launched several days ago as Virginia's first standalone casino. Yet, its opening fanfare didn't last for long as some nonsmokers started criticizing its smoking allowance. The Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act allows Rivers Casino to provide non-smoking and smoking parts on its gaming floor.

The 2009 regulation permits enterprises running gaming operations to allow smoking on their premises. At that time, the lawmakers offered off-track betting (OTBs) parlors and pari-mutuel racetracks a smoking carveout.

The Indoor Clean Air Act states that the use of indoor tobacco is allowed in any section of a property that has a casino gaming license. Even so, certain casino states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania restrict indoor smoking to a specific percentage of their gaming floor. Pennsylvania has a 50 percent limit while Atlantic City has a 25 percent limit.

Rivers Casino can allocate more or less of its gaming floor for smoking. Yet, its officials recently admitted that most of their clients dislike a smoke-filled atmosphere.

The gaming property had non-smoking and smoking regions when it launched. But, non-smokers claim that it is tricky to prevent smoke from reaching their gaming machines.

How Has Rivers Casino Responded to the Criticism?

The casino has had a lot of backlashes online of late as its social media accounts have many smoking complaints. Still, its Google reviews largely comprise negative feedback thus prompting the property to act.

A report from 13News Now shows that Rivers has installed many signs displaying where players can smoke and where it is illegal. Some smoking critics claim that only concerned players will keenly check the signs to trace non-smoking and smoking sections. Even so, others say that the signs won't solve the smoking challenge.

Chris Moyer from Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (ANR) stated that smoke doesn't follow the new signs hence making the whole casino a smoking floor. Rivers said that it initially had sophisticated ventilation systems which allowed fresh air in and filtered contaminated air. It is the only Rivers Portsmouth gaming property that allows smoking.

Rivers Casino's entertainment venue, bookie, and restaurants prohibit smoking. It has a 90,000 square feet floor that is occasionally covered with smoke.

The Property's Damage Control

Rivers Casino's first 160 reviews had an average rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars, which is "fair" according to Google's standards. Most of the reviews have mentioned smoking. Jacob Huggings complained on Google that he won't return to the casino since he doesn't want to develop a continental heart condition and post-Coronavirus asthma due to smoking.

Edward Riggle, a nonsmoking player with COPD said that most of the other leading commercial casinos ban open smoking in key gaming sections. Terry Gooding, a local gambler, claimed that he can travel north to bet.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.