Rivers Portsmouth Gets a Casino License from Virginia Lottery

Rivers Portsmouth has eyed Virginia's gaming market for a long time. Yet, the Virginia Lottery recently gave it a casino license. It revealed this last week after Rivers Portsmouth's presentation to it in a board meeting.

Virginia Lottery's board approved Rivers' casino license application in a 7-0 unanimous vote. Ferhan Hamid, the board's chairman, stated that Virginia's gaming industry is gradually evolving, and its Lottery Board is determined to ensure that each casino in the state runs fairly and responsibly. Also, they should uphold integrity among their workers.

Even so, some Virginians don't like playing at local casinos. So, citizens need assurance that the Virginia Lottery regulates each casino's operations with high standards.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth is the second operator in Virginia to get a casino license after Hard Rock Bristol, which received its approval several months ago. It later launched a temporary casino after a few months. Even so, Rivers Portsmouth is under construction now.

Rivers Portsmouth Will Revamp the Economy

The Portsmouth casino's construction kicked off this year. The gaming operator predicts that it will cost over $300 million, and it plans to open the casino in early 2023.

The construction project will offer benefits such as:

  • Over 1,300 permanent jobs
  • Contribute more than $200 million to the local community
  • Over 1,400 building-related jobs

Forecasts state that the City of Portsmouth will earn over $16 million per year in taxes from the casino once it starts operating. Also, it didn't offer the casino any tax incentives. Besides, Rivers Portsmouth paid $10 million to the city for the site where it is constructing the casino.

The gaming operator appears to have avoided receiving money from the city. For instance, cities like Illinois and Aurora have community pushback campaigns for providing casinos with city money for their projects.

The Portsmouth casino will be the operator's fifth full-service casino. It has other casinos in Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. Moreover, the gaming company has a gaming site on Niagara Falls Ontario side.

Virginia Increases Its Licensed Casinos

The Virginia Lottery declared in April 2022 that it had granted Hard Rock Bristol its first casino license. The gaming operator later opened its temporary casino in July with a bookie, 21 table games, over 800 slots, and 30,000 square feet of gaming space.

Rivers Portsmouth will be Virginia's first full-service casino, even though Hard Rock runs a temporary casino. Hard Rock intends to launch its Bristol casino in the 2024 summer, over a year after the Portsmouth casino starts operating.

Virginia's Casino Industry's Likely Performance in 2023

Virginians approved four casinos in Danville, Bristol, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. Bristol and Portsmouth will launch their permanent casinos soon, while HeadWaters Resort & Casino is anticipating a gaming license to kick off its construction project.

The casino plans to develop a $500 million waterfront gaming venue with an over 300 rooms hotel, 150 table games, and 3,000 slot machines. Caesars Virginia Casino's construction in Danville is ongoing.

It will cost $650 million and end in late 2024. Still, Caesars wants to launch a temporary casino by June 2023.


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.