Posted on: November 21, 2022, 11:53h. 

Last updated on: November 21, 2022, 12:33h.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth plans to make history in Virginia by opening the state’s first permanent casino on Jan. 15, 2023.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth Virginia gambling
Construction of Rivers Casino Portsmouth in Virginia’s Hampton Roads is nearing completion. The $340 million casino plans to open on Jan. 15, 2023, at 3 p.m. local time. (Image: The Virginian-Pilot)

Rivers Casino Portsmouth is a $340 million undertaking from Rush Street Gaming, a Chicago-based gaming operator that runs casinos in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, and soon Virginia.

The Virginia Lottery Board last week issued Rivers Portsmouth its operating license. The issuance cleared the way for the forthcoming casino resort to open near Tidewater Community College’s Portsmouth Campus just south of I-264 between Missy Elliott and Victory boulevards.

Rush Street confirmed Monday morning that Rivers Portsmouth will hold its grand opening on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, at 3 p.m EST.

First to Market

Virginia lawmakers and then-Gov. Ralph Northam (D) legalized commercial gambling in 2020, but only in five designated cities. The gaming bill was designed to assist economically deficient cities by allowing them to authorize a single casino resort to spur job creation, regional economic activity, and create a new tax benefit.

Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville, and Bristol were the five qualifying cities. Four of the designated locations subsequently gained local approval from voters through ballot referendums. Only Richmond voters opted to forego the gaming privilege.

Virginia’s gaming bill allowed each approved casino to open a temporary casino during the construction of the permanent resort. Hard Rock opened its temporary gaming space this past July. Temporary casinos are also in the plans in Norfolk and Danville.

Rivers chose to bypass constructing a temporary casino in favor of focusing its efforts on the permanent resort. Rush Street broke ground on Rivers Casino Portsmouth in December 2021. Less than a year later, the property is nearing completion and will open its doors in just 55 days.

Property Specifics

Rivers Casino Portsmouth will become Virginia’s first permanent casino to welcome guests in the state’s history.

Hard Rock Bristol, a $400 million project, is targeting a summer 2024 opening. HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk, a $500 million build from the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and billionaire Jon Yarbrough, also won’t open before 2024. Caesars Entertainment’s $650 million investment in Danville isn’t expected to be ready before 2024, either.

But come January, Rivers Casino Portsmouth will greet patrons with 1,448 slot machines, 57 table games, and a 24-table poker room. The resort will feature 10 restaurants and bars, plus a 25,000-square-foot convention center that will be customizable for an array of events and entertainment.

In the coming weeks, we’ll remain laser-focused on continued hiring and training efforts — ensuring our team is ready to deliver a first-rate customer experience when our doors open in January,” said Rivers Casino Portsmouth General Manager Roy Corby.

Rivers says its Portsmouth workforce will total approximately 1,300 team members for the January 2023 opening. Rivers won’t open with an on-site hotel. But Rush says one could be added at a later time.

The Hampton Roads area is already home to numerous hotels. And with Rivers Casino Portsmouth’s close proximity to the Tidewater campus, lodging shouldn’t be an issue for casino guests looking to stay overnight.

Numerous hotels are within five miles of Rivers Casino Portsmouth, including a Hampton Inn, Day’s Inn, Renaissance, Candlewood Suites, and Quality Inn.