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Virginia Lottery Board approves Rivers Casino Portsmouth's operator license


The Virginia Lottery Board has unanimously approved Rivers Casino Portsmouth’s operator license. It is the second one issued in the state, as the first one was awarded in April to Bristol’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which opened as a temporary property in July

The $300 million project is slated to become fully operational by early 2023. The casino will have 1,448 slots, 57 table games, 24 poker tables, five restaurants/bars and banquet and event space.  

Rivers Casino Portsmouth rendering (interior).

Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kelly T. Gee said in a statement that the lottery’s gaming compliance department and legal counsel assisted in the decision by conducting investigations and background checks on the applicants. 

“The lottery works with all casino applicants, their vendors and employees to make sure all aspects of the operation are in strict compliance with Virginia law,” he added. 

Casino owner Rush Street Gaming plans to hire 1,300 permanent employees for the property. So far, it has made 800 offers of employment and continuous offers are going out, as stated by casino representatives before the lottery board. 

Rivers Casino Portsmouth started construction in December 2021, with Virginia Beach-based S.B. Ballard Construction Co. and Philadelphia-based Yates Construction as general contractors. 

As reported by Virginia Business, General Manager Roy Corby stated Rivers Casino Portsmouth avoided supply chain issues and inflation-related cost increases by securing materials in advance.

“It’s amazing how much further we get every day. We are fully on track to open in early 2023 and I’m very confident we won’t have any delays,” Corby told 13 News Now. The Virginia Lottery Board approved the application in a unanimous 7-0 vote.

Our Rivers Casino Portsmouth team is grateful to the Virginia Lottery Board for their thoughtful and thorough consideration. We look forward to sharing the timing and details of our early 2023 grand opening with the Hampton Roads community very soon,” he added. 

The casino opened a 2,317-square-foot office in a coworking space on High Street in Olde Towne in July to house multiple administrative departments and assist with recruitment. 

Roy Corby.

Board Chairman Ferhan Hamid said in a statement that the gaming landscape in Virginia continues to evolve and that the Lottery Board is “committed to ensuring that casinos in the commonwealth are operated responsibly, fairly and with the utmost integrity.”

“Virginians will choose to visit these facilities, all of our citizens need to be confident that they are regulated with the very highest standards,” he added.

The Virginia Lottery is still reviewing the applications to license two other proposed casinos in the state, including Norfolk and Danville. 

Earlier this month, Caesars Entertainment announced it is eyeing the opening of a temporary Danville, Virginia casino in mid-2023. The opening would come more than a year before the debut of the permanent $650 million Caesars Virginia resort. 

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