Construction on Portsmouth Casino is Underway

By this time next year, residents of Portsmouth, VA will be preparing for the opening of a new local casino. Rivers Casino Portsmouth broke ground last month and the construction has been going as scheduled so far. If all things continue as planned, the new casino will be opening early next year.

The new $300 million casino is being built by Rush Street Gaming. When it opens, the property will offer guests many exciting entertainment options. The venue will spread 57 acres and include a casino and 4-star hotel. Guests will also be able to attend events at the entertainment facility onsite that will hold up to 3,000 people.

In addition to the normal casino games, bettors will also have access to sports betting options. The new casino will offer sports betting through a BetRivers retail sportsbook.

On top of the wide range of gambling options, guests will also have access to multiple bars and restaurants throughout the casino and hotel. Local officials are also hopeful that the new casino will bring with it new economic opportunities. The new Portsmouth casino is expected to bring approximately $16.3 million in tax revenue.

Benefits for Portsmouth

The long-term tax revenue is not the only benefit proponents of the new casino are hoping for. Local officials are also hopeful that the new Rivers Casino and Hotel will create plenty of jobs. New employment opportunities would help the community recover from the ongoing pandemic.

It is estimated that the construction of the hotel and casino will create approximately 1,400 construction jobs. The list of contractors employed on the project includes S.B. Ballard Construction Co., a local construction company in Virginia. Other firms based out of Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, and elsewhere are also employed on the project.

Once the new casino resort is complete, the long-term impact should also benefit the commonwealth. The casino and hotel are expected to employ a total of 1,300 full-time employees. In addition to creating new jobs, the casino and hotel will also provide a new tourist attraction for the area.

In total, Rush Street Gaming has stated that they believe that the new casino hotel will generate massive income for the local economy. By their estimates, the impact will upwards of $200 million annually. That influx into the local economy will be welcomed as the commonwealth continues to try to rebuild its economy post-pandemic.

Virginia Gambling Laws

The new Rivers Casino and Hotel in Portsmouth is not the only casino planning to open its doors in the coming years. Virginia voters approved a total of four casinos in 2020. However, the casino in Portsmouth is the first to begin construction. Being able to open its doors first will give the Rush Street Gaming project a jump on the competition.

If the Portsmouth casino is the first of the new casinos to open, it will also be the first legal casino in the state. Virginia did not legalize casino gambling until 2019. However, the casino will not be without competition for bettors.

As of now, the state does allow for skill gaming machines. Citizens of the commonwealth can also access online sports betting sites. Voters legalized sports betting in July of 2020, and the first sportsbooks launched last year.

Currently, the Virginia State Lottery is tasked with overseeing the registration and licensing throughout the commonwealth. However, with the legality of some forms of gambling in question, the state could create a new department to oversee the practice. Lawmakers throughout the state have been pushing for casino legislation. It is unlikely they would create new laws that would negatively impact the industry in the coming years.

What is Rush Street Gaming?

Rush Street Gaming is one of the leading casino developers in the US. The company was started in Chicago in the mid-1990s by Neil Bluhm and Greg Carlin. Bluhm was a real-estate developer and Carlin was a successful investment banker. The company is named after the storied road in Chicago. In recent years, Rush Street Gaming has been expanding its business into other states.

Currently, the casino developer has a total of six casinos already operating. The new construction in Virginia will their seventh. Rush Street Gaming has also built casinos in their home state of Illinois, as well as Pennsylvania and New York. Bluhm and Carlin also worked together to build the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls.

Much of the company’s expansion has come in the last half-decade. As more states begin to pass gambling-friendly legislation, companies such as Rush Street Gaming look to take advantage. To date, the company boasts that they have created over 9,000+ jobs. In addition to site-based casinos, the company is also involved in hotels, restaurants, television production, and internet gaming.


The wait for a legal casino-style betting option may soon be over for Virginia residents. Construction on the Portsmouth Rivers Casino is officially underway and will stretch over 57 acres. The casino is set to open in early 2023. In total, the project has a $300 million price tag. Rush Street Gaming, a Chicago-based casino development company, was hired to build the casino.

Portsmouth Rivers Casino is the first of four casino projects to break ground in the commonwealth. In total, the project is estimated to create a total of 1,400 construction jobs. Once the doors open on the casino and hotel, a total of 1,300 full-time employees will be needed to run it.

Local officials estimate the casino will create $16.3 million annually in tax revenue. Rush Street Gaming estimates the casino will generate $200 million per year for the Portsmouth economy.

The facility itself will also create a new destination for locals and tourists alike. In addition to the casino and hotel, it will also feature a 3,000-person entertainment site. A partnership with BetRivers retail sportsbook will allow guests to access sports betting options on site. Several restaurants and bars are also planned for the property. When it opens next year, the casino and entertainment complex will be the first, but not the last, of its kind in Virginia.