On Nov. 3, 2020, Portsmouth voters formally approved a ballot initiative to bring the Rivers Portsmouth Casino Resort to the city.
In fact, it will be the second casino-resort in the Hampton Roads area now that Norfolk voters have also approved a casino referendum. The Portsmouth casino and the Norfolk casino will be located just eight miles apart and separated by the Elizabeth River.
Well before Election Day, the City of Portsmouth announced Rush Street Gaming as its preferred casino partner on the project.
After June 1: Portsmouth officials must submit their preferred casino partner information to the Virginia Lottery for an initial review
August 2020: Deadline to order a referendum for November’s General Election
Nov. 3, 2020: General Election
Early December 2020: Norfolk Casino Resort election results certified by the Secretary of State
April 2021: Rush Street Gaming officials can apply for its casino operator license
Late 2021: Groundbreaking on Rivers Portsmouth Casino Resort
Sometime in 2023: Targeted opening of Rivers Portsmouth Casino Resort
The Rivers Portsmouth Casino Resort will be located at Victory Boulevard and Cavalier Boulevard just off Interstate 264.
Rush Street agreed to pay the city at least $10 million to acquire the land and by law will be required to invest a minimum of $300 million into the project.
The Rivers Portsmouth Casino Resort will include:
Portsmouth City Officials cite Rush Street Gaming’s commitment to the communities they operate in as one of the main reasons for selecting the company as its casino partner.
Rush Street anticipates generating 1,400 construction jobs during the initial phase of the project. When the casino is ready for business, 1,300 permanent jobs.
Rush Street officials expect the casino to generate approximately $16 million annually in new tax revenue for Portsmouth. They also expect the resort could account for nearly an additional $200 million pumped annually into the Portsmouth region.
Besides jobs, Rush Street will bring its community engagement program, Rivers Gives, to Portsmouth. The program supports local employees who give to area nonprofits. It is just one way the company integrates into the communities it serves.
Rush Street also operates casinos in Pennsylvania, Illinois and New York.
Just across the Elizabeth River from Portsmouth lies another casino host city: Norfolk.
The City of Norfolk selected the Pamunkey Indian Tribe as its preferred casino partner. The Pamunkey Casino Resort Norfolk is a $500 million project. It will include a 300-room hotel, entertainment venue, and all the amenities one would expect in a luxurious casino resort property.
Officials from both projects have long maintained that there’s room for casinos in both Portsmouth and Norfolk.
The Hampton Roads region will be the only area in Virginia that will have two casinos within such close proximity.
The Rivers Portsmouth Casino Resort project referendum was on the Nov. 3, 2020, General Election ballot. The referendum easily passed by a 67 to 33 margin, and a new Portsmouth casino will now become a reality.
The company has not released an official completion timeline. However, with the successful voter referendum, the Rivers Portsmouth Casino Resort will likely break ground in 2021, and it’ll likely open sometime in 2023.
Portsmouth Casino will undoubtedly carry many of the same casino games found at other Rush Street Properties, including the most popular ones. There will likely be plenty of slot machines, a variety of table games and a poker room on site.
Rush Street Gaming is known for its sports betting app, BetRivers. It is probable the casino in Portsmouth will include a sportsbook.