Portsmouth, VA Offers First Detailed Look at Proposed Rivers Casino

The Virginia City of Portsmouth and its preferred casino operator, Rush Street Gaming, released this week the first renderings of a proposed $300 million casino, hotel, and conference complex.

The resort will be called Rivers Casino Portsmouth and will be located at Victory Boulevard, south of Interstate 264.

The proposed gambling venue was one of four similar projects that were pre-certified by the Virginia Lottery Board earlier this month. The other three were plans for casinos in Bristol, Danville, and Norfolk.

The Portsmouth casino plan (along with the other three) obtained its pre-certification following a preliminary review by the state Lottery Board. Securing pre-certification is a required step before each of the above-mentioned cities could ask a Circuit Court for permission to put a casino question before city voters on the November 3 ballot.

The City Councils in Bristol and Danville have already passed resolutions asking Circuit Courts to let them hold citywide casino referendums.

The Portsmouth Project

As mentioned earlier, the Portsmouth City Council has partnered Rush Street Gaming to build and operate the cityโ€™s first Las Vegas-style casino complex. First renderings show a modern, glass-faced resort with a big digital sign across the casinoโ€™s facade.

The entire complex will spread over a 400,000-square-foot site. The casino floor will feature slot machines, table games, and poker tables. The complex will also include multiple dining outlets, a hotel tower, an entertainment venue, as well as garage and lot parking.

Rush Street will build its resort in several phases starting with the casino and entertainment facility portion of its $300-million project. The entire scheme is expected to generate about 1,400 construction jobs and more than 1,300 permanent jobs.

Commenting on the recently released renderings, Malcom Mitchell, Vice Chair of Portsmouthโ€™s Economic Development Authority, said in a joint release from the city and Rush Street that the images show โ€œa sense of the aesthetics and energy thatโ€™s consistent with where Portsmouth is headedโ€ and that other Rivers Casinos around the nation, including New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, โ€œwere each constructed on underutilized land โ€“ and today those casinos are surrounded by restaurants, theaters, stadiums, and other development activity.โ€

Casino Developer Contributes Money to โ€œVote Yesโ€ Campaign

To educate Portsmouth residents about the benefits of the proposed casino and encourage them to vote yes in the November 3 ballot, Rush Street has helped launch the Vote Yes Portsmouth referendum committee.

It became known that City Mayor John Rowe was the first to donate money to the Vote Yes campaign shortly after its launch in June. The Mayor contributed $125 to the initiative.

According to campaign finance reports, Rush Street has itself donated $100,000 to the campaign. As mentioned earlier, the company plans to invest at least $300 million into building its Portsmouth casino, if voters approve the scheme this coming fall.

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