The opening of Rivers Casino in Portsmouth, Virginia, will be delayed eight days. The planned opening was this coming Sunday, but the location needs more time to test and verify gaming equipment, it was announced this week. As a result, the grand opening is now set for Jan. 23.
Rivers Casino will be the first Virginia casino operating out of its permanent location. Hard Rock in Bristol is currently operating out of a temporary location.
“Our intention is to be the entertainment destination of choice for Hampton Roads, and we’ll settle for nothing less,” Rivers Casino Portsmouth’s press release said. “We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to welcoming our guests very soon.”
BREAKING: Rivers Casino Portsmouth’s grand opening has been delayed until Jan. 23, eight days after its initially scheduled opening.https://t.co/5GT2Z4WI7V
— Virginia Business (@VirginiaBiz) January 10, 2023
The expected casino experience
Roy Corby, the general manager at Rivers Casino Portsmouth, expects a fun-filled day when the casino reaches its opening day.
“Following a grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, we will open our doors to guests who will be able to experience 1,448 slot machines, 57 table games, and 24 poker tables on our gaming floor; in addition to five restaurants and five bars,” Corby told US Bets via email. “We have a few surprises planned, but guests should expect a high energy, celebratory afternoon and evening — full of excitement and fun.”
The location will include a BetRivers Sportsbook, which features a standard retail sports betting experience. Customers can enjoy watching sporting events on multiple TVs, and there will be ticket windows as well as 27 self-service kiosks to place wagers.
Virginia restricts wagering on in-state college athletic teams, so customers can’t bet on the Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, or the Old Dominion Monarchs, but the sportsbook still plans to offer a quality viewing experience for major matchups involving those teams. A delayed grand opening means the sportsbook will miss out on early NFL playoff action, but the sportsbook will open ahead of this year’s Super Bowl.
WAVY TV 10 recently reported on the casino’s plans for safety protocols, given what the news outlet describes as a “recent spike in crime in Portsmouth.” Portsmouth’s mayor told the news station that there will be a number of safety protocols in place, including bag checks and safety lighting. Additionally, customers who win a significant amount of money can be escorted to their vehicles to leave the property safely.
Local community impact
Corby is particularly proud of the casino’s impact on the local community, especially from a job growth perspective.
“We’ve kept approximately 1,400 construction workers employed and we’ve committed to creating 1,300 new and permanent family-sustaining jobs for the Hampton Roads region,” Corby said. “Approximately 1,000 of those jobs have been filled. The estimated annual payroll will be $62 million, and Rivers Casino Portsmouth will generate an estimated $16.3 million in new annual tax revenue for the City of Portsmouth.”
Even with a slight delay in the grand opening of the casino, Rivers Casino Portsmouth will still make history this month when it becomes the first Virginia casino to open its permanent location. Corby is eager for that moment to arrive, and there’s certainly intrigue in the area about the casino’s potential impact.
“We are excited to have Rivers Casino Portsmouth etched in this piece of history and look forward to setting the standard of excellence for Virginia’s up-and-coming casino industry,” Corby said.