Rush Street Gaming celebrated the grand opening of their $340 million Rivers Casino Portsmouth on Monday — making it the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first full-service permanent casino. The casino includes a BetRivers Sportsbook, the second retail sportsbook to open in the state.
Of course, Virginia sports betting has had mobile wagering options for about two years.
Ceremonial First Wagers at Retail Virginia Sportsbook
Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover, Senator L. Louise Lucas, and House Minority Leader Don Scott placed the ceremonial first wagers at the in-person BetRivers Sportsbook on Saturday, ahead of the casino's grand opening on Monday. The sportsbook features club seating, a bar, betting windows, 27 self-service kiosks, and multiple upsized high-definition screens for viewing events.
Ceremonial first wagers at BetRivers Sportsbook were placed on Jan. 21, the second anniversary of mobile sports wagering going live in Virginia. FanDuel was the first mobile sports wagering app to launch in 2021. BetRivers launched its mobile app in Virginia on Jan. 27, 2021. The new retail BetRivers Sportsbook in Portsmouth allows bettors to wager in person at the casino.
Bettors using Virginia sportsbook apps have certainly shown an appetite to get in on sports wagering action; total mobile sports betting handle has exceeded $4.4 billion in 2022 with December numbers pending.
“We’re excited to join such a vibrant community and to unveil this beautiful entertainment venue for all to enjoy,” said Tim Drehkoff, CEO of Rivers Casino Portsmouth and Rush Street Gaming. Drehkoff said the new location will be a strong economic engine for the region and predicts big watch parties in the future.
“Next year the biggest college bowl game watch party is going to be right here in the BetRivers Sportsbook, here at Rivers Casino Portsmouth,” Drehkoff said. “Since the Supreme Court approved legal sports betting in 2018, it's become a multi-billion dollar business. With this BetRivers Sportsbook, here at Rivers, now Hampton Roads can get in on some of that action. And, just in time for the NFL playoffs, the Super Bowl, and March Madness is right around the corner. This place is gonna be rocking for all those events.”
Politicians Speak About Portsmouth Casino
Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover thanked Rush Street Gaming.
“A lot of work went into this, but I assure you, it was the best possible scenario that we could hope for,” Glover said. “These folks under-promised and over-delivered. Portsmouth's future is as bright as we can make it.”
State House Minority Leader Don Scott chimed in regarding the casino.
“These people have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Portsmouth, Virginia,” Scott said. “They have made a bet on Portsmouth and we are going to win that bet. Don't believe the haters. Portsmouth is winning.”
Glover and Scott were joined by state Senator L. Louise Lucas at the betting windows to place the first bets at the new sportsbook on Saturday.
“Making this casino happen has been one of the biggest priorities of my life because I know this casino is going to change everything,” Lucas said. “It’s going to change Portsmouth for the better. It’s going to provide thousands of jobs, investment opportunities, and tourism across the commonwealth. Through the renew of this casino, we can take Portsmouth to a bold new direction. We can address all the needs that we had in the past.”
Rivers Casino Portsmouth GM Addresses Mission
Roy Corby, the General Manager of Rivers Casino Portsmouth, made the casino's mission clear.
“We’re here to serve the community, our guests, and our team members,” Corby said. “We’ll accomplish that mission by creating a stellar guest experience and becoming the entertainment destination of choice for Portsmouth, Hampton Roads, and visitors to our area.”
At the opening on Monday, Rivers Casino announced a donation to three local charity partners from proceeds during gaming floor test events on Jan. 19 and 21. Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters; USO Hampton Roads and Central Virginia; and Wesley Community Service Center each received $170,000 — representing a $510,000 total contribution from the casino.
The casino has 1,446 slot machines, 57 table games, 24 poker tables, and onsite dining and entertainment options. Admiral’s Steak & Seafood offer high-end dining; casual fare options include Crossings Cafe, Mian, Slice Pizzeria, Starbucks, and, opening later this year, Yard House.
Those wishing to stick with their phones, computers and other devices to place their bets can turn to BetVirginia for the best Virginia sports betting bonuses from online sportsbooks.
Virginia Casino Landscape
Five Virginia cities have been approved to build casinos. In the municipalities that cleared the way for those facilities by approving them at the ballot box, the casinos are in various stages of operations or construction.
The first brick-and-mortar casino in Virginia, the Hard Rock Bristol Casino, opened in July as a temporary facility. The full permanent casino is scheduled to open in May 2024. The state's first retail sportsbook was also opened at Bristol Casino.
Land-based casinos Caesars Virginia in Danville and HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk are under construction. A fifth casino is proposed in Petersburg after Richmond voted down the venue in 2021.
There are no Virginia online casinos available right now.
The new Rivers Casino Portsmouth is part of the city's new entertainment district. Rush Street Gaming operates casinos in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pa.; Des Plaines, Ill.; and Schenectady, N.Y.