VA Casino Revenue Hits $38.39M in Portsmouth’s First Full Month

VA Casino Revenue Hits $38.39M in Portsmouth’s First Full Month
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The Virginia Lottery released its monthly report on casino gaming for the month of February on Wednesday and it showed adjusted gross revenue (AGR) rising 70.8% from January at two brick-and-mortar locations operating in the state. The report shows revenue numbers from Hard Rock’s Bristol Casino and Rivers Casino Portsmouth.

The large jump in AGR is largely because February was the first full month of operations for Rivers Casino Portsmouth, which opened on Jan. 23. Bristol Casino opened on July 8, 2023.

Combined gaming revenue from Bristol Casino and Rivers Casino totaled nearly $38.4 million in February ($38,393,377, to be exact), up 70.8% from January’s $22.5 million.

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Two Casinos, Many VA Sportsbooks

At this point, those are the only two brick-and-mortar casinos open in a state that also offers a multitude of online Virginia betting apps.

Virginia law assesses a graduated tax on a casino’s AGR, or wagers minus winnings, and nearly $7 million in taxes were paid to the Gaming Proceeds Fund from February’s combined AGR. The $6,910,808 collected in taxes for February is up 128% from January’s $3.03 million.

The report shows 2,310 slot machines were operational in February between Bristol and Portsmouth. Those machines generated $28.3 million in AGR, up 56.6% from the $18 million in the Virginia January casino revenue report.

Other Gaming Options in Virginia

In comparison, Virginia also has 2,607 Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines running in the state. Very similar in appearance to a casino slot machine, HHR machines are located at six Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums in the commonwealth (New Kent, Hampton, Richmond, Vinton, Dumfries, and Collinsville). In total, these machines handled $351 million in bets during January before paying out winnings and taxes.

Casino table games, like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat, generated $10 million in February, up 129.6% from January ($4,385,806).

Hard Rock Bristol Casino Analysis

Focusing on individual casino performance, Hard Rock Bristol recorded an adjusted gross revenue of $13,731,776 in February, up 2.21% from January ($13,434,546), according to the Virginia Lottery. Slots provided $11,194,941 in AGR, up 5.25% from January ($10,636,785).

Bristol table games AGR declined in February, down 9.3% at $2,536,835 in February from January’s total of about $2.8 million.

The Hard Rock Bristol Casino paid $2.47 million in taxes for February, up 76% from January ($1.4 million). The Virginia Lottery noted in last month’s report that Hard Rock Bristol’s tax total for January was adjusted to reflect a credit for tax overpayments on gaming revenues from July to December 2022.

The casino has a retail Hard Rock Sportsbook and online/mobile app available in Virginia.

The Virginia Lottery Board approved the casino license for Hard Rock Bristol in April 2022 at the site of the former Bristol Mall. The board then approved the casino license for Rivers Casino Portsmouth in November 2022.

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First Full Month For Rivers Casino Portsmouth

Rivers Casino Portsmouth recorded an AGR of $24,661.601 in February, up 173% from January ($9,039,290). Slot machines provided $17,130,083 in AGR, up 130% from January ($7,451,245).

Table games AGR for February came in at $7,531,518, up 374% from January ($1,588,045).

Rivers Casino paid $4.44 million in taxes for February, up 173% from January ($1.63 million).

Taxes paid are distributed to the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, the Family and Children’s Trust Fund, and the host locality. For the Bristol casino, the statute specifies the portion of taxes reserved for the host locality goes to the Regional Improvement Commission.

The casino has a retail Virginia BetRivers Sportsbook and an online/mobile app.

Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

Five Casinos Planned For Virginia

Five Virginia cities have been approved to build casinos: Bristol, Portsmouth, Danville, Norfolk, and Richmond.

Caesars Virginia in Danville plans to open a temporary casino in July this year. The facility will grow into a permanent casino scheduled to open in 2024.

Norfolk's HeadWaters Resort & Casino is planning to open a temporary facility sometime this year that will expand into a permanent casino later.

Richmond tried to get a casino approved during a referendum in 2021 but was voted down. The city hopes to hold a second referendum this year.

Virginia Sports Betting Remains Strong

In terms of revenue, the state’s retail casino industry is no match for the Virginia sports betting market. The Old Dominion currently hosts 15 sports betting operators that combined to handle over $5 billion in bets in 2022 alone.

Virginia and VCU are playing in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this week, which will be a big boost to the state's sportsbooks because March Madness is the biggest multi-day betting event in America each year.

The Cavaliers – who carry +5000 odds at Caesars VA Sportsbook to win their second title in a five-year span – are the No. 4 seed in the South Region and face No. 13 seed Furman on Thursday (12:40 p.m. Eastern, TruTV).  The Rams, surprise Final Four participants in 2011 and Atlantic 10 champions this season, are the No. 12 seed in the West Region and square off with No. 5 Saint Mary’s on Friday (2 p.m., TBS).

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Keith Stein is a Virginia-based writer for who covers sports betting and casinos.

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