Officials at Rivers Casino Portsmouth Give Progress Report on Construction

Officials at Rivers Casino Portsmouth Give Progress Report on Construction

By Keith Stein

Fact Checked by Ron Fritz

Rivers Casino Portsmouth officials announced Tuesday they have completed the steel framing for their new gaming and entertainment complex in Virginia that is scheduled to open in early 2023.

Located on Victory Boulevard in Portsmouth, the facility is one of four casinos under construction in the commonwealth. A BetRivers Sportsbook for Virginia sports betting is part of the Rivers Casino project. 

Five casinos are permitted under Virginia's state gaming laws. A fifth casino in Richmond will be voted on a second time during the November elections. 

At a ceremony Tuesday, a Rivers-yellow steel beam — signed by the Ballard-Yates construction teams, Rivers Casino Portsmouth leadership and local officials — was raised against the backdrop of celebratory music and hoisted into place.

“The beam marks a significant construction milestone for the property since its groundbreaking in December,” Rush Street Gaming said in a news release Tuesday. Rush Street Gaming is the Chicago-based developer and gaming operator of the upcoming $300 million-plus Portsmouth casino.

“We began moving dirt and setting the stage less than a year ago, and we are making great progress,” Justin Ballard of S.B. Ballard Construction Co. said in the release. S.B. Ballard was selected in February 2021 as the general contractor to build the casino. “Despite supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, we are still on track to complete this project early 2023.”

The brief beam-raising ceremony featured remarks from Sen. L. Louise Lucas; Mayor Shannon Glover (Portsmouth); Roy Corby, general manager, Rivers Casino Portsmouth; and Ballard. After the ceremonial beam was bolted into place, Rush Street Gaming hosted an appreciation lunch for the entire construction crew.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth Details

In addition to the BetRivers Virginia sportsbook, the $300 million-plus project will feature a casino, restaurants, a live entertainment lounge, hotel and event center. It will bring 1,300 new permanent jobs and approximately 1,400 construction jobs to the area. 

Rivers Casino Portsmouth recently announced a series of five job fairs, one per month over the next five months, beginning May 12 at Tidewater Community College’s Portsmouth Campus. The first job fair will focus on table games and dealer school training. “We make steady progress toward opening,” Corby said.

Danville Virginia Casino Delay

In the meantime, some 189 miles to the west in Danville, Caesars Entertainment, Inc., announced last week it is delaying the opening of the $500-million Caesars Virginia casino because of material cost, labor shortages and challenges found at the construction site. 

During a public meeting with the Danville City Council, Robert Livingston, senior vice president of development for Caesars Entertainment, told members, “We have seen, just like everybody else in the United States, we've seen supply chain issues and other market forces that continue to wreak havoc on pricing. 

“Considered altogether these factors make the December 1, 2023, anticipated opening day we all wanted is gonna be an unrealistic goal. It's not gonna happen. We remain confident that this project will open its door in 2024. We will share a revised target opening as soon as we feel like we have the confidence to make that prediction.”

Hard Rock Bristol to Open in July

The Virginia Lottery Board issued a “facility operator’s license” to Hard Rock Bristol last month that will open the doors to Virginia's first casino. Hard Rock is scheduled to open a temporary facility in Bristol on July 8. 

The permanent casino, to come later, will include seven restaurants and four bars, a 3,200-seat Hard Rock Live venue, a 20,000-person outdoor entertainment venue, a country western nightlife experience and a Hard Rock Cafe. The project will cost more than $300 million.

Headwaters Resort & Casino Temporary Site

Developers of the Headwaters Resort & Casino pitched Norfolk City Council members last month on plans to construct a limited, temporary gaming facility inside Harbor Park baseball stadium. 

The casino and restaurant would be located on the right side of the stadium in the current Norfolk Boxing Center and Hits at the Park restaurant.

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WRITTEN BY
VirginiaIsForBettors.com
Keith Stein
Keith Stein is a Virginia-based freelance journalist for VirginiaIsForBettors.com. He has a combined 27 years of experience in freelance writing, full-time journalism and supporting monthly and weekly news publications. He has also worked as a contributing writer with United Press International.
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Keith Stein is a Virginia-based freelance journalist for VirginiaIsForBettors.com. He has a combined 27 years of experience in freelance writing, full-time journalism and supporting monthly and weekly news publications. He has also worked as a contributing writer with United Press International.
... Read More