It’s ‘game on’ in Portsmouth: Voters give casino the green light

Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Now that Portsmouth voters have given gaming the green light, Economic Development Director Robert Moore says plans “are full steam ahead.”

Moore told 10 On Your Side the finished project on Victory Boulevard near the Tidewater Community College campus should look just like the renderings from Rush Street Gaming.

“The company has already developed similar projects in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York. This is more than just gaming, this is an entire entertainment district, so this is something that will lend itself to expand and grow, ” Moore told WAVY.

The Rivers Casino Portsmouth is expected to generate $16.3 million a year in tax revenue for Portsmouth, adding 7% to the city’s operating budget, Moore said.

It is also expected to create 1,200 permanent jobs and 1,400 construction jobs, he said.

“We’re excited about what this will bring, and again this could be a game-changer for a citizen of Portsmouth.”

(Photo courtesy: City of Portsmouth/Rush Street)

The fact that another casino was approved to go up right across the river in Norfolk seems to be of little worry to Moore or Mayor-elect Shannon Glover.

“The good news is I like competition. I think it’s healthy. I think it can benefit both of us,” Glover told WAVY.com.

When Norfolk also passed the casino referendum, it opened the door for Rush Street to step back a bit and not build a hotel, according to their contract with the city.

Moore says that won’t be the case.

“That particular verbiage allowed us the flexibility to move faster if we’d like to… so while they’re building the casino, we could also build the hotel if we find an operator who’s willing to come in and build those faster.”

Moore said Rush Street is on board to build the entire project, saying they’ve known all along that two casinos were a possibility.

Moore and Glover are betting on both to win.

“I’ve looked at the numbers… The numbers make sense. We’ll just have to see how it works out,” Glover said.

The next step is to apply for permits through the state and lottery board.

Moore says as soon as that’s approved, they can get started on the build. He expects it will open in 2023.

If you’re interested in jobs with the casino, construction, becoming an outside vendor, or want to learn more bout the project itself, visit the Rivers Casino Portsmouth website.


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