PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Rivers Casino in Portsmouth hosted an invitation-only test night Thursday ahead of Monday morning’s scheduled grand opening. A second test night will be held this Saturday.

“I’m beyond thrilled with how well the community has embraced us,” said Rivers general manager Roy Corby.

The test nights are required by the Virginia Lottery Board to make sure that everything is running smoothly before it opens to the public.

Players will keep their winnings, however, the event will donate all earnings to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, USO Hampton Roads and Central Virginia, and Wesley Community Service Center.

According to a press release, the donation amounts will be determined by the level of play and each of the charities will receive an equal share of the money.

“I’m ready to make some money,” said Brenda Coburn. “I’m glad they brought a casino to Portsmouth. I work eight minutes away and I’ll be stopping on my lunch break to eat lunch at the casino.”

Veronica Davis owns a small coffee business called ‘The Coffee Bar’ and was selected as one of the casino’s local vendors.

“I’m a little guppy, I’m a microbusiness but to have Rivers Casino to say, you know what, we’re going to take you under our arm, we’re going to help you grow and it’s been growing ever since then,” Davis said. “To know that we have something as beautiful as this in Portsmouth, it’s just amazing.”

Rivers Casino Portsmouth officially opens Monday, Jan. 23, and is expected to bring more than 1,300 new permanent local jobs and 1,400 construction jobs.

Rivers has also partnered with Tidewater Community College in providing an eight-week dealer program.

“I started as a dealer,” Corby said. “It’s the best job in the casino in my opinion – 100% of our dealing staff we’ve trained here. We partnered with TCC and we’re going to run that for the next 2-3 years.”

The casino will also generate $16.3 million in new annual tax revenue for the city.