Portsmouth Opens First Casino in Virginia

Rivers Casino Portsmouth officially opened its doors to the public on January 23, 2023, marking a new era of gaming and entertainment in the region. The casino, located on the Elizabeth River, offers a wide range of gaming options including slot machines, table games, and a poker room. While Bristol, Virginia, had previously opened a temporary casino site, this is the first permanent, full-service casino in the Commonwealth.

Owned and operated by Rivers Casino & Resort (a subsidiary of Rush Street Gaming, which also operates casinos in New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania), the casino is a $300+ million investment in the city. “We are thrilled to open Rivers Casino Portsmouth and bring a new level of entertainment to the area,” said Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming. “We are confident that the casino will be a major economic driver for the region, creating jobs and generating revenue for the city.” That additional revenue—projected to be about $16.3 million over the next four years—will be used to fund various community projects and initiatives.  

The casino features a state-of-the-art gaming floor with 1,448 slot machines, 57 table games, a 24-table poker room, high-limit gaming areas and a BetRivers Sportsbook (bet on all of your favorite sports and events while enjoying food and beverages in a designated space). A 4-star hotel will open at a future date.  

In addition to the gaming options, the casino offers a number of dining options including a sports bar, a casual dining restaurant, and a fine dining restaurant. If gambling isn’t your thing, there are a variety of entertainment options including a live music venue, a comedy club, a movie theater and TopGolf.

The casino is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is accessible by both car and boat. The venue offers free parking for guests.

One complaint visitors mentioned after the grand opening was the allowance of smoking on the gaming floor (The Virginia Clean Indoor Air Act, which generally prohibits smoking in restaurants and other indoor public places, makes exceptions for “any portion of a facility licensed to conduct casino gaming.”) According to Rivers Portsmouth GM Roy Corby, smoking is limited to certain parts of the gaming floor. Smoking is not allowed in any of the restaurants, nor in the BetRivers Sportsbook, Sound Bar concert venue, TopGolf Swing Suite or poker room.

Overall, Rivers Casino Portsmouth is a great destination for both locals and visitors looking for a fun and exciting experience. With a wide variety of gaming options, dining options, and entertainment options, there is something for everyone.  

Photo by Anna Shvets