A gaming company projected to operate an upcoming casino in Portsmouth is happy to announce a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for December 7, 2021. In line with the announcement, Shannon Glover, the Portsmouth Mayor, confirmed the event. However, he did not give any specific detail about the upcoming ceremony.
At the moment, the only clear information residents have about the casino is that Rush Street Gaming will build a $300 million property in Portsmouth. River casino will be on land stretching up to 57 acres, situated south of interstate 264 between Victory Boulevard and McClean Street.
The upcoming casino will sit near Tidewater Community College’s Portsmouth campus. The parcel is almost three miles southwest of downtown Portsmouth.
Portsmouth is one of the four cities in Virginia whose residents voted to support building a casino in the city. The residents voted during a ballot referendum in November 2020, alongside the presidential election. Other cities that voted to bring a casino in their towns are Bristol, Norfork, and Danville.
Most of Portsmouth’s residents were in support of gambling expansion. This is evident by the 67 percent of supporters who agreed with the casino proposal.
The fifth city, Richmond, also qualified to have a casino if residents voted to support it. Unfortunately, voters rejected the projected $565 million casino project by Urban One and Peninsula Pacific Entertainment. The voting happened earlier this month, with 51 percent voting against bringing a casino in Richmond.
Rush Street and Portsmouth Has Began the Work
While Rush Street and Portsmouth plan to hold a grounding-breaking event, the two have already started construction work. It started with site planning at the beginning of August, then removing vegetation and other inhibitions around the area where they will erect the casino building.
According to Justin Ballard of S.B. Ballard Construction Company, the crew has been setting the stage. The 13 News Now reports Ballard Construction Company as one of the prominent service providers contracted by Rush Street.
In January, the Virginia Lottery, which is responsible for supervising the licensing, construction, and running of the four commercial casinos recently approved, allowed Rivers Portsmouth to start construction. Rush Street plans to hire 1,400 construction workers. Later, it will hire 1300 full-time employees to run casino operations once it is launched.
Portsmouth Will Benefit From Richmond Not Having a Casino
The rejection of a casino in Richmond might have a positive result for Portsmouth and Norfolk. Norfolk partnered with Pamunkey Indian Tribe and Jon Yarbrough, a billionaire veteran in the gaming sector, to construct a $500 million casino resort. The casino will sit on the Elizabeth River, adjacent to the Harbor Park, a minor league baseball stadium.
The Headwaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk and Rivers Casino in Portsmouth will benefit from Richmond’s rejecting a casino. This is because the city sits 70 miles northwest of the Hampton Roads cities.
According to an economic professor, Bob McNab of Old Dominion University, a gaming property in Richmond would have blocked people from Richmond and northern Virginia from traveling to casinos in Portsmouth and Norfolk. Rivers Casino Portsmouth is predicted to create around $16 million in tax revenue every year. This casino is also projected to add $200 million into building Hampton and Portsmouth roads economy every year.
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