Portsmouth, Norfolk move forward on casino projects
Rush Street Gaming proposal approved by Portsmouth City Council
On Tuesday, the Portsmouth City Council approved Rush Street Gaming’s casino proposal and the Norfolk City Council selected the Pamunkey Indian Tribe as its preferred casino operator, as the two Hampton Roads projects move toward a November referendum vote on the cities’ ballots.
Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming expects to invest at least $300 million, the minimum investment in the state’s legislation allowing five casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond with city councils and voters’ approval. Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill last month.
Portsmouth Economic Development anticipates 1,400 construction jobs, 2,000 permanent jobs and $62 million annually in wages, salaries and tips. RSG’s proposal projects Rivers Casino Portsmouth will generate $16.3 million in annual tax revenue for Portsmouth and $260 million in annual regional GDP as part of an entertainment district bounded by Portsmouth Boulevard, McLean Street and Interstate 264.
In Norfolk, the Pamunkey Tribe received City Council’s approval as operator of the $500 million resort, which was announced last year. The city and the tribe have worked together for about two years, and the next stage is for the Virginia Lottery to review the proposal and determine if the referendum will appear on the November ballot. The resort, which is backed by Tennessee investor Jon Yarbrough, will include a 300-room full-service hotel with restaurants, a spa and an entertainment venue that will seat 2,500, and is expected to create 2,500 full-time jobs. The tribe predicts the project will have a total economic impact of $850 million for the state, including $754 million for the city, as well as $26-31 million annually in gaming and sales-related taxes.
The tribe also has proposed a casino project in the city of Richmond, and two other casinos are proposed in Danville and Bristol.