Rivers Casino Portsmouth, Virginia Settles for $275K Fine on Regulatory Breaches

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Rivers Casino in Portsmouth, Virginia, became the first permanent casino to open in the state back in January. However, it can now add the less-coveted title of being the first casino to be fined by state regulators.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth, owned and operated by Chicago’s Rush Street Gaming, settled for a fine of $275,000 with the Virginia Lottery Board gaming regulators this week.

The settlement avoids a public hearing on the matter, which would have revealed more details of the alleged infractions.

The Virginia Lottery Board said the settlement “does not constitute an allegation, an admission, or a denial by either party that a violation of law or regulation has occurred.”

Previously, the Lottery Board has said that Rivers Casino had committed “sanctionable offenses.”

Related: Virginia’s gambling laws, explained

Corrective Plans

There were several alleged breaches looked at by Lottery Board officials at Rivers Portsmouth during its two months of operation.

They included negligently allowing underage persons to access the casino floor, hosting incorrectly licensed slot machines, and allowing a self-excluded gambler to enter.

Rivers, which also operates casinos in Pennsylvania, New York, and Illinois, has not commented so far.

“Rivers has cooperated fully with the Lottery’s inquiry into these matters, and has taken corrective measures, and has developed a corrective action plan to ensure future compliance with the Casino Gaming Law and its related regulations,” said a Lottery Board statement.

Casinos Pending

Both regulators and Rivers were content to draw a line under this recent case with the $275k settlement.

Rivers Portsmouth posted gross gaming revenue of $24.7 million in February, and then $23.6 million in March. It paid $4.3 million in state taxes, of which $1.4 million stayed with the local government.

The fall in revenues may be partly due to the presence of legal indoor smoking, with many online reviews complaining about secondhand smoke.

Rivers Casinos’ Q2 reports are due soon, which may reveal if the revenue decline at the Portsmouth venue continued.

Rivers Portsmouth has just shy of 1450 slot machines and 57 table games, as well as poker tables and various restaurants.

It was the second casino to open in Virginia after Hard Rock Bristol. But it was the first permanent one. Hard Rock Bristol is currently on a temporary site, and is set to open permanently in 2024.

The Virginia Lottery Board may also be keen to look tough on infractions, with a third casino operator soon looking to launch a venue in the state.

Last month, we reported on the approval of national operator Caesars Entertainment’s $650 million plans for Danville Casino Resort in Danville, South Central VA.

A temporary casino is expected to open on the site as as soon as May, with the full resort scheduled for 2024.

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