Rivers Portsmouth Regulatory Shortcomings Result in $545K Fine


Posted on: July 4, 2024, 08:36h. 

Last updated on: July 4, 2024, 08:36h.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth in Virginia has agreed to a $545,000 fine to settle several regulatory violations.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth Virginia Lottery
Rivers Casino Portsmouth has been hit with two more fines for regulatory violations. The casino paid $545,000 to the Virginia Lottery after failing to deny access to underage and self-excluded individuals and failing to properly monitor its table games. (Image: WAVY)

Investigative and compliance officials with the Virginia Lottery, which regulates commercial gaming in the commonwealth, recently negotiated a settlement with the casino owned and operated by Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming to resolve a slew of regulatory failures.

In September, it was discovered that underage people in August had been granted access to the 24/7 casino floor that has more than 1,400 slot machines, 24 live dealer table games, a poker room, and a BetRivers Sportsbook. Lottery reps agreed to accept a $40,000 fine to settle the lawbreaking and avoid the matter moving to a formal hearing before the lottery board.

Rivers Portsmouth’s compliance mishaps, however, didn’t end there. The lottery’s investigative bureau in May said additional underage people, as well as those on the state’s voluntary exclusion list, were allowed to enter the casino.

The probe additionally concluded that the Rivers Casino Portsmouth surveillance team lacked adequate controls to supervise the casino properly. Investigators found that table game revenue wasn’t accurately accounted and minimum standards to monitor entry access points were not up to par.

Penalties Pile Up

After paying the $40,000 fine in September, the Virginia Lottery hit Rivers Casino Portsmouth with a $505,000 penalty for the additional regulatory failures. Rivers was fined $275,000 in May 2023 for cases that also involved underage people accessing the casino and a self-excluded person being granted entry.

We take these matters very seriously and respect the decision of the Virginia Lottery,” said Rivers Casino Portsmouth General Manager Roy Corby.

Since May 2023, Rivers Portsmouth has paid $820,000 in fines to the lottery. Under Virginia’s Casino Gaming Law, casino money from regulatory fines is directed to the commonwealth’s General Fund.

In January 2023, Rivers became the first permanent casino to open in Virginia. In its first full year in operation, the casino generated gross gaming revenue (GGR) of approximately $250 million — or more than $20 million a month.

Portsmouth receives 6% of the monthly GGR, or about $15.5 million for the casino’s first 12 months. The casino outpaced preopening revenue projections despite early criticism from some players who found the strong presence of tobacco smoke to be a turn off.

In response, Rivers modified its casino to allow smoking on half of the floor in designated areas. Rush officials said other changes in year one included the modifying of alcohol service and the establishment of a Portsmouth Police substation at the casino.

Regional Attraction 

Rush Street Gaming officials say Rivers Casino Portsmouth isn’t only relying on locals but attracting regional visitors. The company said of the two million visitors who patronized the casino last year, about 36% were nonlocals, and many came from out of state.

Corby said the casino has welcomed visitors “from all 50 states as well as countries around the world.”

Rivers Portsmouth does not have an on-site hotel, meaning most of its nonlocal guests are day visitors who continue to their final destination. Rush has floated the idea of adding a hotel but isn’t expected to act until the Norfolk casino development is finalized.

Rush’s development agreement with Portsmouth requires the casino to eventually build a hotel, but that condition becomes annulled if the Norfolk casino resort comes to fruition.

Source link