Portsmouth, VA – The City of Portsmouth<> has
announced their partnership with Rush Street
Gaming<>, one of the fastest-growing gaming
companies in North America. The Portsmouth Economic Development
signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday, November 18, 2019,
designating Rush Street Gaming as the City’s destination casino developer
and operator pending state legislative approval.

“This partnership is a very exciting thing for Portsmouth,” said
Portsmouth Mayor John L. Rowe. “Rush Street Gaming, led by Neil Bluhm and
his team, has an impeccable track record of more than 20 years in the
gaming industry. They’ve changed the way communities look at gaming and
they understand Portsmouth’s vision for an integrated Entertainment
District at Victory Boulevard.”

Headquartered in Chicago, Rush Street
Gaming<>, and its affiliated
companies, operate several full-service destination casinos, internet
gaming and sports betting, a myriad of restaurants, multiple hotels,
several entertainment venues, a television production company and more.
The organization has developed and opened four destination casinos in the
past decade under the Rivers Casino brand and has created more than 6,000
new quality jobs. All Rivers Casinos are leaders in tax revenue generation
in their markets. Overall, Rush Street and its affiliates have invested
more than $3 billion of capital in strategic projects across the Midwest
and east coast regions.

“First and foremost, we’re real estate developers with a strong track
record of successfully collaborating with our host communities,” said Neil
Bluhm<>, chairman and
co-founder of Rush Street Gaming.  “We choose our projects very carefully,
and we knew right away the Victory Boulevard location would be ideal. 
Portsmouth is central to the region, and the site itself is large with the
potential to include a multitude of hospitality and entertainment uses, is
well positioned in a development corridor with retail, superior
infrastructure, and immediate highway access from multiple directions.”

Portsmouth City Officials were drawn to the Rush Street Gaming commitment
to community development and culture of caring, starting with their
employees. All Rush Street Gaming properties have been voted a top
workplace by the Team Members who work there. Additionally, each
destination casino has a customized and localized community engagement
program called “Rivers Gives” that empowers local employees to support
area nonprofits and helps to seamlessly integrate it with surrounding

“At Rush Street, we’ve proven to be a great place to work, a proud
community partner and a strong economic engine in every market in which we
operate,” said Jacob Oberman, senior vice president of development for
Rush Street. “We’re inspired by the leadership of Portsmouth and look
forward to engaging with the community at large—we’re going to do great
things together.”

“Rush Street Gaming is a wonderful partner for our City,” said Portsmouth
City Manager Dr. L. Pettis Patton. “They have a strategic decision-making
process and have made certain that this is a mutually beneficial
partnership. The vision that they have crafted for this site is phenomenal
and will transform the business corridor into a regional destination.”

Rush Street Gaming has a long track record of diversity and inclusion
throughout the organization. Rush Street Gaming properties also spend
millions annually with minority and women-owned businesses.

Located next to Tidewater Community College, there’s a great opportunity
for cooperative gaming and hospitality business education programming and
creating a steady pipeline of talent to launch careers with Rush Street;
Portsmouth also has a strong small, women and minority owned business
community that will have the opportunity to serve as vendors to the

Gaming has been a topic of conversation in the commonwealth for years and
is on the final steps of legislation. The partnership between Rush Street
and Portsmouth comes in anticipation of SB
being enacted in Virginia. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review
Commission (JLARC)<> will be
releasing their findings on gaming in late November. Any recommended
amendments to the Code of Virginia will not become effective unless
adopted by the 2020 Session of the Virginia General Assembly. If the
General Assembly enacts Code of Virginia amendments, the City of
Portsmouth would then hold a local referendum and citizens would have the
opportunity to vote on local ballot.

“I’ve always believed that Portsmouth is the ideal location for a
destination casino,” said Senator L. Louise L. Lucas. “Virginia has a rich
tourism industry and gaming is a natural fit. I’m excited for Rush Street
Gaming to bring their community centered model to my hometown and look
forward to seeing the partnership grow.”

The Portsmouth project will depend on what the final Virginia legislation
looks like, as final tax numbers and state investment requirements have
not been released. The Victory Boulevard Project site is approximately 50
acres and already has a substantial amount of infrastructure in place.

Rush Street Gaming’s recently completed Rivers Casino & Resort
Schenectady<> in New York’s Capital
Region offers an example of the potential that exists for the Victory
Boulevard Entertainment District in Portsmouth. The Schenectady project
includes a hotel, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, restaurants and
bars including local concepts. Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady employs
approximately 1,100 team members, has already been voted a top workplace
and was lauded by the City of Schenectady for driving new tourism business
to the region, contributing to a 10.5 percent jump in tourism spending
year-over-year. Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady is part of a
master-planned development called Mohawk Harbor that includes apartments,
condos, townhomes, more dining and bars and another hotel.

“The Victory Boulevard Entertainment District is an opportunity for
Portsmouth to play a bigger role in the region’s tourism industry and
offers an amenity to our residents,” said Robert D. Moore, Portsmouth
Economic Development Director. “The Rush Street Gaming team also sees
eye-to-eye with our workforce development plans for the city and
understands the unique culture of small businesses here. It’s an ideal
partnership and Portsmouth is ready.”