The first permanent facility among Virginia casinos opened late last month and it seems the timing was great. Coupled with the temporary Hard Rock in Bristol, revenue for a single month has never been higher in the short lifespan of the casino industry in Old Dominion.
The two casinos combined to report almost $22.5 million in win from slots and table games in January 2023. The numbers indicate more of what Virginians can expect once the entire slate of casinos open.
Virginia casinos reach new heights in January
When you combine a great month for the Hard Rock Bristol with the first nine days of operation for Rivers Portsmouth, you get a record-setting tally in Virginia. According to the Virginia Lottery, the two casinos produced $22.4 million in slot and table game revenue in January 2023.
Hard Rock accounted for $13.4 million of that total. That figure alone would have set a state record for a single month, besting December 2022‘s $12.1 million in revenue. However, the opening of Rivers in Portsmouth upped the ante.
Over the last nine days of January, Rivers won $7.4 million on slots and $1.6 million from table game players. Those numbers represented 69.8% on slots and 59.2% for table games of what Hard Rock pulled in for the entire month.
Rivers Casino Portsmouth general manager Roy Corby told PlayUSA the casino is happy with the start.
“We always appreciate the early demand that comes with any grand opening cycle,” Corby said. “Industry experience tells us that business levels will normalize over time. Rivers Casino Portsmouth represents the hard work and dedication of thousands of people from across Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are grateful to our team members, guests and the community for their continued support.”
Thus, it seems Rivers is poised to become the state’s top revenue performer next month. As the only permanent casino in the state, it stands to reason. These numbers suggest that Virginia should expect a good amount of tax revenue when its casino slate is operating at full capacity.
Virginia casinos on track for revenue projections
In January 2023, the two casinos paid over $3 million to the state in taxes on their revenues. Over the next two to three years, the state could see as many as three more casinos open. For certain, casinos will open in Danville and Norfolk. Additionally, the Hard Rock in Bristol will move to its permanent location.
Whether a fifth casino opens in the Petersburg or Richmond area is very much up in the air right now. Assuming that does not happen, though, it looks like Virginia casinos could still meet expectations.
In November 2019, the Virginia Assembly’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission compiled an estimate of $260 million in annual tax revenue for the state from five casinos in the aforementioned cities. It projected a Richmond casino would bring in $80 million in annual tax revenue.
That leaves an annual estimate of $160 million for the other four casinos in mature markets. Rivers paying out $1.6 million to the state for a mere nine days of activity bodes well for it reaching that estimated figure of $45 million in annual taxes at maturity.
If the rest of the market develops similarly well, the state’s casinos should do their intended part. For certain, January’s returns proved that Portsmouth residents were ready to hit the casino.