Rivers Casino Portsmouth Modifies Smoking Policy

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on February 1, 2023
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Rivers Casino Portsmouth has announced new indoor smoking policies.

Since the grand opening of the Virginia casino on Jan. 23, casino executives have received complaints from many guests about the smoke inside.

As a response to feedback received, Rivers’ parent company Rush Street Gaming decided to change its smoking policy on the gaming floor.

80% of Rivers Portsmouth will be non-smoking

The Rivers Casino Portsmouth would designate half of the gaming floor for smoking, while the other side will be non-smoking.

As the company’s statement says:

“Approximately half of the gaming floor will now be designated as nonsmoking, including both slots and table games. Signage has been posted to identify smoking and nonsmoking areas. Cigars and vaping are strictly prohibited. As a reminder, smoking marijuana in public is illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

With the modification, the casino said 80% of the facility would be non-smoking. That section also includes the following:

  • All of the restaurants
  • BetRivers Sportsbook
  • The Sound Bar
  • Topgolf
  • The Event Center
  • The poker room

Anti-smoking advocates are still unhappy

Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, a non-profit working to prevent the effects of secondhand smoke, is not happy with Rivers Portsmouth’s move.

Cynthia Hallett, president and CEO of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, released the following statement:

“Having a smoking section in a casino is like having a peeing section in a pool. Smoke is stubborn — it doesn’t abide by a sign and stay in one area.

This is a weak effort to address the public outcry that has defined the opening week of Rivers Casino Portsmouth. The only solution is to get rid of indoor smoking — move it outside. Otherwise, casino workers and guests will continue to breathe dangerous secondhand smoke. Rivers has the power to make this decision immediately and attract guests who want to enjoy everything their casino has to offer.”

Bristol casino received similar feedback in July

When Bristol Casino – Future Home of Hard Rock opened last year, it received similar feedback regarding smoking. Although the casino officials designated a non-smoking area for gaming, visitors complained about smoke on the main gaming floor.

As a result, Hard Rock officials decided to make HVAC upgrades to improve the casino’s ventilation system. They also made other adjustments to address players’ feedback and complaints.

In December, Hard Rock representatives revealed that the temporary Casino would continue to operate during the construction and remain to have non-smoking areas. The more extensive permanent casino is scheduled to open in 2024.

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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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