PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Rivers Casino Portsmouth is set to open during the first quarter of 2023. More than a hundred job seekers filled out applications and talked to recruiters at the Rivers Casino job fair on Wednesday.
That’s the case for one longtime Portsmouth resident who’s hoping to secure a job.
"I feel like this is it. After coming out of there, it was so well-organized. It's running smoothly. I believe in them already," Portsmouth native Darrell Edwards said.
Edwards is hoping to become a blackjack dealer and believes the casino will deter crime.
"There are not too many employment opportunities here like there was. You don’t have to worry about crime. Do you really think you’re going to have to worry about crime with money? It's going to pull everyone up in Portsmouth," Edwards said.
The general manager of the casino tells News 3 reporter Leondra Head non-tipped workers will start above the state minimum wage.
"$15 an hour minimum wage. Most of the positions in the casino are tipped positions," Roy Corby, the general manager for Rivers Casino, said.
As for for positions that are heavily tipped, Corby explained, "Dealers, for example, receive $5.50 an hour; then, tips will make up a majority of their pay."
So far, 31 people have been hired. The casino is looking to hire 1,300 in total before opening next year.
Rivers Casino says the plan is to hire as many local residents as possible.
"We’re really focusing on hiring as many people from Portsmouth as possible. Between the two job fairs, we’ve had well over 350 Portsmouth residents come through," Corby tells News 3.
The hope is to bring opportunity to the city.
"The more people we employ with good high-paying jobs, family-sustaining wages, and it will start to bring people off the streets and give them hope and things to look forward to."
Businesses near Victory Boulevard say they are eager for the casino to open to boost the nearby economic development area.