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Portsmouth casino adds nonsmoking sections after complaints about smell of smoke

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Posted at 6:36 AM, Jan 31, 2023

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — After its first official weekend of being open, Rivers Casino has already made some changes to accommodate feedback from the crowds of patrons.

The biggest change is the addition of nonsmoking sections throughout the casino floor following several people complaining about the smell of smoke.

Effective immediately, a spokesperson for the casino says half of the gaming area will be nonsmoking to include slot machines and table games and signs have already been posted.

There were some complaints of crowds over the weekend of long lines, with many turning to social media to post videos about the wait to get in.

"You come at two o'clock in the morning and there's a line to get in," said one patron, who visited the casino over the weekend.

News 3 asked a spokesperson how the casino did with staffing and long lines. The spokesperson replied, "Guest flow has been steady since opening. We are grateful for the support of our Team Members, guests and the community."

On Monday morning, things were pretty calm at the casino when a News 3 reporter was outside.

"I think it's a great thing for the city," said John Brooks, who stopped by the casino with his wife. "We stopped by to check it out. It's okay. It's a casino that's never been here, so nothing to complain about."

Another visitor told News 3 the prices to play card games is higher than they expected. "I'm not really impressed. I'll be back, but it'll probably be like a once or twice a year thing," said Melanie Carr.

With table games, music, and other programming, the casino is projected to bring the city about $16 million in new tax revenue over the next four years.

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