PORTSMOUTH, Va. — If you were ready to set your bets on January 15 during the grand opening of Rivers Casino Portsmouth, you'll have to wait a bit longer.
Kelli Webb, a spokesperson for Rivers Casino Portsmouth, announced Tuesday that the grand opening ceremony for the facility has been pushed back to January 23.
"New grand opening ceremony invitations will be issued to the previous guest list with revised date and time," Webb wrote in a statement.
“I can be very clear, we toured the facility last Thursday, and folks are working extremely hard to meet the deadline," Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover told 13News Now following the announcement.
Officials with the casino want more time to test their new gaming equipment, according to Webb.
"Providing a superior guest experience is a top priority for Rivers Casino Portsmouth. Our intention is to be the entertainment destination of choice for Hampton Roads, and we’ll settle for nothing less. We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to welcoming our guests very soon," Webb said.
Glover learned of the update just before the release was sent out Monday overnight. While he said he was "slightly disappointed" to learn of the update, he doesn't believe it takes away from the overall excitement of the casino's completion.
“I had friends flying in for this event, and I called them saying it wouldn’t be open on the scheduled time. You know what they said to me? ‘It doesn’t matter. We're coming back,'" Glover said.
Portsmouth residents have long been watching and waiting for the casino's doors to open. Now, they'll have to wait a little longer for the payoff.
“Hopefully increase foot traffic and bring some tourists to the area," John Gomez said, who co-runs the Elegante Beauty Center with his sister Rosa Gomez in a shopping complex across the street from the casino site.
Rosa was unaware of the casino's newly announced grand opening on Tuesday, and said they've been altering their scheduling to accommodate the expected increased foot traffic to the area.
“[The hairdressers] were scheduled to be here this Sunday," she said.
“Would give us a lot of exposure, and an opportunity to flourish just like the casino would," Ephraim Cruz said, co-owner of that shopping complex said.
If you were planning to attend their charity nights on January 10 and January 12, those have also been rescheduled for January 19 and January 21, respectively.
The touted annual tax revenue is $16.3 million for the city of Portsmouth.