PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Bad luck isn’t the reason Orga Boone’s first trip to bet big came up short Tuesday.
“I went in there and accomplished what I came to do, but with the smoke [smell] it just kind of pushed me out," she said.
Amid the excitement of the grand opening of Rivers Casino Portsmouth Monday, several casino-goers raised concerns to 13News Now crews on site about the prominent cigarette smoke smell immediately when walking into the casino's front doors.
By Tuesday, those sentiments echoed online through recently posted google reviews, which went on to cite issues over the parts of the casino where smoking was allowed inside.
Those came from reviews both negative and positive of the casino, which is now the first fully operational and permanent casino in Virginia.
While casinos are still a new venture for the Commonwealth, the state’s Indoor Clean Air Act does allow smoking inside "any part" of facilities licensed to conduct gaming.
The portion of the Virginia code reads:
"Any portion of a facility licensed to conduct casino gaming pursuant to Chapter 41 (§ 58.1-4100 et seq.) of Title 58.1 designated pursuant to the provisions of and that meets the requirements of § 15.2-2827. Any restaurant within a facility licensed to conduct casino gaming shall comply with the provisions of this section."
A statement from a Rivers Casino spokesperson reads:
“Rivers Casino Portsmouth has designated non-smoking areas throughout the facility, including all restaurants, BetRivers Sportsbook, The Sound Bar, Topgolf, and the poker room.
We’re grateful for the community’s support of our grand opening and always welcome feedback from our guests.”
"I experienced but it didn’t bother me, and I went in pre-thinking what I had already heard," a Suffolk resident told 13News Now outside the facility.
Roy Corby, the casino’s General Manager, previously told 13News Now they spend quote “a lot of time” on ventilation systems so people aren’t exposed to too much smoke smell while inside.
"We spend a lot of time, these are the things casinos really focus on getting right, the casinos that want to be successful. They realize that a good portion of your population doesn't smoke, or even smokers who don't necessarily want to smell like smoke all the time or be around it. So, the ventilation systems that come into these properties now are state-of-the-art. So, we spend a lot of time on that," he told 13News Now anchor David Alan.