Rolling Again: New Rivers Philadelphia GM Justin Moore Expects Casinos To Come “Roaring Back”

Posted By Katie Kohler on May 11, 2021 - Last Updated on May 19, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on all casinos in Pennsylvania 2020. They were forced to close for a third of the year resulting in a huge impact on revenue, employee layoffs, and taxes collected by the state.

It was an especially rough year for Rivers Casino Philadelphia which was shuttered the longest due to the City of Philadelphia’s stringent rules. However, during the shutdowns, Rivers’ revenue was somewhat salvaged by the strong performance of its BetRivers Online Casino.

Following Gov. Wolf’s three-week year end shutdown orders, Rivers Casino Philadelphia resumed operations 24/7 on Jan. 4 2021. In April, Rush Street Gaming, Rivers Philadelphia’s parent company named Justin Moore general manager of the casino.

Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming and Rivers Casino, commented:

“Rush Street’s accelerated growth in destination and online gaming has created more opportunities for career development inside the company. After a successful four-year term in Upstate New York, we’re very pleased to welcome Justin to Philly.”

Rivers Casino Philadelphia revenue

Rivers Philadelphia January 2019-2021 revenue comparison

 Jan. 2021Jan. 2020Jan. 2019
Slot machine revenue$8 million$14.5 million $14.6 million
Table games revenue$5.8 million $10.5 million$11.8 million

February revenue comparison

 Feb. 2021Feb. 2020Feb. 2019
Slot machine revenue$7.3 million$15.5 million $15.3 million
Table games revenue$6.3 million $14 million$10.9 million

March revenue comparison

 March 2021March 2020March 2019
Slot machine revenue$10.9 million$7.9 million $18.3 million
Table games revenue$8.9 million $5.7 million$9.1 million

BetRivers igaming revenue growth

 iGaming revenue comparison

 March 2021March 2020March 2019
iGaming revenue$27 million$6.7 million n/a

Growth from March 2020 to March 2021

 March 2020June 2020September 2020Dec. 2020March. 2021
iGaming revenue (slots and table games)$6.7 million$15 million $16.1 million
$19.3 million$22 million

BetRivers led all PA online casino operators for total revenue from March 2020 until January 2021.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National, which added BetMGM online casino as one of its skins, took the top spot in January 2021 and has held onto the lead so far in 2021.

Moore moves from Rivers NY to Rivers Philly

Justin Moore started his career in the casino industry in Las Vegas. He spent 16 years working at various casinos and resorts including Station Casinos, Red Rock Resort and served as vice president and assistant general manager at Green Valley Ranch Resort & Casino.

Justin Moore, General Manager Rivers Casino Philadelphia
Justin Moore, Rivers GM

In 2017, Moore accepted a role with Rush Street at Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady soon after the casino opened. Moore helped establish the “Rivers” brand in a new market, operated The Landing Hotel, and the property debuted New York’s first sportsbook.

Some notable achievements at Rivers Casino Schenectady under Moore’s leadership as general manager included:

  • Named the No. 1 tourist destination in New York’s Capital Region.
  • Hosted the “I Love New York” Empire State Tourism Conference at Rivers’ Event Center.
  • Introduced and produced the annual “Harbor Jam” summer concert series for the adjacent Mohawk Harbor Amphitheater.
  • Albany Times Union repeatedly named Rivers Casino a “Top Workplace,” lauding its positive workplace culture.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia and RSI officially announced Moore as the new GM on April 16. He took some time to answer questions from PlayPennsylvania about his new role in Philadelphia, iGaming, recovering from 2020, and the future of brick-and-mortar casinos.

New Rivers GM focused on health, safety and guest experience

What attracted you to the role of general manager of Rivers Casino Philadelphia?

Moore: Pennsylvania is one of the top gaming jurisdictions in the country. I’m excited about the expansion and popularity of gaming in Pennsylvania over the past decade, plus the rapid innovation among the regulators and operators that keeps that momentum going. Philly also has fantastic sports teams. I’m a longtime basketball player and huge sports fan.

We are all tired of using the word “unprecedented.” But there is really no other word to describe the coronavirus and its impact on the gambling industry. What does recovery look like? 

Moore: Recovery from the devastating effects of the global pandemic is something casinos are dealing with nationwide. At Rivers Casino Philadelphia and all Rush Street casinos, the health and safety of our Team Members, guests, and community have always been top priorities. We’ll measure success by maintaining this focus, enhancing our guest experience, and staying closely aligned with state and city health officials.

Complementary relationship of iGaming and brick-and-mortar casinos

BetRivers brought in $27 million in revenue in March 2020, the second most in the state. From the standpoint of a GM of a brick and mortar casino, what is the relationship between a retail and an online casino?

Moore: The Rivers Casino and BetRivers.com brands are complementary. We offer guests a 360-degree gaming experience. If they can’t make it to the casino for an entertaining night, we want people visiting BetRivers.com to play their favorite games. Many popular online slots and online table games are also available at Rivers Casino Philadelphia, so guests can enjoy both live and digital play.

That philosophy extends even further when you’re talking about the in-casino BetRivers Sportsbook and BetRivers.com’s online sportsbook. Both brands also have partnered with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center, where you’ll find sportsbook-style lounges in the arena for wagering via apps while watching games in real time.

Competition for Rivers Casino Philadelphia

Speaking of competition, Live! Casino Philadelphia is the first casino to open in the Philadelphia area since 2010. How does Rivers differentiate itself from other casinos?

Moore: For more than a decade, Rivers Casino Philadelphia has proven time and time again that it’s a great place to work, a strong economic engine, and a proud community partner. Our collaborative and supportive workplace culture differentiates us. Our Team Members’ values and attitudes are reflected in their day-to-day interactions with guests. Whether it’s on the gaming floor or in the community where our Rivers Gives program helps local nonprofits and area organizations, our team is woven into the city’s fabric.

Employee retention

Casinos in Pennsylvania are on a hiring spree. Eleven years after opening, Rivers Casino Philadelphia touts its large number of “Day One employees.”

What keeps employees at Rivers? 

Moore: Our team recently voted Rivers Casino Philadelphia a “Top Workplace” for the ninth time, along with numerous other “Best Places to Work” awards. That’s in large part because Rush Street Gaming has built and continues to nurture a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.

There are many opportunities for internal promotions, so you can develop a well-rounded gaming resume here. It’s more than a job, it’s a career. Amid the pandemic, Rivers Casino Philadelphia and Rush Street have gone over and above in caring for our Team Members.  

More guests rolling into Rivers Casino Philadelphia

In your opinion, what does the future of brick-and-mortar gaming look like?

Moore: After staying home with limited options for over a year, guests are eager to return to brick-and-mortar casinos. With vaccines more available, people want to get back to interacting in person, dining out, going to live music performances, meeting friends for cocktails. Also, they want to hit the slots and tables.

With health and safety protocols firmly established, there’s every reason to believe that brick-and-mortar gaming is about to come roaring back. As restrictions continue to ease, we’re welcoming more and more guests each day.

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist. She covers the Pennsylvania gambling industry with an emphasis on sports betting, online casino/poker and the lottery.

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