Rivers And SugarHouse Eyeing Dec. 1 Retail Sports Betting Launch

Written By Grant Lucas on October 31, 2018
Dec 1 blocks and winter tableau

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) granted conditional approval for three casinos’ petitions for sports wagering certificates, bringing the state’s incoming sportsbooks to six, under five licenses.

Harrah’s PhiladelphiaRivers Casino and SugarHouse Casino each received the thumbs up from PGCB, pending conditions set forth by the Office of Enforcement Council.

In addition to the licenses, another part of the meeting was good news for sports betting fans at all.

Prior to today, PA sports betting operations wanting to launch needed to wait for full PGCB approval. This usually involves waiting until the next PGCB meeting. The next meeting on the calendar is for Nov. 28.

However, Board Director Kevin O’Toole asked for the power to review cases and give the green light to open sportsbooks. O’Toole noted that casinos were inching closer to satisfying their respective conditions, meaning the debut of PA sports betting draws nigh.

Giving O’Toole the power to give casinos the all clear to launch should speed things up substantially.

Harrah’s focused on retail

Harrah’s drew on the history of its parent company, Caesars Entertainment. Caesars operates 13 sportsbooks in Nevadatwo each in New Jersey and Mississippi.

While Caesars Online Casino also features a mobile sports betting app in New Jersey, Harrah’s Philadelphia emphasized that its attention remains solely on a land-based operation in the short term. Mobile betting is a part of the game plan in the long run though.

Adjacent to a table games pit, Harrah’s sportsbook, powered by Scientific Games, will spread 4,322 square feet, installed in the racino’s existing gaming/entertainment space. The sportsbook will offer a variety of amenities, including television packages for all major American sports leagues as well as international and college sports packages.

Additionally, the area will feature the following:

  • Odds board
  • 40 flat-screen TVs
  • Six teller windows
  • Self-betting kiosks within the book and throughout the property
  • Two horseracing terminals
  • Stadium-style seating

Rush Street gets approval for two properties, eyes 12/1 launch

Submitting petitions for two sports betting licenses, Rush Street Interactive received the PGCB’s go-ahead to proceed with developing sportsbooks at both Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia.

As noted in its presentation, “sports are in our Rivers Casino Pittsburgh DNA.” The casino parking garage is used frequently for games at nearby PNC Park and Heinz Field, after all. The same DNA statement can be said for SugarHouse, which has close ties to the MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies and the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.

Both properties target Dec. 1 launch dates for their respective temporary sportsbooks and spring 2019 timelines for the permanent operations. Both will rely on Kambi Group to operate wagering, as Rush Street does with its mobile sportsbook in New Jersey.

Rivers plans

The Pittsburgh casino will place its temporary sportsbook on the south gaming floor and feature on-site cashiers and self-service kiosks.

Construction has already begun on the temporary space, which will encompass 3,000 square feet with seating for approximately 98 people.

A “state-of-the-art” 14-by-7-foot LED video wall and 15 flat-screen TVs will line the temporary book, which necessitates the removal of up to 58 slot machines to accommodate space.

As for the permanent location, the sportsbook will reside in the center of the gaming floor near the Levels Lounge. An “online solution” will become ready in early 2019. An expanded bar with video poker as well as club, VIP and table seating will fill the sportsbook.

SugarHouse plans

The Philadelphia casino has begun construction on an 1,800-square-foot temporary sportsbook across from its poker room near the north entrance.

With seating for approximately 70 people, the book will feature a 14′-by-7′ video wall and 12 flat-screen TVs. The temporary space calls for the temporary removal of 35 slots and relocation of 15 slots.

SugarHouse’s permanent sportsbook, located on the central gaming floor, will reside in the current location of Lucky Red Lounge.

Rush Street indicated that its SugarHouse iGaming product will ideally launch simultaneously with mobile sports betting. One platform will “feed the other,” as it was stated, indicated an integrated platform.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.

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