As of Dec. 15, Pittsburgh sports fans can wager on the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates at Rivers Casino. Soon they will be able to do so from the comforts of their own home, or even at the ballgame.

Welcome to the world of legalized sports betting in Pennsylvania.

Rivers sportsbook up and running

Rivers Casino is located footsteps away from Heinz Field and PNC Park, homes of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively.

Rush Street Interactive, owner of Rivers Casino and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, paid $10 million per casino in licensing fees to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). The board conditionally approved both properties for sports betting licenses Oct. 31, 2018.

Before the online/mobile sports betting platform can launch, the first retail sportsbook in the Pittsburgh region needed to open.

That happened in December of 2018 when Rivers launched its temporary sportsbook facility. It is one of seven casinos in the state pursuing sports betting. While you will be able to access betting apps of the other properties, Rivers Sportsbook is the only retail book located in Pittsburgh.

While the official launch dates for online wagering are still pending, best guesses expect launch happens in the first quarter of 2019.

>New Jersey sportsbooks offer odds boosts and other promos tied into the Philadelphia pro teams. However, the books rarely offer promos on any of the Pittsburgh franchises.

Setting the Pittsburgh sports scene

Pittsburgh sports fans have their share of championship moments, including the Penguins winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017.

Pittsburgh represents in the following major sports league:

  • MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates
  • NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins
  • NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh area is also represented in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Atlantic 10 Conference thanks to:

  • Duquesne University
  • University of Pittsburgh

Other Division I schools located nearby include:

  • Penn State University
  • Robert Morris University
  • Saint Francis University

Online sports betting

New Jersey launched legalized mobile and online sports betting in mid-August. Like the Garden State, Pennsylvania will allow anyone within the Keystone State to wager online or via a mobile device. There is an age minimum of 21 to bet. When sports betting apps launch, they should be available for download on Android and iOS devices. Most sportsbooks also offer a desktop version of the client.

One of the significant differences between New Jersey and Pennsylvania is that mobile apps will be specially branded for each land-based casino in the Keystone State.

Rivers Casino

The Play SugarHouse app, from Rush Street Interactive and powered by Kambi, got a summer-long head start in New Jersey via partnerships with the Golden Nugget and Monmouth Park.

Though the Rivers’ platform will need to be branded differently, the existing version provides a basic idea of what Pennsylvania bettors can expect.

The first-deposit match bonus of up to $250 is an attractive way to get new customers. The current app connects to the iRush Rewards program. This is the loyalty program which allows players to earn tier credits for each real money wager.

Mount Airy Pittsburgh

The multimillion-dollar mini-casino Mount Airy Pittsburgh, located in Big Beaver, PA, will be affiliated with Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono, PA. When it is open, it will be about a 45-minute car ride from Pittsburgh. Part of the plans for the property include a sportsbook.

The company has a partnership in place with The Stars Group and its BetStars-branded sports betting app. It is available to New Jersey bettors.

BetStars does not have a retail sportsbook in the Garden State. Mount Airy says it is intent on sports betting. Nonetheless, the company still has not applied for a sports betting license.

Additional online sports betting options

As mentioned, there are several casinos that will offer sports betting in the state. Here is a look at what they are and when they plan to launch:

CasinoPGCB Approval DateRetail Sportsbook LaunchOnline Sportsbook Launch
Hollywood Casino at Penn NationalOct. 3Nov. 17Summer 2019
Parx Casino SportsbookOct. 3Jan. 10Summer 2019
South Philadelphia Turf ClubOct. 3Jan. 17N/A
Rivers CasinoOct. 31Dec. 15Summer 2019
SugarHouse CasinoOct. 31Dec. 15Summer 2019
Harrah's PhiladelphiaOct. 31Jan. 24Summer 2019
Valley Forge CasinoDec. 19March 13Summer 2019
Presque Isle DownsFeb. 6March or April 2019Summer 2019
Valley Forge Turf ClubMarch 6March 12N/A

Upon launch of these casinos’ betting apps, gamblers will be able to view the odds from anywhere. They will need to be in Pennsylvania when placing a bet though.

Rivers Casino retail sportsbook

The first sportsbook in the Pittsburgh region, Rivers Sportsbook includes more than 10 TVs, large chairs and couches, and is completely non-smoking. Since launch, the weekends have seen a packed house.

The hours for Rivers Sportsbook are as follows:

  • Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to midnight
  • Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m
  • Sundays, 9 a.m. to midnight