SugarHouse, Rivers Sportsbooks Not Launching Dec. 1 So Stay Tuned

Written By Grant Lucas on November 29, 2018 - Last Updated on October 17, 2022
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The wait for SugarHouse sports betting and Rivers Casino sportsbook will continue longer than initially expected. Sports betting at the Pennsylvania casinos, however, is well on its way.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) conditionally approved the PA sports betting operator petitions of Rush Street Interactive and Kambi Group on Wednesday. Following the hearing, SugarHouse Casino and Rivers Casino released similar statements regarding their respective incoming sportsbooks.

In an email, SugarHouse spokesman Jack Horner noted how the results from Wednesday’s PGCB hearing provided a strong step toward offering sports betting. Still, he noted, some more work remains.

“SugarHouse Casino is making great progress toward launching the first licensed sportsbook in Philadelphia, having been approved by the PGCB for a sports betting certificate on Oct. 31. Today, our sports wagering operator, Rush Street Interactive PA, LLC, and its affiliates, received conditional approval from the PGCB. We are now working to certify equipment, train team members and complete our sportsbook space for the upcoming launch. We expect to announce a launch date soon.”

Opening dates pushed

As indicated, neither SugarHouse in Philadelphia nor Rivers in Pittsburgh divulged target dates for opening their respective temporary sportsbooks.

Initially, in presenting their petitions to the PGCB in late-October, both casinos aimed to go live Dec. 1. With still several steps remaining before launching, however, that date has been pushed back.

While Horner did not directly address such a matter in his email to PlayPennsylvania, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday that openings “will not be Dec. 1.”

Similarly, Doug Harbach, a spokesman with the PGCB, laid out the board’s expectations in a Wednesday email to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“We expect that both of those casinos will be in a position to hold two-day test runs with Gaming Control Board staff sometime in the next several weeks.”

Last major moves left

The PGCB’s conditional approval of Rush Street and Kambi do not just affect SugarHouse and Rivers. Earlier this month, Parx Sportsbook in Bensalem confirmed its partnership with Kambi.

For all three casinos, the significant steps remaining include PGCB testing and final paperwork, which includes fingerprints of all licensed employees, by each sportsbook.

While Parx has remained mum on a potential opening date of its operation, Kambi expressed its excitement in moving one step closer to going live in the Keystone State.

“We’re delighted to have received our transactional waiver from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today, which puts us one step closer to launching the Kambi Sportsbook with our partners in the state,” said Kambi’s Chief Commercial Officer Max Meltzer.

Joining the young PA betting market

The PGCB certainly appears as motivated as operators to roll out PA sports betting. Consider the launch of Hollywood Sportsbook, which went from uncertainty about its opening date to going live within a few days.

Should SugarHouse, Rivers and Parx get moving on their final steps, the PGCB could theoretically begin testing in short order.

Despite the three properties remaining tight-lipped about potential opening dates, it appears all could and should go live this month. As a result, PA sports betting would quickly grow from a one-horse town into a four-operation industry before the new year.

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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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