Rivers Casino Begins 2-Day Sportsbook Introductory Period

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh Sportsbook

Rivers Casino Sportsbook will be open for 10 hours on Thursday and 8 hours on Friday.

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia will offer sports bets for the first time later this week. Rivers Casino plans a two-day introductory period” for sports betting on Thursday and Friday of this week. For the first time ever, Pittsburgh area sports bettors can go to the North Shore to make bets on a Steelers-Patriots game.

Rivers Sportsbook is undergoing a soft launch to help regulators evaluate the operation. For limited times over a two-day period, betting at the bookmaker will be allowed.

On Thursday, bettors can place wagers from 2pm to midnight. On Friday, visitors will be able to place bets from 2pm to 10pm.

Bettors will have their choice of point spreads, money-line bets, futures bets, and prop bets on football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, MMA, and other sports. The Rivers Sportsbook will have 10 LCD televisions trained to the most popular games in the book.

SugarHouse Casino’s Sportsbook

On the other end of the state, Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino is planning a similar test period. Last month, Hollywood Casino at Reading began offering sports bets. Penn National Gaming’s flagship casino in Pennsylvania was the first operating sportsbook in the state.

Rivers Casino and SugarHouse Casino both hope to be licensed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board soon. Evaluation of their introductory periods is key to receiving the go-ahead from the PGCB.

US Supreme Court on Sports Betting

Before this year, sports betting at Pennsylvania casinos was unthinkable. Back in May, the US Supreme Court ruled in Murphy v. NCAA, a challenge of a 25-year old ban on sports betting in 46 US states. The Supreme Court overturned PASPA, which opened the way for Pennsylvania to legalize sports betting.

New Jersey’s challenge of the federal ban on sportsbooks took 6 years. From 2012 to 2018, New Jersey lost 5 separate court decisions in district and appellate court. Once before, the US Supreme Court refused to hear New Jersey’s case.

Thus, when the SCOTUS decision came down on May 14, it represented a sea change in the US gambling industry. Already this year, New Jersey’s casino and racetrack industry have generated $1 billion in turnover on sports bets.

Westmoreland Casino Sportsbook

Rivers Casino might not have the only sportsbook in the area for long. Earlier this year, Stadium Casino LLC bid $40.1 million for the right to place a satellite casino somewhere in Pennsylvania. Stadium Casino chose to place a 100,000 square foot casino in the closed Bon-Ton department store in Westmoreland Mall in the Hempfield Township of Greenfield in Westmoreland County — roughly 32 miles from Pittsburgh.

Once the Westmoreland County casino begins operation, it will be eligible to apply for a sportsbook license. The Stadium Casino LLC, which is owned by the Cordish Cos. of Philadelphia Live! and Maryland Live! fame, almost certainly will spend the $10 million for a sportsbook license.

Even then, the Rivers Casino & Sportsbook should be lucrative. Eventually, Pittsburgh gamblers will be able to make wagers at the casino Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers games.

Rivers Sportsbook Hours

When the sportsbook is opened for good, Rivers Casino plans to keep it open from 9am to 2am on Saturday and from 9am to midnight each Sunday. Those hours might change when it becomes apparent how much business an operating sportsbook brings into the resort.

While sports wagering has a low margin, it brings sports fans into a casino site. Those visitors might gamble on poker, blackjack, or the slot machines. They might buy a hotel room, eat meals, or open a bar tab. Sportsbooks generate business for the casino in other areas.

Thus, Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia are raising the curtain on the kind of lucrative action Atlantic City casinos have been experiencing this year.