Sunday’s Super Bowl won’t be a big event and cash cow just around Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Every casino in Pennsylvania, though more than 1,000 miles from the action, stands to profit from viewers who want to be part of a party atmosphere for the game.
To varying degrees, the casinos are hosting parties, reserved seats, sportsbook buffets, gambling prizes, food and drink specials, and more to lure viewers away from home in late afternoon and evening.
While March Madness is the one event on the calendar that attracts more sports betting than the Super Bowl, it is spread over three weeks. No other four-hour window like Sunday’s televised matchup between the Chiefs and 49ers draws as many people into a casino at the same time.
Reserved seats and buffets prove popular
While some casinos are relying primarily on the game itself to attract patrons, others like the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh are advertising special festivities, for both those willing to pay an extra price and others who just want to be part of a crowd.
“We’re very excited,” said Andre Barnabei, the casino’s vice president of gaming. “It’s guaranteed to be the best spot in the city to watch.”
The Rivers is offering reserved seats in its sportsbook starting at 5 p.m. for $50 to $100 — the lower price for its table and bar seats and higher for individual leather lounge chairs — and many have sold out. The cost includes a buffet of chicken wings, sliders, nachos, and other snacks, plus special betting kiosk access.
For those who don’t want to pay extra, the casino’s upstairs events center will have four large projection-screen TVs set up with seating for 500, plus installation of betting kiosks, concession stands, and a cash bar.
Across the state, the Rivers Philadelphia opened an enlarged sportsbook during the football season just like its Pittsburgh counterpart, and it is also making use of it for a special Super Bowl event.
For $60, patrons can reserve a sportsbook seat, enjoy a buffet with Philly cheesesteaks and plenty of other food, and receive a T-shirt.
“It’s going fast,” sportsbook manager Jim Llewellyn said last week of the available reservations. “And that’s just the seating itself. We’ll have people all around the perimeter, and the kiosks and counter are open to anybody to bet. We’ll draw a big crowd all around the sportsbook — almost as many again in standing room as sitting.”
Block pools add to ways to win on game
Among other special Super Bowl promotions that have been advertised:
- Mount Airy Casino Resort’s sportsbook is not as large as those of the Rivers properties, and its price for Super Bowl viewing is also more modest — just $20 for its all-you-can-eat buffet. In addition, it’s giving away four block pool prizes adding up to $1,000 to four lucky participants among those who wager at least $20 on the game between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- At Mohegan Sun Pocono, a Big Game Watch Party will feature former Eagles kicker David Akers. Any bet of $100 or more at its Unibet sportsbook from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. gets the patron his choice of a $25 gift card or access to the party. Also, the first 100 guests placing a bet of at least $20 are entered in a block squares contest with four special prizes.
- Presque Isle Downs & Casino is holding its $20 Big Game Bash in its second floor restaurant and sports bar, Churchill’s Bourbon and Brew. A full tailgate-style buffet, with special prizes for patrons, is advertised to run from 6:30-11:59 p.m.
- At the Meadows Racetrack & Casino, a sportsbook viewing party open to the public will include former Steelers defensive back Mike Wagner. Its new H-Lounge will also have stadium-style viewing on a 220-inch screen. Patrons playing slots or table games during the Super Bowl will also automatically be eligible for a special drawing of $100 in slots free play held after each score, with 10 winners chosen after each TD and five after any field goal. Every $50-plus bet made on the Super Bowl in the sportsbook through Sunday also qualifies the patron to be one of 10 $500 cash winners chosen in a Feb. 16 drawing.
- Valley Forge Casino Resort’s sportsbook will have a temporary bar and cash prizes drawn each quarter for those who have placed wagers on the Super Bowl.
- Parx Casino is providing reserved seats for $25 in its 7,500-square foot sportsbook, with wait service included.