Philly Casino Officially Changing From ‘SugarHouse’ To ‘Rivers’

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Tuesday marks a fresh start for the only casino presently within Philadelphia’s city limits, as what has been known as SugarHouse Casino since its 2010 opening becomes Rivers Casino Philadelphia.

The rebranding, officially to be unveiled with new exterior signage in a ceremony at 10 a.m. local time, was undertaken by the casino’s owner, Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, to achieve consistency with the company’s other gaming properties.

Rush Street already had Rivers Casinos in Pittsburgh, Des Plaines, Ill., and Schenectady, N.Y. It will now have two of them in Pennsylvania.

“Since receiving our casino license in 2006, gaming in Pennsylvania has evolved tremendously,” Rush Street CEO Greg Carlin said in a June announcement of the pending name change. “Keeping pace with the changing landscape has been paramount to our success. Creating a unified brand is another example of how we’re anticipating and responding to the competitive market for gaming.”

New sportsbook opened as part of changes

The Philadelphia casino has been undergoing a $15 mm renovation this year that included the rebranding. In addition to new signs, it meant changing pieces used for its games, new uniforms for employees, and other modifications.

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It also included a permanent, expanded retail sportsbook that officially opened Oct. 14 as the BetRivers Sportsbook, on which $5 mm was spent to triple the size of the temporary site for betting that opened in December. It has club chairs and table seating for 115 guests, 22 self-betting kiosks, six betting windows and a massive HD video wall that can show more than a dozen games at once.

The casino got a head start on the name change earlier this month by debuting both the Rivers Casino Philadelphia Sports Lounge and BetRivers.com Sports Lounge for use during hockey games and other events at the Wells Fargo Center.

Attendees during events can watch dozens of games on TVs in the lounges while receiving assistance on using the casino’s sports betting app, which has been known as PlaySugarHouse.com. That online site is being transitioned to BetRivers.com in Pennsylvania, which is the same name that has been used for months by the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.

Online betting site/app also to be updated

The Rush Street casinos in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have been using the same odds, provided by Kambi, since their retail sportsbooks opened late last year and since both launched online sites this year under Rush Street Interactive. Rush Street Interactive’s New Jersey site continues to be PlaySugarHouse.com.

Rush Street spokesman Jack Horner said the Philadelphia name change would require no rebranding of the company’s Pittsburgh operation, which has always been just the Rivers Casino rather than Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.

“All Rivers Casinos are tagged with their city designations for clarification as needed,” he said in an email.

At SugarHouse, the Philadelphia casino has been among the larger revenue generators in the state — especially for its table games — since opening nine years ago. It brought in $310.3 mm in revenue in the last fiscal year, with $127.7 mm from table games, which ranked third in Pennsylvania, and $182.6 mm from its 1,755 slot machines, which ranked eighth.

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Gary Rotstein

Gary is a longtime journalist, having spent three decades covering gambling, state government, and other issues for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in addition to stints as managing editor of the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette and as a reporter for United Press International and the Middletown (Conn.) Press. Contact Gary at [email protected].

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