SugarHouse Casino has already gone live with one of the first retail sportsbooks in the Philadelphia area, and is primed to be a first mover in the online space.
The operator will draw on its experience in the New Jersey market, where it already supports both an online casino and sportsbook via the Play SugarHouse brand. The tested and proven technology, provided by parent company subsidiary Rush Street Interactive, as well as Kambi, will only need to be adapted slightly for the PA market.
This will not only give SugarHouse a useful advantage, it provides us with a unique ability to predict what Play SugarHouse PA Sportsbook will look like. There is no insight quite like just examining what already happened right next door.
|Online launch||Expected early 2019|
|Online partners||Rush Street/Kambi|
|License||Approved Oct. 2018|
|Land-based book||Launched Dec 15, 2018|
Welcome bonus at Play SugarHouse sportsbook
All online casinos and sports betting sites alike offer new players a welcome package of one-time promotions. In New Jersey SugarHouse offers:
- A deposit match of 100% on up to $250 on for first deposit, with a trifling 1x wagering requirement
We expect a similar deal to be offered on Play SugarHouse PA.
Also, players that have not previously held a rewards account with the physical casino can get bonuses in Philadelphia:
- A $25 Match Bet
- A 1-Day High Limit Lounge Pass
- Up to $500 in Slot Play
- A Philly Philly T-Shirt
What advantages can Play SugarHouse Sportsbook enjoy in the PA market?
- Inherited recognition: As stated above, SugarHouse has already begun making a name for itself as a popular online sportsbook in NJ. No other Pennsylvania casino has an association with their moniker. Additionally, in-state there is the advantage of being one of the first physical sportsbooks to market.
- Added experience: For the same reason, Rush Street has had additional months to develop and test its software, design an effective interface, and build industry relationships with the right contacts to run its operation, including Kambi, which provides its sports betting services in New Jersey. The company has even broader experience if you count RushBet, the sister sportsbook running in Colombia (which could conceivably become another skin in PA if the PGCB ever decides to lift the one-skin-per-sports-license rule).
- Local fondness: Additionally, SugarHouse in Pennsylvania is also already a strong brand in its own right, with an extremely popular brick-and-mortar that frequently leads the market in growth.
- Gambling integration: One unique trait of the current site is how seamlessly the developers built the new sportsbook features into the existing framework, interweaving it with the casino instead of tacking it alongside as a separate add-on like other sites.
- Great promotional marketing: Play SugarHouse in NJ is known for having some of the best promotions and by far the single best customer loyalty program in that state, so there is every reason to expect similar rewards and offers will be made available for its PA site.
SugarHouse land-based sportsbook
SugarHouse expressed its plans for physical sports facilities to the PGCB, getting approval for the current temporary space of about 1,800 square feet situated near the poker room. The original plans were to seat 70 people, with a luxury lounge featuring 12 flat screen HD monitors and one large 14 foot LED wall.
The permanent facility, which will replace the existing Lucky Red Lounge in the main gaming floor, should hopefully be open in the spring of 2019. The space will house more than double the seating of the current temporary facility, which is enjoying significant activity at this time.
Rush Street is using the Kambi Group to help take the actual wagers for both SugarHouse and Rivers in Pittsburgh. The betting provider already runs mobile operations for the Play SugarHouse sportsbook (as well as Draftkings, by far the revenue leader in the NJ market).
Play SugarHouse online sportsbook
Online sportsbook features
With the boost provided by Rush Street’s other existing sportsbook sites, the new Pennsylvania Play SugarHouse should be available as soon as the PGCB gives final permission to launch. Unless some as-yet-unpredictable specific regulation is placed on the state that would restrict an aspect of the current offerings, the site could be expected to be much the same as its New Jersey counterpart.
There is even a chance that the physical sportsbook could benefit from mobile betting even before the online casino and sportsbook are fully operational. On-site options for live in-game bets placed inside the brick-and-mortar casino will greatly facilitate the wagering experience in ways that would not be possible with a limited number of physical kiosks.
Play SugarHouse NJ has integrated its sports betting features into its online casino site, sharing one account, rewards program, and all banking features, including an integrated wallet. The interface make use of the brand’s blue, white, and gold color scheme which is pleasing enough to the eye.
For mobile users the SugarHouse iOS and Android apps likewise offer casino games and sports bets side-by-side.
In New Jersey Play SugarHouse offers the following deposit options:
- ACH eCheck
- SugarHouse prepaid card
- Online banking transfer
- Credit/debit cards
- In person Cashier’s Cage
Withdrawals can be made through:
- ACH eCheck
- SugarHouse prepaid card
- Paper check by mail
- NETELLER eWallet
- Cashier’s Cage
It is very likely the same selection will be offered on the PA site, with the exception that in-person transactions will occur at the Philadelphia SugarHouse Cashier’s Cage, as opposed to the cage at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic city for the other website.
While it took some time for PayPal to become available to New Jersey sites, there is no current reason to expect a similar delay in Pennsylvania (again, barring some unforeseeable regulatory impediment).
The variety of sporting events that can be bet on through SugarHouse include:
- UFC/MMA fights
- Formula 1 Car racing
- College Football
- NFL Football
- Australia Rules Football
- College Basketball
- NBS Basketball
- Major League Baseball
- Major League Soccer
- Premier League Soccer
- Many other forms of soccer (like, seriously, way more soccer than you can possibly imagine)
- And apparently at least one dart competition (?!)
The same options as the NJ site are expected:
- Standard point spread, Over/Under, and Moneyline bets
- Unique In-play wagers, such as success of a particular player or the outcome of current plays.
- Jackpot Parlays
- NFL and NBA Teaser+ bets
- Cash out early options
Other promotions and offers
There are numerous other promotions commonly offered by Play SugarHouse sportsbook NJ, including:
- Refer-a-friend bonuses
- Nightly “Boosts” on odds for certain bets
- Full or partial refunds, awarded as a 1x bonus, on losing wagers
But by far the biggest claim to fame the site has in New Jersey is its amazing, iRush Rewards loyalty program which is shared between casino activity and sports bets. The program has a structure made of 11 tiers, which seems excessive but it is surprisingly easy to climb to at least the middle levels. Rewards and bonuses are unusually generous. It is possible that the Pennsylvanian version of the program may be made less advantageous as a result of the extremely worse tax structure required by the state, but it can still be expected that SugarHouse will have one of the best programs in the market.
The path to Play SugarHouse Sports
SugarHouse Casino was granted a license to build a Category 2 casino by the PGCB in 2006. After some legal delays, construction began in 2009 and the Philadelphia area casino officially opened in September of 2010.
A major upgrade to the casino began in 2014 and was completed in spring of 2016. SugarHouse represented more than a 9% share of the state market in 2017.
Play SugarHouse launched in New Jersey in September of 2016 through an agreement to use Golden Nugget’s license in that state. The site was started both as a new revenue source as well as to establish the brand and gain online experience in advance of online gaming becoming legislated in SugarHouse’s home state of Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately Pennsylvania’s gaming expansion took a little longer than hoped, but in the intervening time Play SugarHouse became a formidable casino in New Jersey’s online market, offering one of the best game libraries in the state as well as the much-lauded iRush program. The site’s aggressive approach to game selection, loyalty rewards, and promotional offers has been cited as the main reason for the online casino’s success by company president Richard Schwartz.
RushBet Interactive, a sports betting site created by Rush Street in Colombia, was authorized in June, making the parent company the first U.S. operator to enter the South American market. Play SugarHouse NJ began offering online sports betting on August 23, the third such site in the U.S. It conducts sports under the Monmouth Park license, deciding to leave Golden Nugget (it’s still licensed under Golden Nugget for iGaming) so that it could offer wagers on NBA games.
On July 16 of this year (the last day of the application window) SugarHouse applied to the PGCB for a license to offer online interactive gaming, which was granted in September. The casino then petitioned for permission to offer sports betting, which it was granted at the end of October.
The state authorities at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved Sugarhouse’s application to develop its online casino on September 12, 2018 and a physical sportsbook on October 31. Its parent company Rush Street Gaming got the temporary sportsbook facility up-and-running on December 15 (alongside its sister casino, Rivers).
Rush Street had hope to offer sports betting at SugarHouse as soon as December 1, but minor delays did not cause them to miss the deadline by too much: the Philadelphia facility still enjoyed wagers for the last half month of 2018.
Play SugarHouse’s sports betting future
Rush Street has proven itself to be successful at running land-based casinos, a new land-based sportsbook, online casinos, and online sportsbooks.
While the tax percentages required in Pennsylvania still make it less appealing a market than if the legislation had turned out more inviting, the state offers a sizable population hungry for betting options.
Like several other key players in the Pennsylvania market, SugarHouse must now hurry to prepare an online casino, the permanent real-world sports betting facilities, and a mobile sports betting app all at the same time. However, there is one incredible advantage that SugarHouse can boast, which provides it with a massive head start on all its competition: it has already developed a thriving online casino and online sportsbook in the neighboring New Jersey market.
SugarHouse is acting quickly, taking maximum advantage of the development it has already done in other regions and leveraging its brand recognition. The brand has a serious chance for domination of both Pennsylvania’s online casino and sports betting markets, and already outlook is good based on early results at the physical sportsbook. So far SugarHouse is shaping up to be the handle leader in the market.
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