SugarHouse Casino To Be Rebranded as Rivers Casino Philadelphia

SugarHouse Casino To Be Rebranded as Rivers Casino Philadelphia

SugarHouse Casino has been a landmark in Philadelphia for quite a few years now, but by years end, the historic casino will get a major rebranding along with an expensive facelift. The property is to be renamed “Rivers Casino Philadelphia” and will get $15 million in renovations along with the new name.

Gaming with a history

SugarHouse Casino sits on a Delaware Avenue property that formerly housed the Jack Frost sugar refinery. It is owned by Rush Street, a gaming company with a retail casino and online/mobile gaming presence in several states. In 2005, Rush Street’s co-founders purchased the iconic property and, in 2010 opened a casino on the site, giving a nod to Philly’s history with a very memorable and iconic name.

The casino has been very successful in that time, earning money for the owners, winning “Top/Best Workplace” awards, and entertaining the people in Philadelphia with great bars, restaurants, events, and a full “Las Vegas-style” casino gaming experience.

Gaming moving into the future…

Recently, SugarHouse has been at the front of the pack in some exciting new changes to Pennsylvania’s gaming landscape. In December, 2018 they launched the first retail sportsbook in Philadelphia (and one of the first operators to open a book in the state). In May, 2019 they launched PA’s first online and mobile sportsbook – identical in branding and content to their brick and mortar book.

Perhaps even more exciting, on July 15, 2019 SugarHouse is slated to launch their online casino gaming platform in PA. This platform was (until now) expected to be a duplicate of the company’s PlaySugarHouse brand that has been operating successfully in neighboring New Jersey for a few years now.

Visitors to playsugarhouse.com will find a site bristling with exciting gaming options including a wide variety of the most popular slots, a number of video poker variants, and virtual versions of popular casino pit games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat (among many others).

… thanks to PA’s new gaming laws.

All this new activity is due to some sweeping gaming legislation passed by the state in Oct of 2017. PA’s lawmakers correctly foresaw that the US Supreme Court would, in May of 2018, strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that gave the state of Nevada a de facto monopoly on single-game sports betting in the nation. Seeing the changes coming, Pennsylvania’s legislature expanded the role of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) and created 13 new sports betting licenses – one for each of Pennsylvania’s land-based casinos, if they wanted to purchase them.

These licenses cost $10 million each and would permit the casino to launch a sportsbook in their casino, along with auxilliary retail locations in other locations like off-track betting (OTB) parlors and horse racetracks. Perhaps most critically, they also allowed the casinos to launch online and mobile versions of their sportsbook. If other jurisdictions are a guide, online betting will constitute the lions share of the sports betting handle in PA in the months and years to come.

While they were at it, they gave the state an online lottery, and created a “mini-casino” category and license structure that create a way for PA’s casinos to branch out into other areas of the state. Perhaps most importantly, the PGCB also created online gaming licenses in three flavors: one for online slots, one for online casino table games, and one for online peer-to-peer (poker) gaming.

Each of these licenses costs $4 million but casino operators can get the whole set for the discounted price of $10 million. SugarHouse casino shelled out $20 million for the complete set.

The new rebranding:

As mentioned above, SugarHouse is owned by Rush Street, a gaming company with casinos in other cities besides Philadelphia. They also own Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, another Rivers Casino near Chicago, IL, and Rivers Casino in upstate NY.

Clearly, Rush Street is making a move to unify their branding in light of the nationwide online and sportsbook opportunities that are sweeping the country of late. Currently, most of their holdings are under the Rivers brand, but SugarHouse in Philly is a very popular and successful property and Rush Street has been operating online in NJ for a while now under the PlaySugarHouse brand.

Rush Street’s intentions and motivations are understandable, but it’s a shame all that history and goodwill associated with the SugarHouse name has to go by the wayside.

Rush Street made some intelligent moves during the new licensing process with this new rebranding in mind. They spent $10 million each for SugarHouse and Rivers casinos to each have their own sportsbook license, but opted for only SugarHouse to get the online gaming licenses. No need to pay twice for a statewide presence in online gaming when you are intending to unite your branding under one name.

What will happen next?

The announcement of Rush Street’s intentions to rebrand SugarHouse casino came just this week in a presentation made to the PGCB. In early summer, SugarHouse will begin changing signage, logos, internal controls, chipsets, etc. At the same time, the Rivers Casino in western PA will change it’s signage to “Rivers Casino Pittsburgh” to more fully coordinate the branding concept.

Mid-summer (July 15) will see the company launch their iGaming platform. The form of this launch is somewhat unclear at this point. Presumably they will want to unify their online presence under the Rivers brand but as of now PlaySugarHouse is still operating in both NJ (all markets) and in PA (the sportsbook). How and when the change will be made remains to be seen.

By the end of summer, the Philadelphia property will launch their new, expanded, permanent sportsbook – the recipient of some of that $15 million make-over. A new restaurant is also planned to be added during the renovation.

By fall, Rush Street will preside over a “Ceremonial Rivers Casino Philadelphia Launch” with all the new branding in place.

PlaySugarHouse bonus code

Right now, playsugarhouse.com has a bonus code available to launch their online sportsbook presence in Pennsylvania. The code is “PA250”. Using this code when signing up and making your first deposit on the site gets PA players a 100% matching bonus up to $250. Best of all, to redeem (qualify) for the bonus, the player need only play through that deposit amount once (1x) and then the bonus money is added to their account.

This is a pretty great deal, designed to introduce players to the new site and give them a very sweet incentive to join, deposit money, and make wagers. The matching amount is 100% of your deposit (good), the maximum bonus allowed is $250 (good) and the play through requirement is only 1x (very good).

This means that in order to earn the bonus, the player only needs to make a wager (or wagers) totaling the amount of the bonus. Let’s say you deposit $50. You will get an additional $50 added to your account after you make $50 worth of bets on playsugarhouse.com – win, lose, or draw.

In contrast, other online gaming sites sometimes have 2x, 5x, and even 10x play through requirements before releasing deposit bonuses. PlaySugarHouse is offering a great deal to any people (21 years or older) in PA that are interested in online sports betting (and online casino games coming very soon).