Philadelphia is known for its firsts — America’s first zoo, first library and first Thanksgiving Day parade, to name a few. Rivers Casino Philadelphia is proud to also be on the list — as Philly’s first casino.
On Wednesday, Sept. 23, Rivers Casino will mark its 10th anniversary on Delaware Avenue. What began as SugarHouse Casino 10 years ago was later rebranded as Rivers Casino in October 2019, ushering in a new gaming and entertainment era to the city. With no change in ownership, the transition helped unify the growing Rivers Casino brand portfolio under one umbrella.
Rush Street Gaming and its affiliates own and operate Rivers Casino Philadelphia along with three other market-leading Rivers Casinos, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Des Plaines, Illinois; and Schenectady, New York.
Like the other Rush Street properties in every market and community, Rivers Casino Philadelphia stands firmly on three pillars: Rivers is a great place to work, a strong economic engine and a proud community partner.
Voted 15 times by its own Team Members as a “Best Place to Work” or “Top Workplace,” the Delaware Avenue casino has lived up to these ideals. Today, Rivers is one of the city’s most popular entertainment destinations, attracting approximately four million visitors in 2019.
“There’s no doubt that 2020 has tested the gaming industry, with historic nationwide shutdowns and ever-changing COVID-19 operational protocols,” said Rush Street CEO Greg Carlin. “Our Team Members have shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. I’m grateful for their continued support and for the support of the Philadelphia community — as we learn together how to return safely to work and play. Overall, our first decade was great, and our next will be even greater.”
Rivers Casino History
In September 2010, much fanfare accompanied the venue’s debut in Philly — one of the earliest U.S. major metropolitan areas outside Las Vegas or Atlantic City to host a casino. SugarHouse Casino’s name was a nod to the former Jack Frost Refinery, which previously occupied the Delaware Avenue site. Rush Street’s initial $550 million investment introduced roughly 1,600 slot machines, a wide variety of table games, several new restaurants — and more than 1,000 new jobs — to Fishtown.
The casino’s success and popularity led to a $164 million expansion that was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May 2016. While the expansion included a new 28-table poker room, it focused primarily on increasing nongaming amenities: more restaurants were added — such as Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House by Chicago’s Gibsons Restaurant Group — as well as The Event Center, a concert venue with the versatility and luxurious decor to host private and corporate events, and a free parking garage.
The property made history again in December 2018 by launching Philadelphia’s first licensed sportsbook, operated by Rush Street Interactive (RSI). The game-day atmosphere and intense demand for sports betting led to upgrades and an expansion of the sportsbook to a permanent location, centrally located on the gaming floor, less than one year after its debut.
Today, the state-of-the-art, $5 million BetRivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino is among the property’s leading attractions. It’s complemented by the exclusive BetRivers.com Sports Lounge at Wells Fargo Center, which opened in October 2019. RSI also operates BetRivers.com online sportsbook and casino as well as PlaySugarHouse.com.
A Great Place to Work
With approximately 1,550 Team Members, Rivers has lived up to its commitment to hire locally. More than 60% of its workforce is from Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Approximately 43% of Rivers’ total workforce are women, many in executive and management positions. Additionally, 60% are African American, Hispanic or Asian, proudly reflecting the city’s diversity.
Approximately 176 Team Members have been with the casino since Day One; and Rivers has announced more than 1,300 internal staff promotions since opening.
Gaming continues to be one of the country’s fastest-growing industries, and Rivers is always hiring and training top talent for its team. For information about job openings and the casino’s attractive benefits package, visit the careers page at RiversCasino.com.
Rivers recently announced a free dealer training program beginning on Monday, Oct. 12. Dealers who complete the six-week training will receive a job offer. Dealer school is ongoing, and the next deadline to apply is Sept. 30. For more information, please visit the casino’s dealer school page at RiversCasino.com.
A Strong Economic Engine
Since opening in September 2010, Rivers Casino has generated more than $1.2 billion in total tax revenue for the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition to Rivers’ sizeable workforce, the casino has generated thousands of indirect jobs throughout its first decade.
Since the casino’s arrival, Fishtown has transformed with new development of both business and residential properties. Today, it’s a walking community that recently caught the attention of Forbes magazine, with a feature story titled, “How Fishtown, Philadelphia Became America’s Hottest New Neighborhood.”
Rivers also spends approximately $11.5 million annually with local business enterprises and approximately $5.7 million annually with minority and women’s business enterprises.
A Proud Community Partner
Rush Street Gaming prides itself on integrating seamlessly with its communities, and serves as an ongoing partner in improving the quality of life in all cities of operation. Philadelphia and Rivers Casino are a shining example of that mission.
Since opening, the casino has contributed nearly $8 million to the Penn Treaty Special Services District, a 501(c)(3) community-based organization that works to enhance the quality of life for residents of the immediate neighborhoods surrounding Rivers Casino — Fishtown, South Kensington, Old Richmond and Northern Liberties.
Rivers has made additional contributions and donations throughout the region totaling $3.7 million, which benefit hundreds of organizations. Among them are Susan G. Komen, the Lutheran Settlement House, the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia, the Philly Pride Parade, the Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade & Festival, and veterans’ groups, just to name a few.
“Rivers Gives,” a companywide community outreach program, empowers Team Members to contribute more than 2,000 volunteer hours annually to local nonprofits. Serving meals at soup kitchens, painting shelters, participating in riverfront cleanups and more, Rivers Gives encourages and enables Team Members to personally contribute to neighborhood improvement projects. Rivers Gives also features donation locations near the gaming floor, where guests can join Rivers in supporting monthly initiatives that benefit local nonprofits.
Also, the casino’s annual Thanksgiving turkey donations will have Team Members donating more than 600 turkeys to local organizations throughout the city in November.
Rivers Casino Today
In 2020, the casino joined the entire city in its fight against the novel coronavirus. After Rivers shutdown in March ahead of the governor’s orders, the casino has since modified all operations to help slow the spread of COVID-19. After extending payroll and benefits beyond industry peers, Rivers Casino Philadelphia reopened on July 17.
To keep guests and Team Members safe, Rivers implemented innumerable health measures to promote safety and social distancing. Additional modifications include limiting the gaming floor capacity to 25%, reducing seating at table games, and placing slots in a safe operational order or separating them by plexiglass. Masks must be worn at all times while on the property, no exceptions, and temperatures are taken upon arrival.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia follows best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and meets or exceeds all COVID-19 Casino Reopening Protocols from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Additionally, Rivers Casino adheres to all guidelines issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and meets all operating requirements set by the City of Philadelphia.
While food and beverages aren’t yet allowed on the gaming floor, per the city, the casino recently reopened Jack’s Bar + Grill and Mian, where alcohol may be purchased with a meal. Smoking is not currently permitted on the gaming floor; designated outdoor smoking areas have been established.
To further enhance indoor air quality, Rivers recently upgraded its HVAC system to include airPHX®, a patented technology that continuously disinfects indoor air and eliminates coronavirus on surfaces. Rivers Casino also features AtmosAirTM, an indoor air quality purification system that has been proven to neutralize coronavirus by more than 99.9%. For more information, visit airphx.com and atmosair.com.
In addition to traditional shifts to clean the property, the expanded Environmental Services Team — now called the Rivers Clean Team — has been fortified with ongoing overlapping shifts, Environmental Protection Agency-approved disinfectants and additional commercial cleaning equipment. Hard surfaces and high-touch and high-traffic areas receive extensive and ongoing attention, along with a renewed focus on sanitizing games and gaming pieces.
“Rivers Casino Philadelphia has gone above and beyond industry standards for implementing COVID-19 protocols,” said Peter Longi, Rivers Casino Philadelphia’s interim general manager. “We’re very proud of our track record for preserving the continued good health of Team Members, guests and the community.”
Rivers Team Members have also been active in the Philadelphia community’s COVID-19 response, donating water, food, personal protective equipment and their time to those in need during the pandemic.
Starting Monday, Sept. 21, Rivers began a weeklong Team Member celebration, while guests will enjoy special promotions throughout the fall.