Although the gambling den was less than 10 years old, the SugarHouse name was a key part of the fabric of the city thanks to the casino’s policy of civic engagement
One of the gaming industry’s most distinctive names was consigned to the musty corridors of history Tuesday morning as Philadelphia’s SugarHouse casino was officially re-branded as Rivers Casino Philadelphia.
As Greg Carlin, who serves as CEO of both Rivers Philadelphia and its corporate parent, Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, noted during this morning’s drizzle-dampened ceremony, the change brings the nine-year-old, riverside gambling den in line with its siblings in Pittsburgh, Des Plaines, Ill. and Schenectady, N.Y., all of which already fly the Rivers flag (not coincidentally, each property is similarly situated on, or close to, a river).
“It made sense to rebrand SugarHouse to [make it] part of the family,” Carlin told the assorted employees, VIPs and media members who gathered on the north side of the property for the name-change program.
The new name is but one facet of a $15 million project that also includes the now-open, state-of-the-art BetRivers sports book boasting seating for 115, 22 self-serve betting kiosks, six wagering windows and a 56.5-foot-by-10.5-foot LED video rig, Jack’s Bar & Grill, a “signature” restaurant scheduled to open next winter and an upgrade to the existing online wagering operation that is designed to better integrate it the bricks-and-mortar end of the business. This phase represents the finishing touches on the $164 million property-wide expansion that, in 2016, added a food court, a 28-table poker room and the Event Center, which features headliner entertainment as well as meeting and social-activity space.
SugarHouse was so named because it was built on the site where the Jack Frost sugar refinery stood for more than a century. Opened in 2010, the casino has, since its debut, been one of the city’s highest-profile corporate citizens thanks, in part, to its sponsorship of the annual Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day, as well as the New Year’s Eve fireworks displays. It has also drawn praise from various quarters for its ongoing outreach programs and partnerships with the residents of the surrounding Fishtown neighborhood. A new community outreach initiative, dubbed “Rivers Gives,” was also unveiled.
The SugarHouse-to-Rivers festivities came two days before executives of Live! Will stage a “topping off” celebration. When it opens next year, the casino-hotel complex being built behind Citizen’s Bank Park in South Philadelphia’s stadium district will end Rivers’ city-limits gambling monopoly.