Rivers Casino Opens First Legal Sportsbook In Western Pennsylvania

Posted on January 8, 2019 - Last Updated on June 19, 2019

Pennsylvania sports betting is now a reality.

Thanks to the Rivers Casino, owned by Rush Street Interactive, residents in Western Pennsylvania can now legally wager on sports without traveling hundreds of miles to do so.

The Rivers Sportsbook officially opened within the casino on Dec. 15, and the timing was perfect. Gamblers waited in line for nearly two hours after its debut to place their bets.

Many of these patrons had an interest in the NFL game featuring the Steelers and the Patriots that weekend. Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field is located just minutes from the sportsbook.

Rivers was the third retail location in Pennsylvania to offer legal sports betting. It joined The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Penn National and SugarHouse Casino. Then on Tuesday, Parx Sportsbook came online as Pennsylvania’s fourth sportsbook.

West Virginia sports betting has some new competition once Pennsylvania became the eighth state to accept legal sports bets. In addition to West Virginia, Pennsylvania joins Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Rhode Island in offering legal sports betting.

Pittsburgh sports betting, please

Getting a legal sportsbook in your state is one thing, but having one close enough you can actually utilize is very important. Pittsburgh-area residents can now bet on sports without having to travel a long distance out of their way.

With Penn National being in the center of the state and the new SugarHouse Sportsbook all the way east in Philadelphia, bettors in Western PA wouldn’t have many options without Rivers.

In fact, many people in this part of the state probably resorted to traveling just south of the border to West Virginia. A couple of retail books have already been available in the Mountain State since the beginning of September.

However, now that the Rivers location is up and running, fans of the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates can place bets in their own backyard.

Affecting WV sports betting

Although it’s unclear to what extent, there’s no doubt that this Pittsburgh sportsbook will create competition with the existing and future books in West Virginia. It’s likely that the retail locations at Hollywood Casino Charles Town Races and The Greenbrier will see their revenue take a hit moving forward.

Beyond the new location at Rivers, West Virginia has two new sportsbook options, as well. Mardi Gras Casino & Resort and Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack are now open for business, too.

With more retail locations set to open in both states, it appears that establishing some type of regional familiarity and control will be a major factor in a sportsbooks’ long-term success.

Online sports betting

Something that’s guaranteed to affect every retail location is the emergence of online sports betting in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Both states weren’t expected to create online platforms until the new year. However, Delaware North helped speed things up in West Virginia.

The casino operator launched its Betlucky.com online and mobile sports betting app just a week ago.

William Hill, FanDuel and DraftKings are all set to have online sports betting soon in West Virginia as well, pending approval.

Pennsylvania will have its share of online options, too. Five total online books are prepared to launch in the first quarter of 2019. Besides Rivers Casino sportsbook in Pittsburgh and the other Pennsylvania sportsbooks mentioned, the yet unopened Harrah’s Philadelphia will likely launch sometime in the near future.

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Chris Imperiale

Chris Imperiale covers sports betting and the online casino industries. He has a journalism degree from Rutgers University and was formerly on staff at Bleacher Report.

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