Rivers Casino (Pittsburgh)

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Rivers Casino
Rivers Casino (Pittsburgh) Logo.png
Rivers Casino is located in Pittsburgh
Rivers Casino
Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania
Rivers Casino is located in Pennsylvania
Rivers Casino
Rivers Casino (Pennsylvania)
Rivers Casino is located in the United States
Rivers Casino
Rivers Casino (the United States)
Location Pittsburgh, PA (United States)
Address 777 Casino Drive
Pittsburgh, PA
Opening dateAugust 9, 2009[1]
Notable restaurantsGrand View Buffet
West End Cafe
Andrew's Steak & Seafood
The Wheelhouse
Casino typeLand-Based
OwnerHoldings Acquisition Co. L.P.,
Don H. Barden
Previous namesThe Majestic Star Pittsburgh
Coordinates40°26′51″N 80°01′22″W / 40.447404°N 80.022697°W / 40.447404; -80.022697Coordinates: 40°26′51″N 80°01′22″W / 40.447404°N 80.022697°W / 40.447404; -80.022697

The Rivers Casino (originally going to be named the Majestic Star Casino) is a casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is owned by Holdings Acquisition Co. L.P., a joint venture of Walton Street Capital LLC and High Pitt Gaming LP.[2] Located in Pittsburgh's Chateau[3] neighborhood along the Ohio River, adjacent to the Carnegie Science Center and nearby Heinz Field and PNC Park, it had its groundbreaking in December 2007 and opened on August 9, 2009. The casino was originally to be built by Don H. Barden, but financial troubles forced him to sell 75% of his interest in the casino to Holdings Acquisition Co on July 16, 2008.[2] The casino has 3,000 slot machines.


Application process[edit]

The "Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act"[4] authorized the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to issue up to 17 casino licenses, with at least 1 casino license reserved for the City of Pittsburgh. Four organizations entered the proposal process to win the Pittsburgh casino license: North Shore Gaming, LP, Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., Station Square Gaming, LP, and PITG Gaming, LLC.[5] Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and other local officials favored a deal from the Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., which proposed to give the Pittsburgh Penguins $290 million to build a new arena in exchange for receiving the casino license.[6][7][8] In a "Plan B" negotiated by local political leaders, both the Majestic Star and Forest City agreed to pay $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward the construction of the new hockey arena.[6] The Station Square proposal was backed by major casino players, including Harrah's Entertainment and Forest City Enterprises.[9] In 2005, then-Mayor Tom Murphy controversially said during a press luncheon that "the fix is in" for Forest City's proposal.[6] The proposed plan suffered from questions about increases in traffic in the already-developed Station Square location.[6]

The proposal from PITG Gaming, LLC, a holding company owned by Don Barden's The Majestic Star Casino, LLC, was awarded one of five available "Category 2" slots licenses by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on December 20, 2006.[10] Barden's proposal was generally considered a "long-shot" for much of the application process because, unlike the competition, it lacked a large rewards program for gamblers and did not offer to pay for a replacement for the aging Mellon Arena.[6] Local community groups expressed concern over its proposed North Side location, home to PNC Park and Heinz Field and the increase in traffic congestion.[11]

Barden and PITG Gaming, LLC, were awarded the casino license in December 2006.[12] Several lawsuits were filed by the losing applicants challenging the Gaming Board's decision, but they were not successful.[13][14] Early construction delays were blamed on the suits.[15]


Ground was broken on the casino's North Shore in December 2007.[16][17] In July 2008, Barden defaulted on a $200 million bridge loan and failed to pay contractors, halting construction.[18] On July 16, 2008, he sold 75% of his interest to Holdings Acquisition Co, a joint venture of Walton Street Capital LLC and High Pitt Gaming LP and led by Neil Bluhm.[2][19] The ownership changes were approved by the Gaming Board on August 14, 2008, and construction on the casino restarted.[20] In November 2008, the new owners changed the casino's name to "Rivers Casino" to reflect its location near the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers.[2]

Grand opening[edit]

The Rivers Casino opened as scheduled at noon on August 9, 2009.


The Rivers Casino is reported to be worth $199.5 million to Allegheny County at least for taxing purposes.[citation needed] That's the assessed value the county has placed on the North Shore riverfront venue for the 2010 tax year. The value was calculated based on construction costs of the casino and surrounding parcels. The $199.5 million assessed value is the largest on any commercial property in Allegheny County and the largest on any casino in Pennsylvania.[citation needed] (According to Allegheny County real estate records, 600 Grant St. 15219 (the tallest building in Pittsburgh), is valued at $175 Million).[citation needed] Barring an appeal, it will produce $935,655 in property tax revenue for the county, $2.77 million for city schools, and $2.15 million for the city. The casino, the school district and the city all have the right to appeal the value if they so choose.


In January 2018 it was announced that long running General Manager, Craig Clark, would be succeeded by Bill Keena. Keena was previously the General Manager of the Rivers Casino (Des Plaines) and has been in the casino industry for over 30 years.[21] Recently, it inked a deal with BetRivers.com[22]

Dining & entertainment[edit]

Rivers Casino has five restaurants: Grand View Buffet (closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), Ciao, Flipt Burgers & Shakes, Martorano's Prime, and Mian.[23] It also has three bars: Spiral Bar, Drum Bar and Wheelhouse.[24] In the fall of 2009, the casino opened a coat room, open till 6pm Sunday through Thursday and until 2 am closing time on Fridays and Saturdays.[25] The casino also has a night club and a 1,000 seat outdoor amphitheater.[26]

Rewards club[edit]

Rivers Casino offers a rewards club, the Rush Rewards Players Club. It has various rewards based on play level. Some rewards include: free slot play, free monthly gifts, and free/discounted food offers.[27]

Table games[edit]

Table games opened to the general public in July 2010.

As table games have succeeded financially, management officials announced plans in January 2011 to add several additional table games: by Spring 2011 Rivers Casino will have a total of 107 games. The Casino is also in the process of adding a $2 million ballroom in a massive 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) corner space on the second floor, with views of the riverfront and Downtown skyline. It is expected to be ready by late summer 2011.[28] As of 2018, Rivers Casino includes a 30-table non-smoking poker room.

Sports betting[edit]

On December 13, 2018, sports betting began at Rivers Casino with a two-day test period; official sports betting began on December 15, 2018.[29] Rivers Casino began online sports betting on June 25, 2019.[30] On September 29, 2019, Rivers Casino opened the permanent 5,500-square-foot (510 m2) BetRivers Sportsbook, which contains two 50 by 7 feet (15.2 m × 2.1 m) LED monitors, 24 flat-screen HD monitors, six betting windows, and 33 self-serve kiosks.[31] Rivers Casino offers sports betting on various sports including baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and boxing.[29]

Banned players[edit]

Rivers Casino abides by Pennsylvania State Law that allows any patron of the casino to put themselves on a "Do Not Play" list. If a patron on the list enters the casino, they can be prosecuted for trespassing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rivers Casino opening pushed back because of water damage". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  2. ^ a b c d "Pittsburgh's casino to get new name". Pittsburgh Business Times. American City Business Journals, Inc. 2008-11-18.
  3. ^ "Chateau map". Archived from the original on 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2010-09-25. Even though some newspaper articles mention this casino as being in the North Shore neighborhood of Pittsburgh, the official city of Pittsburgh map (see cite URL) indicates that it is actually located in the Chateau neighborhood. Locations west of Allegheny Avenue, south of Western Avenue, and north and east of the Ohio River are in Chateau.
  4. ^ 4 Pa.C.S. §1101 et seq.
  5. ^ "PA Gaming Control Board Releases Updated List of Operator Applicants" (Press release). Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. 2006-01-23.
  6. ^ a b c d e Conte, Andrew (2006-12-06). "Analysts: Isle of Capri favored to win". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
  7. ^ Belko, Mark (2006-10-19). "City gaming task force backs Isle of Capri casino". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing Co., Inc.
  8. ^ Mauriello, Tracie (2006-12-14). "Incoming Penguins owner touts Isle of Capri plan". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing Co., Inc.
  9. ^ Toland, Bill (2006-01-24). "Giant Harrah's unveils plan for Station Square casino complex". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing Co., Inc.
  10. ^ Conte, Andrew; Jeremy Boren (2006-12-12). "And the winner is ... Majestic Star". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
  11. ^ Lowry, Patricia (2006-12-19). "Places: Can a casino be a good neighbor?". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. PG Publishing Co., Inc.
  12. ^ "PA Gaming Control Board Releases Adjudication Explaining the Decision On the Pittsburgh Casino" (Press release). Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. 2008-08-29.
  13. ^ "PA Supreme Court Upholds PGCB Licensing Decision For PITG Gaming, LLC" (Press release). Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. 2007-07-18.
  14. ^ "Hearing postponed for Pittsburgh's Majestic Star Casino". Pittsburgh Business Times. American City Business Journals, Inc. 2008-05-14.
  15. ^ "Lawsuits Blamed For Majestic Star Casino Delays". KDKA. CBS Broadcasting Inc. 2008-07-02. Archived from the original on 2008-12-02.
  16. ^ Delano, John (2007-12-11). "Plans For Majestic Star Casino Move Forward". KDKA. CBS Broadcasting Inc. Archived from the original on 2009-08-22.
  17. ^ "Pittsburgh Casino Breaks Ground; Barden Fires Back At Critics". WTAE-TV. ThePittsburghChannel. 2007-12-11. Archived from the original on 2009-08-24.
  18. ^ "Barden defaults on loan, seeks new ownership structure for casino". Pittsburgh Business Times. American City Business Journals, Inc. 2008-07-11.
  19. ^ "PA Gaming Control Board Releases Proposed Ownership Structure For Pittsburgh Casino" (Press release). Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. 2008-07-18.
  20. ^ "PA Gaming Control Board Unanimously Approves Pittsburgh Casino Ownership Change" (Press release). Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. 2008-08-14.
  21. ^ "Bill Keena Named General Manager of Pittsburgh's Rivers Casino". www.businesswire.com. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  22. ^ Interactive, Rush Street. "Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and BetRivers.com Ink Exclusive Deal With NHL's Penguins to Build Sportsbook-style Lounge at PPG Paints Arena". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  23. ^ "Dining". Rivers Casino. Retrieved 2021-10-11.
  24. ^ "Nightlife". Rivers Casino. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  25. ^ "Coat Room". Rivers Casino. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  26. ^ "Amphitheater". Rivers Casino. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
  27. ^ "Rivers Edge Players Club". Rivers Casino. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
  28. ^ "Rivers Casino to add games, new ballroom". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2011-01-27.
  29. ^ a b Delano, Jon (December 13, 2018). "Sports Betting Begins At Rivers Casino". Pittsburgh, PA: KDKA-TV. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  30. ^ Martines, Jamie; Panizzi, Tawnya (June 25, 2019). "Rivers Casino launches online sportsbook". TribLive. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  31. ^ "Rivers Casino to open new sportsbook Monday". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 27, 2019. Retrieved October 28, 2019.

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