Posts for Featured Posts Category

SugarHouse Casino Will Become Rivers Casino Philadelphia

Russ Joy - June 12, 2019

The SugarHouse Casino you’ve known and loved will be no more as of the end of Summer 2019. Don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere, but it is being rebranded as Rivers Casino Philadelphia. The proposed change was presented to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board by Rush Street Gaming, who own not only SugarHouse Casino, but also Rivers Casinos in Pittsburgh, Des Plaines, and Schenectady. The move makes a ton of sense from a continuity standpoint, as it will allow Rush Street Gaming to streamline the Rivers Casino brand under the same corporate umbrella.

sugarhouse sportsbook

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What This Means for Sports Betting and the SugarHouse Sportsbook

As you likely know already, SugarHouse Sportsbook went live for online betting in PA on May 31. It will become Rivers Sportsbook, which was already expected to launch in PA. We’ve been told that it will be rebranded as BetRivers, while the online casino will likely be branded as Rivers Casino PA.

Rivers Philadelphia Timeline

As for the Philadelphia rebranding, Rush Street Gaming presented the following timeline for the rebranding rollout:

Rivers Casino Philadelphia SugarHouse Sportsbook Schedule

Tentative Timeline

  • Now: Announcement of intention to rebrand
  • Early Summer: Begin property transformation, including internal controls (signage, gaming items, etc.)
  • Mid Summer: Launch iGaming
  • End Summer: Launch of expanded, permanent sportsbook
  • Fall 2019: Ceremonial Rivers Casino Philadelphia Launch

What This Means for SugarHouse Casino

SugarHouse Casino’s rebranding does little to change the existing structure with one major exception. Rush Street Gaming presented the launch of an expanded, permanent sportsbook to be built on-site by the end of Summer 2019– this was already in the works. That should be welcome news to any interested sports betters in the greater Philadelphia area.

Expansion SugarHouse Casino Rivers Casino Philadelphia

Rebranding as Rivers Casino Philadelphia

From the Rush Street presentation:

  • Continuously improving customer experiences is a shared goal of the PGCB and Rush Street
  • As gaming becomes a 360-degree experience -land-based, mobile, online- a unified brand for Rush Street’s PA properties will best serve the Commonwealth, host communities, guests, and team members
  • Our long-term Plan is to establish continuity across Rush Street’s PA properties, sportsbooks, iGaming and guest rewards programs
  • This rebranding represents a $15 million reinvestment in the property, and all changes to the facility will be completed by local companies and contractors

SugarHouse/Rivers Sportsbook is still not available on iOS, an issue that we explained in detail here.

Angelo Cataldi Tries His “I Speak for the Fans” Routine Again, Gets Slapped Down by Gabe Kapler

Kevin Kinkead - June 7, 2019

The weekly Gabe Kapler/Angelo Cataldi interview was already must-listen radio, but with the Andrew McCutchen injury and Jean Segura “hustle” talk stinking up the Delaware Valley this week, the June 7th interaction between Phillies manager and talk radio charlatan was even more entertaining than usual.

Cataldi didn’t waste any time getting into his usual bullshit, greeting Kapler before saying this:

Cataldi: “It’s been a crazy week in Philadelphia, Gabe. Lots of harsh criticism, I can’t lie to you. It’s been a rough week for the manager.”

Kapler: “Has it? I’m excited to talk to you about it, Angelo. Let’s roll.”

That makes me laugh right off the jump, the audacity of Cataldi to speak for somebody else, to presume to know how they’re feeling.

Angelo started with some generic questions about the road trip, Jay Bruce, and Jake Arrieta, then entered the Segura discussion with this, after the jump:

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Apple May Prove To Be a Big Problem For Online Sports Betting

Kyle Scott - June 5, 2019

Apple made a change to App Store policies which could have a massive impact on the online sports betting and gambling industry. The change is already impacting those of you in PA.

When SugarHouse Sportsbook officially launched and became the first operator to offer online sports betting in PA last week, they did so without being available on iOS at all– not through the App Store or on mobile web.


The issue was thought to be related to an app skin issue – SugarHouse effectively repeated its mobile web page* and New Jersey app in a new app for PA – but it turns out the reason is much more complex and troubling for the industry as a whole. I spoke to several industry sources to gain a better understanding of the issue, and there is some consensus that this will benefit pure-play online sportsbooks and hurt online casino brands who wish to offer sports betting.

*It doesn’t work on mobile web because website users are required to install a geo-location tool, which obviously you can’t do on iOS.

Apple’s App Store change

Here’s the problematic language:

Guideline 4.7. HTML5 games distributed in apps may not provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations, and may not support digital commerce. This functionality is only appropriate for code that’s embedded in the binary and can be reviewed by Apple. This guideline is now enforced for new apps. Existing apps must follow this guideline by September 3, 2019.

In other words, online gaming apps that take website code (HTML) and just wrap it into an app are a no-go.

This impacts casino brands which wish to offer casino games alongside their sportsbook more than it does traditional sports betting apps like DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and PointsBet.* The reason is that online casino games are more varied, complex and often developed by third parties who offer up their code to casinos which can then easily implement the games on their website or skin them for an app (simplified explanation here).

*We’ve only confirmed this in regards to PointsBet– it’s unclear if DraftKings or FanDuel are skins.

Some sportsbook software from the pure-play sports betting apps, while often developed in tandem with a third party, is coded as a native app on mobile.


A big problem in PA

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Phillies Stars and Stripes Hats Are Now Available

Kevin Kinkead - June 3, 2019

I found what I’m gonna wear for Independence Day– it’s the Phillies Stars and Stripes hat, a special edition 4th of July design with a curved brim and American flag inside the retro “P” logo. That, along with a navy brim matched up with a red shell, is what differentiates the 2019 version from the 2018 version.

You can buy the Phillies Stars and Stripes hat from Fanatic hat here .

Dan Fuller reviewed this hat a little more than a week ago, noting that the curved P was used from 1950 to 1969 and also appeared as a red P outline in white on navy blue, which was worn from 1934 to 1937.

These caps are a three-way collaboration between Major League Baseball, New Era, and Stance. The 4th of July hats are described as such via, after the jump:

To be worn across the entire Fourth of July Weekend (July 4th – 7th), all* teams will wear a throwback-inspired cap design in red, white, and blue.

*-some teams have never really changed their cap logo, so, they’re just going to stick with what’s always worked for them

Jerseys will be usual team design, the first time on Independence Day in several seasons; socks will feature fireworks along with the usual red, white, and blue; stars and stripes.

All caps will either have a blue crown or a red one, depending on individual team preference, and feature their primary league’s logo on the right side of the cap. The MLB batter logo on the back *appears* to be the Cooperstown Collection version of the logo, I may be wrong about this, but it could be the first time it’s been worn in an actual game.

The Blue Jays, despite being in Canada, will celebrate as well with a cap featuring their original team logo, the cap still in the colours of the United States just with the flag pattern removed.

Some photos of the Phillies Stars and Stripes hat: Continue Reading

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Matt Klentak Updates Media on Odubel Herrera Situation

Kevin Kinkead - May 28, 2019

Phillies GM Matt Klentak spoke a short time ago about the Odubel Herrera incident.

Herrera was arrested in Atlantic City last night on domestic violence charges and was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball. A police report says Herrera’s girlfriend had “visible signs of injury to her arms and neck.”

Klentak notes:

  • Gabe Kapler held a team meeting today to talk about the incident
  • Herrera did talk to Kapler and Klentak on the phone, apologized to the manager and GM
  • it’s “premature” to speculate whether Herrera has played his last game as a Phillie
  • Herrera’s name was taken off the All-Star ballot
  • Nick Williams was called up
  • the Phillies are going to be transparent with this situation
  • he’ll defer to Gabe Kapler on playing time, but this does open the door to more center field reps for Scott Kingery
  • MLB and the players union will direct the investigation, it’s not a team-led thing
  • the Phils found out about the arrest at 9:45 this morning
  • I don’t think we have a choice” as far as the length of the investigation and this process.
  • By rule, Herrera gets paid while on leave

Good to get Klentak out there for transparency purposes, I’d say.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

  • McCutchen 8
  • Segura 6
  • Harper 9
  • Hoskins 3
  • Realmuto 2
  • Hernandez 4
  • Kingery 5
  • Williams 7
  • Pivetta 1


SugarHouse Sportsbook Will Begin Testing Today For PA Online Sports Betting

Kyle Scott - May 28, 2019

The day has arrived. Sort of. PA online sports betting will enter a testing period today at 4 p.m., with SugarHouse Sportsbook soft-launching their online betting options in Pennsylvania.

The three-day trial period will give the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board time to test the app for compliance and bugs. It will be available to a small number of users during a limited number of hours until the state gives the go ahead for a full public launch later this week.


SugarHouse Sportsbook

All along, we believed SugarHouse Sportsbook would be among the first to market in PA. Parent company Rush Street was second to launch the brand in New Jersey, and the fact that they hold two PA gaming licenses with SugarHouse and Rivers casinos made them a good bet to launch first in PA.

SugarHouse’s PA Sportsbook will be available through a web-based interface and eventually the iOS App Store.


Problems with Apple

We were first to report last week that SugarHouse was having some trouble getting the PA version of its app (yes, it will be a different app) into the iOS App Store – thanks to Apple’s approval process – and that they planned to launch with just a web-based version. Google Play already blocks gambling apps, so all legal online casinos and sportsbooks are available as a direct download on Android.

A quick check of the iOS App Store shows that SugarHouse Sportsbook PA is not live yet.


A longtime coming

When the Supreme Court overturned a 1992 decision that effectively made sports betting illegal in all states but Nevada last year, Pennsylvania already had a bill passed and in place to legalize sports betting. They vowed to move quickly, with state regulator Susan Hensel telling the East Coast Gaming Congress in June that retail betting would be live before football season and online betting would go live by the end of the year.

Both of those targets were missed as the first sportsbook didn’t open in Pennsylvania until December. Online betting lagged even further behind, missing the Super Bowl, March Madness, Masters and Kentucky Derby.

But with the full launch of online sports betting now around the corner, Pennsylvania bettors will be able to wager on the NBA Finals and, of course, the start of college and pro football seasons.


App availability

We’re told that Rush Street is having trouble getting a SugarHouse Sportsbook PA app approved in the iOS App Store. So for the time being users will have to access SugarHouse on desktop or the mobile web until the app is available in the App Store.

On Android, SugarHouse Sportsbook PA will be available as a direct download as the Google Play store doesn’t allow real money gaming apps.


Fully legal betting

While sports betting has been available online in PA and other states for a long while through offshore betting sites, fully regulated betting brings wagers out of the shadows with government oversight. With that comes high tax rates for sportsbooks, which had to pay a $10 million upfront fee to the state as well as 36% tax rates on revenue. These steep rates keep some operators from applying for licenses, but as of now about eight have plans to launch sports betting apps in Pennsylvania.


Ripe market

Pennsylvania is home to two major sports cities in Philly and Pittsburgh, and represents a significant opportunity grow sports betting. Fans of the Eagles, Steelers, Sixers, Phillies, Pirates and Penguins can bet on their hometown teams, perhaps ushering in an unprecedented wave of legal sports betting handle.



Leave your email and we’ll update when SugarHouse and other sportsbooks officially launch:

No, It’s Not Time to “Sell High” on César Hernández

Bob Wankel - May 26, 2019

Hey, Phillies fan. Remember when Cesar Hernandez was terrrrribbbbllle six weeks ago and everybody wanted his head?

Of course you do.

Just kick it back to April 13 after his 0 for 4 night in an ugly 10-3 loss to the Marlins. He looked totally lost. In fact, he actually looked borderline unplayable, and after a disappointing 2018 season which was hampered by a nagging foot injury, he was standing out for all of the wrong reasons in the Phillies’ potent new-look lineup. It was tough to watch but easy to hate with Hernandez slashing only .178/.240/.244 and doing stuff like this far too often:

Some preached patience but others called for measures ranging anywhere between a simple benching to Hernandez being designated for assignment, which, by the way, is definitely the most sound and logical solution whenever a veteran player goes through an underwhelming two-week stretch. Also, please pause to feel my condescending sarcasm as it flows forth, for it is heavy this morning.

As it turns out, and I know this is going to come as a stunner, seasons shouldn’t be judged on a guy’s first 50 plate appearances.

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More Buyouts, and Possible Layoffs, for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and

Kevin Kinkead - May 24, 2019

Seems like I write this story every other year, which is a shame.

Another round of buyouts and possible layoffs is currently underway at the Philadelphia Media Network, which owns the Inquirer, Daily News, and

Thursday, the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia revealed that PMN is looking to cut 10 percent of their membership, while explaining that they do not know how many reductions will come from “other unions and independents.”

An article published on clarified the situation:

Citing declining revenues, Philadelphia Media Network, which publishes The Inquirer, the Daily News, and, on Thursday announced buyouts aimed at eliminating 30 union jobs in the newsroom and other departments, plus an unspecified number of nonunion jobs.

The buyout will be offered to about 140 employees, including 117 members of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia, which represents journalists, plus those who work in advertising sales, finance, and other departments, the company said. The union said the company’s target is 10 percent of its 302 full-time members.

“We wish we didn’t have to make these tough choices, but these are the economic realities of journalism in 2019,” Terrance C.Z. Egger, Philadelphia Media Network’s publisher and chief executive, said in a statement.

The news organization is a for-profit enterprise owned by a nonprofit, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

You might recall a few veteran sports guys took buyouts about a year and a half ago, namely Mike Kern and longtime scoreboard editor Bob Vetrone. Dick Jerardi also left the company, though I’m not sure if also took a buyout or just retired outright. Those personnel moves were part of a restructuring that saw 50 people lose their jobs, while the company hired 45 folks to replace them, focusing more on the digital side of things.

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