SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia recently held its “topping off” ceremony, as the final beam was put in place (and lit up) signaling the end of the casino’s Phase 2 expansion. The project began in 2013 and cost approximately $164 million.
The expansion doubles the size of the casino, with hundreds of slots and table games added to the casino’s offerings, including a state of the art poker room — the first legal poker room in Philadelphia.
Still, the expansion’s primary focus was amenities and convenience over gaming options. Among the new amenities visitors will find at SugarHouse are
- A new parking garage.
- An expansion of the property’s public river walk
- A new events center
- Art galleries throughout the property
- Several new eateries.
Amenities account for 75% of the project, with gaming making up just 25% of the Phase 2 expansion.
As SugarHouse CEO Wendy Hamilton said of the expansion, “It’s a whole bunch of restaurants, it’s the event space, it brings the poker room inside from the temporary structure that’s detached today so it does a lot of things that really frankly will help us compete in what’s about to become an even more competitive region for casinos.”
History of SugarHouse
SugarHouse Casino, along with Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, is owned by Rush Street Gaming, one of the biggest players in the U.S. casino industry. Construction on SugarHouse Casino began in 2008 and it opened its doors on September 23, 2010.
The casino was an instant money maker in the Pennsylvania market, and is now locked in a virtual tie with nearby Harrah’s for 4th place (out of the state’s 12 casinos), trailing only Rivers, Parx and Sands Bethlehem.
Phase 3 on the horizon
SugarHouse won’t be resting on its laurels, as the casino will now set its sights on a Phase 3 expansion project.
Phase 3 could bring the addition of a hotel and ballroom to the property based on early proposals. This should bolster the property’s standing in what is a very crowded Philadelphia casino market, perhaps bumping SugarHouse into the Parx/Sands category.
The poker room
The most important addition on the gaming front is the new SugarHouse poker room. The room will boast 24 poker tables and includes all the bells and whistles of a modern poker room, and then some:
- Charging stations at each seat at every table
- Tableside eating and a dedicated eatery in the poker room
- Neon underglow on all the tables
- Mobile app reservation system
The new poker room replaces the temporary poker room SugarHouse opened late last year. The temporary poker room was located outside the casino proper in a makeshift building, making it somewhat difficult to locate, and somewhat limiting clientele to serious poker players.
On the other hand, the new room inside the casino should attract more casual players and everyday casino patrons. Because of the casino’s location in downtown Philadelphia the room could become one of the more popular poker destinations on the east coast.