Philadelphia-based SugarHouse Casino recently launched an online casino platform within New Jersey’s legal and regulated iGaming marketplace.
The PlaySugarHouse.com online casino began the beta testing phase on September 7th, and by September 10th the site’s operators began offering full-fledged real money gaming on a continuous basis.
SugarHouse Casino is owned and operated by Rush Street Gaming, a Chicago-based company which also runs Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, with locations in Illinois and New York as well. PlaySugarHouse.com falls under the umbrella of Rush Street Interactive, which serves as Rush Street Gaming’s online division.
The brick and mortar SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia is located on the banks of the Delaware River, which separates Pennsylvania from New Jersey. Following a recently completed $164 million expansion project, the venue already draws a healthy portion of its customer base from across the river.
In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Rush Street Gaming CEO Greg Carlin discussed the online casino’s potential to attract a higher percentage of gamblers from New Jersey:
“(PlaySugarHouse.com) will broaden the SugarHouse reach to new players in New Jersey and give players more choice about how they want to enjoy their casino gaming experience. We think that there’s an opportunity to get even more customers from New Jersey.
“Operators in New Jersey tell me that online has actually complemented their bricks-and-mortar business and helped them grow that business, not detract from it, because a lot of the players online are players that don’t currently go to those casinos.”
Deposits to the site can be made from anywhere in the U.S., but in order to play, users must be physically located within New Jersey’s borders. The site is accessible through desktop and laptop computers, along with Android and iOS powered mobile devices.
At this point, the selection is limited to casino and slot games only, with no online poker room as of yet. Software providers contracted to develop games and other elements of the site include Aristocrat, Bally, International Game Technology (IGT), ShuffleMaster, WMS, and NYX.
Richard Schwartz, who serves as president of Rush Street Interactive, outlined the reasoning behind using a consortium of software providers:
“The result is a unique player experience that delivers more because New Jersey players deserve more. We keep our slot minimums low and offer extremely low-stakes table games, so you can play longer and make your entertainment budget go further. And still win big.”
Because New Jersey law stipulates that online casinos must be affiliated with one of the state’s local brick and mortar gaming establishments, the PlaySugarHouse platform is actually associated with Atlantic City’s Golden Nugget casino, and New Jersey Internet Gaming Permit NJIGP# 15-002 was officially issued to that venue. Golden Nugget also serves as the licensing host for London-based Betfair and its BetFairCasino.com platform in the Garden State.
SugarHouse Casino was forced to explore online options in New Jersey, rather than Pennsylvania, because the Keystone State hasn’t been able to harness the political power needed to authorize a legal and regulated iGaming industry. The idea was seriously considered during the most recent round of budget negotiations, and in June a bill was passed by the state’s full House of Representatives, but it was eventually left out of the final budget package.