Pennsylvania introduced legalized sports gambling late last year and the move appears to be paying off, at least for one casino in the state. March Madness, the name given to the basketball tournament of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is underway and Rivers Casino has already seen an impressive amount of action.
According to the Pittsburgh casino’s director of sports relations, Jimmy Vaccaro, “This has been nonstop already. I knew it would be good, and I’ll say right now I think it’ll be better than I anticipated.” He adds that there are 12 self-serve kiosks located in the venue and explains, “I was there for three hours [Tuesday], and there was never any time where there was one kiosk that wasn’t being used. It’s steady, it just keeps coming, it’s a lot more than I thought I would be.”
Rivers Casino launched its sportsbook on December 13 of last year after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved its license request in October. The Rush Street Gaming-owned property is one of the most recent venues to launch the activity and has since—along with Rush Street’s SugarHouse—been giving Penn National a run for its money in the state.
The NCAA’s March Madness is the most active among sports gambling event after the NFL Super Bowl. In Pennsylvania, about one of every five residents is expected to either place a bet or make a bracket during the tournament this year. As more states embrace the sports gambling industry, it is going to help bring a significant amount of revenue, previously lost to either Nevada or off-shore gambling sites.
Most of the bets have been placed on a win-loss line, but not all. Vaccaro indicates that there have also been a number of high-risk, high-reward parlay bets, where gamblers are hedging their bets on the winners of three to five games at a time.
The first round of games of March Madness gets underway today. Once this happens, Rivers Casino, as well as all sportsbooks, will begin crunching numbers to determine exactly how much money is coming in. However, all of Pennsylvania’s casinos have already taken a bath from sports wagers.