Jan 20
by Rolka Nation

Howdy my dear, degenerate gamblin’ friends.  Your ol’ pal Pittsburgh Gil here had quite the proud moment earlier this month.  As you well know, I call Pittsburgh my tried and true hometown.  Pennsylvania legalized the opening of a minimal amount of state-governed casinos a few years ago and the Pittsburgh entry, The Rivers Casino, opened this past August.  While excited that a casino now exists in downtown Pittsburgh, my interest was not overly high.  I would try to check it out on my next visit home but I wouldn’t go out of my way to and I certainly wouldn’t plan a trip around it.  Why you ask?  Simply put…slots only. 

I do enjoy a limited amount of slot play, but table games are the bee’s knees and I never frequent a slots only casino.  Slots are a good temporary distraction after a couple of hours rollin’ the dice or taking blackjack hits.  In that capacity, they’re fine.  But they’re no main event!  It would be like going to a live WWF event in 1988 with a 2-match card consisting of Leaping Lanny Poffo vs. Mr. Perfect followed by The Killer Bees vs. The Bushwhackers.  Fun?  Sure, to a degree.  But without Hulk, the Macho Man, or the Ultimate Warrior…what’s the point?

Well loyal readers, problem solved!  This past Thursday, January 7th, the PA State House passed Senate Bill 711 and, after Governor Ed Rendell’s signature, table games are now legal in the state of Pennsylvania!

On the surface, the benefits of this are vast.  First and foremost, the legalization of the games and the revenue they’re planned to generate will prevent the Governor from having to layoff about 1,000 state employees in order to balance the state budget.  Secondly, it will of course create jobs.  The Rivers Casino alone is planning approximately 80 tables games which will require the hiring of an additional 300-350 employees.  And finally, interest in the casinos should skyrocket to a new level, especially to the table game enthusiasts such as myself.

The Rivers already has about 3,000 slots and initial reviews have appeared very positive in terms of the facility being a fun, flashy Vegas style environment.  That’s great but many (not all, mind you) customer testimonies have complained about those slots being too tight.  While there may be a shred of truth to this, I”m a believer in that most people who take the time and effort to go online and write a review of an establishment do so because of being stung by a bad experience.  Those people may have valid points, but most people who have pleasant ones tend to not write these reviews.  Therefore, a collection of reviews tends to look overwhelmingly negative at times when, in fact, it’s an inaccurate picture of experiences by all customers.  But hey, even if true, the addition of table games makes this irrelevant anyway.

With its perfectly located downtown spot, I can’t wait to make it back home to check out The Rivers.  I will detail an ideal gambling-oriented Pittsburgh trip in an upcoming post, but we’ll be rollin’ craps, dealing blackjack, spinning the roulette wheel, and buying into poker tourneys in Pittsburgh sometime between July and September when the tables open.  Bring it!

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