By Steve Beauregard
Residents and visitors to Pittsburgh don’t have far to travel to get their gambling fix on as there is a large spacious casino right in the heart of the city. Another casino is just 25 miles away.
These two casinos, The Rivers (in Pittsburgh), and Meadows Racetrack & Casino south of the city in Washington County are bustling joints.
Combined, they bring in over half a billion dollars of gaming revenue a year, per the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Each of these casinos have thousands of slot machines, numerous table games as well as the kind of dining options and entertainment venues you’d find at Las Vegas Strip casinos.
Here’s a brief look at the casinos in and around Pittsburgh.
Rivers Casino is the only casino in Pittsburgh
Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh
The only casino in Pittsburgh, the Rivers is on the north shore, on the banks of the Ohio River, just a few hundred feet from Heinz Field.
It opened in 2009 with just slot machines, but table games were added the following year.
Having a monopoly in Steel City, Rivers Casinos does very well. In fact, of the twelve casinos in Pennsylvania, Rivers is the 3rd busiest, only behind Parx Casino outside of Philadelphia and the Sands Bethlehem.
Rivers has 2,934 slot machines/video poker machines. There are two separate video poker areas, one smoking, the other non-smoking.
(On the map below, the red star is the Rivers Casino while the black star represents the Meadows Racetrack & Casino)
The casino’s array of 122 table games include the standard games, like blackjack, craps, and roulette, along with games like 3-card Poker, Mississippi Stud and mini Baccarat.
Table limits are always subject to change, but The Rivers recently boasted on their site of having, “$5 Blackjack, roulette & craps! All day every day!”
The 28 table poker room spreads the usual no-limit Texas Hold’em games, as well as Omaha Hi-Lo and Pot-limit Omaha. Food service to the table is offered around the clock and there are daily tournaments.
As for dinning, there are five restaurants at Rivers, including causal, the Grand View Buffet, and the Wheelhouse sports bar. Andrew’s Steak & Seafood is more upscale and offers fantastic views of the Ohio River.
(Related:Casinos in and around Philadelphia)
In addition to the four bars, two of which often offer live music, the casino hosts concerts outside in a wonderful setting in their amphitheater on the river bank.
Rivers Casino Parking
The large multi-story attached parking garage offers free parking except for special event days at Heinz Field (i.e. Steelers’ games, concerts, etc.), in which case parking can cost up to (gulp) $60 for self-parking, and $65 for valet parking.
Keep in mind, parking is always free for those of you who have a Rush Rewards players card who have reached the Preferred (Blue) or Signature (Black) levels.
Also, plans are underway for a $51.5 million dollar casino expansion that would add a new restaurant, bar, fitness center, and a 221 room hotel.
Address & Phone
777 Casino Drive
Pittsburgh, PA. 15212
Meadows Racetrack and Casino
The Meadows is located 25 miles southwest of downtown Pittsburgh.
The Meadows Racetrack & Casino is 25 miles from downtown Pittsburgh
The drive on Interstate 79 would take you from 30 minutes or so, however on busy Friday afternoons it can take just over an hour, (according to Google Maps estimates).
While it’s still a new casino, having opened in 2009, the attached horse racing track goes back to 1963.
The casino part is spacious, and offers players a choice of among 3,058 slot machines/video poker machines, and 65 table games.
The 14 table poker room has a progressive bad-beat jackpot and hosts a stop on the Heartland Poker Tour.
Not including the food court, Meadows has five different restaurants, including the Carvery Buffet, which offers views of the racetrack.
Other amenities include an ultra-lounge, entertainment venue, bars of course, and a 24-lane bowling alley.
Multi-story parking garage on both sides of the casino offer gamblers plenty of free parking options.
And while Meadows technically is not a casino/hotel, there is a newer Hyatt hotel that is attached to the resort via an enclosed pedestrian walkway.
Address & Phone
210 Racetrack Road
Washington, PA. 15301
Other casinos close to Pittsburgh
Wheeling Island Hotel/Casino/Racetrack: Located across the border in West Virginia, 60 miles to the south and west on I-79 and I-70.
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin – 69 miles south and east of Pittsburgh, or at least a good hour and ½ away.
Casino photos courtesy of VisitPittsburgh.com