On Monday, New Jerseyans playing at PlaySugarHouse will find themselves betting at BetRivers Online Casino and Sportsbook instead.
It’s a purely cosmetic change, so users needn’t worry. Both brands are owned by the same company, Rush Street Interactive (RSI), so the product won’t change. In fact, over in Pennsylvania, RSI operates two identical sites, one for each brand. Everything is the same, from promotions to featured games to shared progressive slots jackpots.
Even the original PlaySugarHouse branding won’t go away entirely. At least at first, the new site will feature both brands’ logos side by side.
Starting Saturday, Aug 13, RSI will run a promotion called BetRivers Bonus Bash to inform players of the change and familiarize them with the new brand.
To participate, log in daily, and you’ll get a randomized prize. Examples of possible prizes include:
- Cash bonuses
- Wheel spins
- Slot tournament entries
- Free sports bets
Why is PlaySugarHouse Rebranding?
The change of name has been a long time coming.
When Rush Street Gaming (RSG) – from which RSI later spun off – created its online division, it named the product for SugarHouse Casino in Pennsylvania.
RSG’s home state is Illinois, but neither online casinos nor sports betting was legal at the time. With two retail casinos in Pennsylvania and online gambling just about to launch, it decided that the Keystone State would be its focus and SugarHouse its flagship brand.
PlaySugarHouse launched first in NJ in 2018, where iGaming had been legal since 2013. However, it was also one of the first operators out of the gates in Pennsylvania when online casinos debuted there the following year.
It was only a matter of months, though, before RSG decided to make its retail casino branding more consistent. In October 2019, it changed the name of SugarHouse to Rivers Philadelphia. The PlaySugarHouse brand was obsolete a year after it came into existence.
That’s when it launched BetRivers, to keep its online and retail brands coordinated. Many assumed that PlaySugarHouse PA would be folded into the new BetRivers site, and the New Jersey site would be renamed. Instead, the company has kept both sites running in parallel in Pennsylvania, and its New Jersey site has carried on as PlaySugarHouse until now.
PlaySugarHouse Will Live On in Connecticut
Does the New Jersey rebranding mean the time is also coming that RSI will phase out PlaySugarHouse in Pennsylvania? There’s no word on that front as yet.
But one way or another, PlaySugarHouse is not going to disappear entirely.
An interesting footnote to the story is that RSI found some unexpected value in the brand in the small market of Connecticut. There, the obsolescence of the retail casino tie-in turns out to be a benefit, not a flaw.
Last year, the Connecticut government managed to strike an online gambling deal with the two federally-recognized tribes making their home there: the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans.
The tribes got exclusivity over online casinos in return for allowing the state lottery to compete with them in online sports betting. One caveat they insisted on is that the lottery’s partner couldn’t use any branding related to a competing retail casino business. (This was probably mainly intended as a deterrent for BetMGM since the tribes have a longstanding legal battle going with MGM Resorts International).
That meant that when RSI landed the contract, it couldn’t use BetRivers as its brand. PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook was acceptable, however, because SugarHouse Casino no longer exists.