by Debbie Norrell


Pittsburgh finally has a casino,. It’s hard to believe. I had to be there on opening day just to give it the once over. I felt like I was in Vegas—well, almost.

The place was packed. I found a slot machine to play and found that the machines only take five dollar bills. So if you head there with a wallet full of ones you’ll be out of luck. After I got over the $5 minimum I discovered most of the machines required you to select several lines to play.

All of the machines were new and exciting but I didn’t see any of my old favorites that reminded me of Vegas, Atlantic City or the casinos in Detroit.

As I was walking around taking in the ambiance I encountered a man who was very upset. He had cashed out on the slot machine he was playing and when he went to cash in his ticket at the automated machine he got his cash but no change. In order to get the change he needed to stand in line and see a human. I never heard of that before. Needless to say on opening day the lines were very long.

You know all of that gambling makes one hungry so I checked out the restaurants. What’s a casino without a buffet? The buffet is located on the upper level and it is quite nice, but for a buffet I think it’s pricey. For two is was $60 with tax. You can do lunch for about $12 per person.


The food was plentiful and tasty. I loved the bread pudding and everyone was courteous and friendly.

I spotted several men wearing wife-beaters—I guess they had already lost their shirts. Maybe they were dressed for the weather outside but inside of the Rivers Casino it was freezing.

I will go back once the crowds die down and I officially find out how much the parking is. During the opening week the parking was free. However, I’m hearing that the parking will be rather expensive. This could be a problem if you left all your money in the slots.

The outdoor amphitheater is also a unique feature. Rare Earth performed and the crowd was totally into the performance. The evening was topped off with a grand fireworks display that was out of this world.

The best story I heard about the casino opening came from a friend of mine. Isaiah Dent happened to run into Don Barden and he wanted to take a picture with him. Unfortunately Dent’s camera was not working. Barden said no problem, we’ll take the picture with my camera phone and I will send it to you. Dent felt that he would never see the picture. But in just a few days the picture arrived at his home on Don Barden’s letter head. He was impressed and so was I. We both agree that it’s the little things that count.

So if the staff remains friendly and the food remains good at the Rivers I’ll be back. I’m not addicted to gambling or slot machines but I like the atmosphere and I do know when to stop. The Rivers Casino adds just another facet to Pittsburgh for visitors and the hometown folks to shout about.

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