Photo by Justin Criado

The Rivers Casino celebrated its fifth birthday Friday, Aug. 8 with a “First Five” anniversary event.

 

 By Justin Criado

The Rivers Casino turned five-years-old over the weekend.

Barely out of infancy, the city’s first casino celebrated with a “First Five” anniversary event Friday evening, Aug. 8.

“I can actually remember standing out on the porte cochere five years ago for our grand opening,” Rivers Casino CEO Greg Carlin said during the event. “A few hours before the opening, I ripped my sport jacket.  Somebody told me to go to Larrimor’s. I rushed to Larrimor’s and bought a new jacket.

“ I’m actually wearing the jacket tonight.”

Nearly 300 community leaders, officials and guests attended the celebration, including Pittsburgh Penguins COO Travis Williams and State Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline.

As chairman of the Sports & Exhibition Authority, Fontana joined Williams in presenting the Rivers Casino a commemorative plaque, which will be displayed this upcoming hockey season at the Consol Energy Center.

“I brag about the Rivers Casino to my colleagues in Philadelphia and around the state,” Fontana said. “It’s a great venue. It’s clearly an asset to the city of Pittsburgh and this region here.”

The casino opened its doors officially on Aug. 9, 2009 as a slot machines-only casino. Now the casino features 83 table games, 30 poker tables and 2,900 slots.

Fontana, Williams, Carlin and Rivers Casino CEO Craig Clark all spoke during the event, citing the casino’s growth, community outreach and partnerships that made such a venture possible.

“Since the very beginning we’ve been working with the Northside businesses and community leaders along with the Hill District, their members and constituents to demonstrate our commitment to be a proud community partner,” Clark said.

He added: “As a general manger of a casino I’ll be the first to admit that playing lucky is an important part of winning, but we have also had a lot of help and a ton of support from the community and that’s why we’re here tonight.”

The casino has a community service program, which constitutes its team members to dedicate at least one day every month to community outreach.

Recently, Rivers team members partnered with the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing to create a garden space behind the Northside Coalition Senior Housing building at 1500 Brighton Place.

After the plaque presentation, guests were treated to a concert by Grammy award winners Billy Davis, Jr. and Marilyn McCoo, founders of The 5th Dimension, before fireworks closed out the festivities at dusk.

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By Justin Criado
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By Justin Criado
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