Left: NSLC Executive President Gloria Rayman cuts the Northside’s million dollar cake. (Photo/Kelsey Shea)


August 9, Rivers Casino celebrated its second birthday with cake, a luncheon, a new ballroom and generous donations to Pittsburgh communities, including the Northside.

At a luncheon on Tuesday, Rivers presented $1 million dollar checks to the Northside Leadership Conference and The Hill District and reflected on the casino’s achievements since it opened.

“We’ve certainly come a long way in the past two years,” said Rivers Casino Assistant General Manager Joe Barrett and referenced live music and table games as accomplishments and “game changers,” that helped the casino achieve its financial goals

Barrett also highlighted the role the the casino plays in the Pittsburgh community, and promised the audience it was a priority.

“While reflecting, we remember that one of our main goals is to support Pittsburgh neighborhoods,” he said noting that this year and last year’s donations to neighborhood associations totaled $4 million dollars.

The Northside Leadership Conference and the Hill District community each received $1 million of that funding to reinvest in their communities both this year and last year as a part of a three-year, $3 million dollar commitment the casino made to the communities in its bid for its slot license.

“There’s nothing like 1 million dollars to get some great projects moving,” said Gloria Rayman before accepting the money on behalf of NSLC and cutting the check cake that the casino used in lieu of an actual check.

With last year’s money, the Northside Leadership Conference funded 11 projects, built 42 homes and renovated seven commercial spaces.

“We wouldn’t have been able to done, started or finished some projects without last year’s money,” Rayman said. “This funding is very important.”

The Northside Leadership Conference will work with community groups to decide where to invest this year’s money.

The Hill District’s funds are being held by The Poise Foundation which will help them invest the money. Wheatley said when they are ready to distribute the casino funds, it will be made very public.

The luncheon was followed by a hard hat tour of the casino’s new ballroom which is still under construction, but will be open and hosting events like weddings and conferences next month.

“The banquet hall will be this year’s game changer,” said Barrett about the casino’s newest feature.