November 17, 2020

Live! Casino holds ribbon-cutting ceremony

VIPs got a glitzy first look of the new Live! Casino Pittsburgh in Hempfield’s Westmoreland Mall at an invite-only ribbon-cutting party Tuesday ahead of the full opening next week.

The guest list included state and local lawmakers along with their family and friends, who were among the first to gamble at the casino’s slot machines and table games and dine at two of its restaurants while being entertained by an aeralist and living statues.

“It’s fantastic, it’s amazing the details and the tools we’ve got to make our customers happy,” said General Manager Sean Sullivan.

The event went on despite record-setting local coronavirus case rates, with more than 100 attendees mingling with little regard for social distancing.

Casino officials say safety is a top priority. The number of patrons will be capped at between 400 and 500, about a quarter of the building’s max capacity. Masks are mandatory and temperature checks will be conducted.

Plexiglass dividers separate the public from dealers and bartenders.

“If you’re sitting at a table or a slot machine, we don’t want you worrying about covid,” Sullivan said.

The casino in the former Bon-Ton store has been in the works since July 2018. The pandemic threw a wrench in every aspect of the project, from construction to day-to-day operations, said Jon Cordish, principal with The Cordish Companies, the Maryland-based company that owns the casino.

“I think we’ve done a tremendous job responding to those challenges in a way that is best in class,” Cordish said.

The ceremony featured several ribbon cuttings, allowing numerous dignitaries to take their turn with the giant scissors while preventing crowding.

State Sen. Kim Ward was among the first to speak, praising Live! Casino for bringing jobs, tax revenue and other economic benefits to a struggling mall.

“Here we are in this mall, which without this casino would be slowly and steadily losing business,” she said.

The casino presented the Westmoreland County Food Bank and addiction outreach organization Sage’s Army with $15,000 each during the ceremony.

In addition to table games and slot machines, Live! Casino Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen + Bar, Sports & Social Steel City restaurant, FanDuel SportsBook, bowling, Skee-ball, a golf simulator and other bar games.

A third restaurant, PBR Pittsburgh, is set to open next year.

The casino opens to the public Nov. 24.

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