Soon the dice will be rolling, slots will be spinning, and dining and entertainment will be happening all inside Live! Casino Pittsburgh at Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield Township.
On Thursday, the casino hosted a tour for media members to get a sneak peak of the 100,000-square-foot, two-level facility located at the former Bon-Ton store. The $150-million casino owned by Maryland-based The Cordish Companies is set to open Nov. 24 to the public. With less than a week until Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, the gaming, dining and entertainment attractions are in place, as staff is working tirelessly to prepare for the grand opening.
Casino officials touted their “Play It Safe” coronavirus (COVID-19) safety plan which focuses on masking, temperature checks, social distancing, and repeated cleaning of high-traffic areas, slot machines and table game equipment.
“We’re going to offer the safest environment that we possibly can,” General Manager Sean Sullivan said.
The first-floor gaming area features 750 of the latest slots and 30 live-action table games. Plexiglass separates players and dealers at both slots and table games to provide additional protection amid the pandemic.
Sullivan said safety measures are in place such that when a guest sits down to play at a slot machine, the adjacent two slots may automatically shut off, and will remain so until staff disinfects the area, “so you are always in a socially-distanced space.”
The first floor also features family-friendly Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen + Bar, which also welcomes guests under age 21.
“Guy wanted to create a classic diner vibe, but in a modern, hip place,” Reed Cordish, principal with The Cordish Companies said. Fieri is expected to eventually visit the Hempfield Township casino to welcome his latest restaurant, Cordish added.
Located in close proximity to his restaurant is a “High Limit” area with a bar of its own, including additional slots and table games.
A 45-foot LED video screen enables guests to view live sporting events from two levels of the facility. At the bottom floor is a bar with seven TV screens and a sportsbook through FanDuel.
“We hope this will be the place to watch sports in the whole area,” Cordish said.
Guests can walk upstairs to the second floor where they’ll find Sports & Social Steel City, a 445-seat restaurant with two bar areas — including a wide variety of interactive social games, such as a four-lane bowling alley, a golf simulator, ping pong, shuffleboards, darts and more.
“Sports & Social will become a great part of this community,” Cordish added.
This dining and entertainment concept is anchored around professional sports entertainment districts around the country, including Atlanta, Georgia and Arlington, Texas, creating a year-round fan clubhouse atmosphere with live music several nights a week.
“I think the reason it’s so popular — and we are so proud to bring it to Live! Casino — is that it truly offers something for everybody,” Cordish noted.
The second floor also has a stage for live musical performances, and a banquet room that can be reserved for parties, meetings, events and more.
Just beyond that on the top floor is the newly-announced PBR Pittsburgh, a country-themed bar which features a mechanical bull, two bars and VIP area.
The location is the Professional Bull Riders’ 10th restaurant chain opening across the country, and it is expected to open next year as part of a second phase of openings.
“It is an awesome entertainment concept,” Cordish said. “People are going to love it, and we can’t wait for it to open next year in 2021.”
The casino will host a series of invitation-only private events, including charity nights on Nov, 14-15 to benefit the Westmoreland County Food Bank and Sage’s Army. For the casino’s grand opening Nov. 24, doors open at 6 a.m.
Casino officials said the venue, expected to provide more than 500 permanent new jobs for local and regional residents, sets the precedent for casinos nationwide.
Officials expect the casino to generate more than $188 million in annual economic impact, with an additional $148-million impact from construction. The project will also bring in $47.5 million in annual tax revenue, officials say.
“We said at the onset that we would deliver a world class experience to Westmoreland (County) — excellent quality in architecture, design, gaming, entertainment and dining,” Cordish said.
“We are confident that we are doing so, and we are excited to deliver, or over-deliver, on everybody’s expectations.”
Added Sullivan: “I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and this is probably the last jewel in the crown...this is a unique opportunity, and they brought it to Westmoreland County.”