Sunday, August 23, 2009

i love/hate the new casino

Pittsburgh's new Rivers Casino opened two weeks ago. It sits on the riverfront on the North Shore, right beside the Carnegie Science Center. The bike trail goes right through the property. The first time I biked past it, I was mesmerized. And the next time I biked past it, I was mesmerized. The first week it opened, I wanted to go there nearly every night. And then...we went there this past week. And gambled. And lost.

Things I Love About the Casino
1. It's a very quick bike ride from my house, about 15 minutes.
2. The outdoor light poles have speakers that play the casino music.
3. It's a fairly cool, slightly modern design. It puts the Mountaineer and other local rinky-dink casinos to shame.
4. It has beautiful landscaping along the river trail and a nice amphitheater.
5. It has a lot of big windows so you can see the three-story, glowing chandelier and people having fun in the bar.

Things I Hate About the Casino
1. Absolutely no good vegetarian food options. Pre-packaged salads and pizza don't count.
2. The faux exclusivity vibe of the only formal restaurant, Andrew's Steak & Seafood, is annoying. Both D and I and other people I know have been turned away for not having reservations, when nearly half the tables were empty.
3. No bike parking.
4. A confusing, tight parking garage on the inside, a monstrosity from the outside.
5. Tight, deceptive slots. When Dave and I played the nickel slots, we didn't realize it was defaulted to the maximum bet...of $5! We wondered why our money was going so fast. Even the penny slots were defaulted to a minimum bet of 40 cents, so the cheapest good slots to play (you could play some true penny slots, but they were all on cheesy machines) were the quarter slots. Because nickels are usually my high limit, I wasn't happy about that. We quickly lost $30.

The casino has been carefully designed to take my money. I don't like that. But it is still calling me...will I be able to resist its temptations?