Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady (former working name Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor) has announced details of their grand opening for 12 p.m. (noon) on Wednesday, February 8. The $330 million casino is the first-ever Las Vegas-style gaming venue in the Capital Region of New York state and will debut a year plus a few days after the official groundbreaking ceremony on February 3, 2016.

An amazing feat considering most venues of this size either take much longer to complete or are opened in phases, with the casino first, in order to maximize potential revenue. Although the spa will open later in February, and the attached 165-room hotel component isn’t scheduled to open before summer, all other amenities are locked and loaded, ready to roll out to the public in one fell swoop in just two weeks. Having followed the casino’s progress from site location, to license and groundbreaking, and now to the official launch in two weeks –  we’ve rarely seen such well organized, smooth and unfettered execution in today’s market mired by sore losers, lawsuits, so-called grassroots organizations, and naysayers.

Of course, the center of attention for most visitors will be the 50,000 sq ft gaming floor loaded with 1,150 slots, 67 Las Vegas-style table games, a high-limit area, and a 15 table poker room. In addition, Van Slyck’s Entertainment Lounge and all five restaurants will open to guests.

“Our team has been working around the clock to make Rivers Casino & Resort a reality for the Capital Region, and I can’t say enough great things about our construction partners and the hundreds of team members we’ve hired over the past weeks,” said Mary Cheeks, General Manager of Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. “February 8 is the day that Rivers celebrates the start of a lasting positive relationship with the Capital Region and that we welcome our first guests in to experience the quality and care we take in our customer experience.”

The entire property including surface and garage parking will open at noon, but valet parking won’t be available until 6 p.m. Big crowds are expected for opening day so visitors should be sure to follow instructions on temporary signage as well as those from Schenectady Police officers and Rivers team members.

Those who take their casino fun seriously will appreciate the property’s Rush Rewards Player’s Club. Simply present your Rush card to a dealer, or insert in a machine before playing to earn points good for free play, food offers, entries into promotional drawings, discounted room rates, valet parking, personalized casino host services and much more. Throughout the month of February, members will earn $5 in Free Slot Play for every 200 tier points earned, with a maximum bonus of $25 per gaming day. Better yet, present a valid and active mid to high-level loyalty card from a regional casino to receive an automatic upgrade to the corresponding Rush Rewards tier. There are three tiers of Rush Rewards benefits.

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Guests will be able to enjoy all of Rivers Casino & Resort’s restaurant options on Opening Day. The range of concepts and flavors will offer high quality and great atmosphere to guests, whether they’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down, relaxed dining experience. All five restaurants will be operated by local favorite the Mallozzi Restaurant Group.


Dukes Chophouse was designed from the ground up to offer guests a fun and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy a superior dining experience, with seating for upwards of 100 guests.


FLIPT will serve up specialty burgers and sandwiches, hot dogs, sides, salads and more. A Build Your Burger option and staff recommendations have made FLIPT a favorite at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.


Mian will offer a contemporary take on an array of Asian cuisine favorites. Mian has been a popular option at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines since day one.


Johnny’s To Go will carry a selection of favorites from the popular downtown Schenectady Italian restaurant, ready to go on short notice.


Villa Italia, another Schenectady favorite, will serve a selection of favorite pastries and cookies alongside unmistakable Villa Italia coffee, 24/7.


Amenities and Entertainment


Guests will also be able to experience Rivers Casino’s quality amenities.


Van Slyck’s will be the region’s premiere location to enjoy live music and televised sporting events. The entertainment lounge will have its own gaming positions, featuring 34 slot machines and a number of table games, including craps, roulette and blackjack, as well as a stage to host bands, DJs and other live entertainment. Guests will enjoy a range of specialty cocktails and craft beers.


On Opening Day, Van Slyck’s will be host to a day-long lineup of live music from local and regional bands and DJs.


Splash Spa at Rivers Casino, which will open later in February, will offer a full suite of beauty and relaxation treatments, including but not limited to manicures, pedicures, massages, facials, a blow out bar, scalp and body treatments and makeup. The full service spa located inside the resort, will offer visitors the utmost in comprehensive services designed to maximize comfort, relaxation and inner peace.


Splash is located in the casino’s entrance promenade, and thus accessible to guests under the age of 21. It will be operated by local businesswoman and beauty industry veteran Maria Ho, owner of the successful “Splash” Nail Spa in Niskayuna.


Beyond Opening Day, the Rivers Casino & Resort Event Center will be host to private events, conferences and weddings. The 10,000-square-foot multiuse space can be divided into multiple rooms and is just steps away from the action of the gaming floor. The Event Center can accommodate up to 600 guests for a sit-down dinner or 900 for receptions and other events. There is an adjacent pre-function space, and patio space that looks over the Mohawk River.



Rivers Casino & Resort will be located adjacent to a new mixed-use Mohawk Harbor development currently under construction by the Galesi Group, which constitutes an additional $150 million investment in the 60-acre riverfront property. The mix of residential, retail and commercial space will include a 124-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 50-slip harbor on the Mohawk River and Erie Canal.


For more information on Rivers Casino & Resort, visit www.riverscasinoandresort.com.