SugarHouse brings the beach to the Delaware

SugarBeach, a small beach resort and bar on the Delaware River, will open to the public on Saturday at the SugarHouse Casino with the Ben Franklin Bridge as a backdrop. ELISE WRABETZ / Staff Photographer
SugarBeach, a small beach resort and bar on the Delaware River, will open to the public on Saturday at the SugarHouse Casino with the Ben Franklin Bridge as a backdrop. ELISE WRABETZ / Staff Photographer
Posted: June 30, 2012

To help attract a younger crowd and better compete with Atlantic City's seaside casinos, SugarHouse on Penn's Landing has brought the beach to the city.

Or at least a beach resort of sorts.

The making of SugarBeach on Friday included the delivery of 110 tons of sand and the planting of more than 30 live Florida palm trees along the casino's 7,000-square-foot stretch of waterfront overlooking the Delaware River and the Ben Franklin Bridge.

SugarBeach will debut to the public at 2 p.m. Saturday, and will be open for nine days, with food, drink and entertainment. It aims to compete against the beach bars at some Atlantic City casinos, including Bally's, Trump Plaza and the Atlantic Club. The new $2.4 billion mega casino Revel, which debuted in early April on the Boardwalk, got legislative approval this week to build its own beach bar.

"The first-ever SugarBeach offers Philly a chance to get to the Shore without leaving the city," said SugarHouse general manager Wendy Hamilton. "We've created an oasis on SugarHouse's Delaware waterfront as the perfect alternative to spending hours in traffic and dollars at the pump to celebrate the Fourth of July."

SugarHouse, which opened Sept. 23, 2010, as the city's first and so far only casino, ranked eighth among 11 Pennsylvania gambling halls last month in gross slots revenue at $16.4 million, and third in table games revenue at $6.9 million with 54 table games.

The main competitors are Parx in Bensalem and Harrah's in Chester, each 17 miles away in either direction on I-95. A third area competitor, Valley Forge Casino Resort, debuted March 31. Crews on Friday poured the sand, planted the palm trees, and erected tiki bars, umbrellas and Adirondack chairs to create the beach feel outside SugarHouse.

"A beach bar is a great addition to SugarHouse's non-gaming amenities," said gambling analyst Greg Roselli of UBS Securities L.L.C., "but on the whole, it won't cause a notable change in Atlantic City visitation."

For more information on SugarBeach, go to www.sugarhousecasino.com..

Contact staff writer Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or sparmley@phillynews.com.

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