Rivera Bets on Online Bingo

When most people think of Las Vegas they think of glamorous upscale casinos and resorts like the Rio or Bellagio. The popularity of bingo in Las Vegas seems to be a well-kept secret but one gaming company is betting on online bingo. The Rivera Hotel and Casino located on Las Vegas’s fabled strip has entered into a partnership with Buffalo Studios, the creators of one of the most popular bingo games on Facebook; Bingo Blitz. The partnership is designed to help the Rivera attract new players and expand into the lucrative world of online gaming.

Bingo Blitz players on Facebook will now be able to play online bingo games on a page adorned with an image of the Rivera. Players on the page will be automatically entered into a contest where winners will win a free trip to the Rivera’s twice a year $200,000 bingo tournaments. Last year the Rivera brought bingo back to the Las Vegas strip in an effort to shore up the company’s troubled finances. In 2010 the Riviera Holdings Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Rivera also sold its casino in Black Hawk Colorado for $76 million.

The Rivera has been challenged by its isolated location on the north Strip. At one time the strip was the heart of the Las Vegas casino industry. Now the strip is dotted with vacant lots low end shops and resorts that are well past their prime. The Rivera’s location has discouraged walk in traffic and has made it difficult for the resort to raise its rates. Riviera CEO Andy Choy stated “The property just kind of lost relevance. What we are really trying to do now to bring it out of bankruptcy is to make it relevant in today’s market place.”

The Rivera’s partnership with Buffalo Studios and Bingo Blitz is an attempt by the company to lure younger players and modernize the company’s operations. In 2011 Bingo Blitz was the seventh most recommended game on Facebook. Millions of players log in daily to win virtual coins and talk to other bingo fans. The Rivera hopes that those virtual coins will translate into real cash for the bingo room. The Rivera’s Superstar Bingo tournament features 56 games over a two day period with a minimum game payout of $3,000. The Rivera charges players $150 to participate in the tournament.

The Rivera opened in 1955 and features 800 slot machines and boasts a 100,000 square foot casino floor. It remains to be seen whether bingo will save the struggling gaming company.

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