Casino patrons in the Philadelphia area will soon have another sportsbook to choose from.
On Tuesday, Parx Casino in Bensalem will open its temporary sportsbook in its 360 Lounge. The book, which will be equipped with seven betting windows and a dozen kiosks, will open to the public at 2 p.m. local time. For the casino and state gaming regulators, it’s technically a soft launch, but it won’t appear that way to the betting public.
There will also be sports betting kiosks sprinkled around the Greenwood Gaming casino.
Though the opening is slightly overdue, it will come at a good time. The Philadelphia Eagles play the Chicago Bears on Sunday, which means the hometown football team could still have several more games to play, which would create an especially lucrative opportunity for the new sports betting businesses.
The wait is over
Parx will become the fourth casino in the Keystone State with a sportsbook. The property originally planned to open in late November or early December, but the date was pushed back into January. The casino actually sent an email out to customers informing them of the January launch on the same day that the rival SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia opened its sportsbook.
Parx was the second of the state’s 12 casinos to apply for a sports betting license, which cost $10 million, so it being No. 4 out of the gate does mark a slight delay.
The casino partnered with the Kambi Group for its bookmaking. Kambi also is a partner with SugarHouse and Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino, which opened the same day as SugarHouse. The first casino to the party was Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in late November.
In addition to spending $10 million on the sportsbook license, Parx is investing $10 million into its permanent sportsbook, slated to open in the first half of 2019. In addition to spending at least $20 million for sports betting, Parx will pay a 36% tax on its sports betting revenue, but clearly that hasn’t tempered excitement for the new casino offering.
Online/mobile in the pipeline
Pennsylvania will soon have four retail sportsbooks, but there still isn’t an internet-based product available in the state. That could come in the first half of 2019. Parx will more than likely be among the first casinos to launch remote sports wagering available effectively anywhere within state borders.
Sports betting will be just one form of internet gaming offered by state casinos. Parx partnered with GAN for its internet-based sports betting offering, as well as its upcoming online casino.
The platform from Parx will include slots, table games like blackjack, poker, and sports betting.
Parx told PennBets in late October that online/mobile sports betting could be up and running by February. However, that was before the brick-and-mortar opening was pushed back. It’s more than likely the retail delay will push online/mobile back, as Pennsylvania gaming regulators have not shown themselves to be in any rush to give sports betting operations the final green light.
Parx was the first Pennsylvania casino to apply for an online casino license.
South Philadelphia Turf Club
Greenwood Gaming also owns the South Philadelphia Turf Club, a horse racing track that will also be able to have a sportsbook. The track could have a very successful sportsbook thanks to its close proximity to Philadelphia’s stadiums. Pennsylvania gaming regulators have also approved the track for sports wagering, but there’s no timeline for that opening. A spring opening appears likely at this juncture.
Greenwood was able to apply for approval for the Turf Club location under the $10 million fee it paid for the Parx sportsbook. Regulators indicated the Parx book had to open first.
Though the Turf Club won’t be able to immediately capitalize on the demand for betting on the games happening at Lincoln Financial Field, the sportsbook could be open in time for opening day for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The track is part of the city’s South Philadelphia Sports Complex.
Eagles and Caesars
The news of the upcoming Parx opening came at roughly the same time as the announcement that Caesars Entertainment and the NFL forged a casino partnership. Caesars, owner of Harrah’s Philadelphia, already had a marketing deal with the Eagles, so the league-level partnership further solidifies things.
The linking of Caesars and the NFL will increase the competition for the local sports betting market.
Harrah’s filed for a sports betting license in September, and was approved at the same time as SugarHouse and Rivers. Its opening should happen soon.
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