PA Sports Betting License Requests Start Trickling In, With Parx Stepping Up As Second Applicant

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The parent company of Parx Casino has officially filed applications to offer sports betting at not only its Bensalem property, but at its off-track betting (OTB) facility, the South Philadelphia Turf Club, as well.

Parx becomes the second Pennsylvania casino to officially submit a sports betting application, which come at the whopping price of $10 million a pop. Penn National, owner of Hollywood Casino, was the first to take the plunge, requesting its permit on August 17.

Under Pennsylvania’s new expanded gambling law, slot licensees (i.e. the state’s 12 land-based casinos) may purchase a license to offer sports betting on-property, at a temporary facility or through websites and mobile apps.

PA lawmakers, known for their willingness to bleed casinos dry through sky high taxes and fees, surprisingly, decided not to gouge owners of OTB facilities in regards to sports wagering. If approved, the Turf Club will be free offer sports betting under the Parx license, at no additional charge.

Regulators have stated that applications likely won’t be approved until November, disappointing news for casinos looking to get up and running quickly to cash in on this year’s NFL season.

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Parx teams up with GAN

Parx’s decision to file for a sports certificate comes as no surprise. In late July, the company broadcast its intentions to offer the vertical through its existing partnership with iGaming platform provider GAN.

Parx has a long-standing relationship with GAN, beginning when the software maker was tapped to run the casino’s social gaming site in 2015. Naturally, GAN was also chosen to power Parx’s real-money online casino, when the industry is greenlighted sometime in the near future.

Parx was first in line when it came to purchasing an online gambling license in the state, paying $10 million for the right to offer virtual table games, slots and online poker.

While GAN’s award-winning platform is already robust, the company was lacking in terms of sports betting capability. To round out its offering – and compete in the new post-PASPA world – GAN inked a deal with SBTech, a software developer known for its expertise in the sports wagering vertical.

GAN also has a presence in New Jersey, where it provides the platform for Betfair and Ocean Casino’s online gaming sites. In addition, DFS giant FanDuel will integrate the company’s software into its upcoming online and mobile sportsbook in the Garden State.

The Turf Club’s prime position

The South Philadelphia Turf Club is located in the Keystone State’s sports epicenter, in close proximity to Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center, and thus is uniquely positioned to offer sports betting to local and visiting fans.

Greenwood Gaming submitted the OTB facility’s application separately from its Parx property, due to the fact that the property must get approval from not only the PGCB, but from the State Horse Racing Commission as well.

In the application, the company made its case:

“GGE is eminently suitable and qualified to conduct sports wagering, and its sports wagering operations will provide substantial benefits to the public in the Commonwealth. Specifically as to the operation of non-primary locations in the conduct of sports wagering in such facilities… Greenwood Racing Inc. (GRI), is a leader in the North American wagering industry… GRI has top-notch facilities and equipment supporting its operations and highly experienced managers prepared to oversee sports wagering operations.”

Live! Hotel and Casino on the way

Another virtual lock for sports betting is the soon-to-be-built Live! Hotel and Casino, a joint venture between Parx’s parent company and Cordish Cos. of Baltimore.

The partners were successful in securing the state’s one remaining Philadelphia casino license in 2014, and plan to build a gaming complex which includes a 220-room hotel and casino boasting 2,000 slots, over 100 table games and a 33-table poker room.

Like the Turf Club, Live! will also be situated right in the middle of the state’s sports action, just a short distance from PA’s sports arenas.

Those hoping to bet on sports at Live! have a wait ahead of them, however. Construction has not yet begun, and the casino won’t be up and running until at least 2020.

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Bill Grinstead

Bill has over a decade of experience working in diverse aspects of the online gambling space. He is currently focused on legal, US online gaming, which he has reported on since the industry first became regulated in the country.

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