Cordish Companies to Open Second Pennsylvania Casino During Pandemic

Posted on: January 7, 2021, 02:43h. 

Last updated on: January 7, 2021, 03:49h.

The Cordish Companies is inching closer to opening its second casino in Pennsylvania.

Cordish casino Live! Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Construction of Live! Casino Hotel Philadelphia is complete. Pennsylvania’s newest casino, developed and owned by The Cordish Companies, is set to open later this month. (Image: Philadelphia Weekly)

The Maryland-based hospitality and gaming group opened Live! Casino Pittsburgh on November 24. On January 19, Live! Casino Hotel Philadelphia will welcome its first guests at 4:00 pm ET.

The Philly casino resort is located in the Stadium District, home to the city’s professional sports venues. From January 19 until February 11 at 8:00 pm local time, only Live! Rewards Club members will be permitted, and reservations are required.

“What we have created here is unrivaled anywhere in the country. Sports fans, foodies, gaming enthusiasts, and anyone looking for a night of fun and excitement only has to make one stop to experience it all,” declared Cordish Executive Vice President Joe Billhimer.

Live! Philadelphia is a $700 million project. The 510,000-square-foot complex comes with 2,100 slot machines and 150 table games, 29-table poker room, and FanDuel Sportsbook. The property includes a 12-story hotel with 208 rooms, more than 12 restaurants and bars, and 15,000 square feet of convention space.

What Pandemic?

COVID-19 has devastated the US gaming industry. In Pennsylvania, the state’s 13 commercial casinos have undergone state-ordered closures that have led to steep declines in their brick-and-mortar gaming revenue.

Slot machine GGR in the 2019-20 fiscal year (July 2019 – June 2020) totaled $1.69 billion. That’s a 29 percent decline from the 2018-19 fiscal year when the terminals inside the brick-and-mortar casinos won more than $2.37 billion. Table games won $644 million in the 2019-20FY, a 27 percent drop.

Internet gaming and mobile sports betting has helped, but not enough to offset land-based losses.

Despite the hardships, Cordish is pushing on with its investments in the Keystone State.

There was never a thought of pulling back,” explained Billhimer. “Adding a casino to the already famous sports Stadium District is pretty awesome. And we have a lot of folks that are planning on careers with us — there are thousands of jobs related to this. So, there was never a thought to pull this project.”

Cordish has long been invested in the Stadium District. The company has operated Xfinity Live! since March of 2012. The dining and entertainment center is located on the former site of the Spectrum arena, which was demolished over six months from 2010-2011.

Live! Needs Live Sports

The Stadium District is located south of downtown Philly next to the Navy Yard. Pedestrian traffic is nonexistent in the area, as it sits between I-76 and I-95 highways.

Live! Casino Philadelphia will need live sports, with fans, to resume as soon as possible to keep the property busy. The gaming resort is Cordish’s largest casino development investment to date.

Governor Tom Wolf (D) recently relaxed COVID-19 restrictions that banned indoor dining and forced all casinos in the Commonwealth to shutter. The gaming floors are currently allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.

The vaccine is being distributed across the state, but the governor says the state is nowhere near out of the clear.

“COVID-19 cases are high across Pennsylvania. It’s more important than ever to wear a mask and keep your distance,” a warning on the governor’s website alerts.