DFS giant FanDuel opened its latest sportsbook on Wednesday afternoon, officially entering the Pennsylvania market.
The FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort gives the company a presence in the Philadelphia market with its location in King of Prussia. The facility seats at least 30 customers, meaning its 29 video screens to display both games and the latest odds will amount to about one per head.
FanDuel will manage the sportsbook as part of a partnership created with Boyd Gaming, which runs the casino. As part of the agreement, FanDuel will use its risk and trading platform and provide betting options on such major professional sports as baseball, basketball, boxing, football, golf, and soccer, and on college football and basketball as well.
Former Philadelphia Eagle Brent Celek made the ceremonial first bet at the book, and the former football player — who sought gambling advice on Twitter — put $20 on Bryce Harper, Philadelphia’s newest sports star, hitting more than 33.5 home runs this season for the Phillies.
Philly Market Already Competitive
FanDuel enters a market that has seen several other sportsbooks open within the last couple of months. Already in place are books from the SugarHouse Casino and Parx South Philadelphia Turf Club in the city. In the suburbs, Parx Casino has a sportsbook in Bucks County, and Harrah’s Philadelphia opened one in Delaware County.
But FanDuel Group’s CEO Matt King is confident there’s still room in a market that’s home to five major professional sports teams and several Division I colleges.
“Our experience operating the top sportsbook in New Jersey at the Meadowlands Racetrack will serve us well as we enter Philadelphia and compete for customers in an area with some of the most passionate and knowledgeable sports fans,” he said.
In addition to the Meadowlands, FanDuel also manages the sportsbook for The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, and runs an online book for New Jersey residents.
Helping Casinos Attract New Gamblers
If the current trend continues, Valley Forge should see a spike in activity from adding a sportsbook on site.
Two weeks ago, representatives from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) sat before the House Appropriations Committee. They told lawmakers that sports betting is helping the state’s casinos attract younger patrons and, as a result, generate even more revenues.
It appears that some of those new players are spending some of their time at table games and slot machines,” PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole told legislators. “We’ve seen a six percent increase in slots and an eight percent increase in tables at those specific properties that are currently offering sports.”
Some elected state leaders want to see sports betting — which just became legal late last year — as well as other forms of gambling available online, and Keystone State officials said they’re working to make that happen.
O’Toole said that casinos which have sportsbook certificates can pursue online books and they’re working with state officials toward establishing those. He added that while some states have seen online sports betting produce more revenue than brick-and-mortar books, he’s not sure that would happen in Pennsylvania.
In January, Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks took in more than $32 million in wagers, and that was with three of the facilities opening during that month. The revenue generated from those bets brought nearly $940,000 into state and local government coffers.