Parx Casino Owner Wants Pennsylvania Sports Betting License for Two Locations

Posted on: August 28, 2018, 09:00h. 

Last updated on: August 28, 2018, 08:11h.

Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment – the parent company of Parx Casino – has petitioned the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for a sports betting license that would cover two locations, making it the second group to seek such licensing in the state.

Parx Casino sports betting
The South Philadelphia Turf Club could prove to be a lucrative location for sports betting, as it is located near the home stadiums of all of the city’s major sports franchises. (Image: Samantha Melamed/Philadelphia Inquirer)

The decision comes more than a week after Penn National Gaming became the first operator to try and stake a claim to the coming Pennsylvania sports betting market.

Parx Wants In Despite High Tax Rate

Ever since the state government passed a gaming expansion package last year, it has been clear that online casino games and poker would be coming to Pennsylvania before too long. But the future of sports betting wasn’t quite as clear. While many operators were sure to want access to such a large market, a $10 million licensing fee and 36 percent tax rate led to questions over whether gaming firms would be able to make sportsbooks profitable and competitive in the state.

It’s now clear that at least two companies are willing to gamble on the state, even if the odds aren’t in their favor. Greenwood Gaming filed petitions to offer sports betting at both the Parx Casino in Bensalem and at the off-track betting facility at the South Philadelphia Turf Club.

The Turf Club sportsbook would be covered under the $10 million licensing fee – something that might help Greenwood get more value out of the expensive costs to entry in Pennsylvania. However, it will require additional approvals from the Horse Racing Commission in addition to the Gaming Control Board.

A spokesperson for the gaming board told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the separate applications meant that a sportsbook at Parx could open even while regulatory review of the Turf Club facility was still ongoing, reducing the potential for delays in the process.

Location, Location, Location

The Turf Club sportsbook wouldn’t be an afterthought to one placed in a casino. The location is squarely in the middle of the stadium complex that include Citizens Bank Park, the Wells Fargo Center, and Lincoln Financial Field – the home arenas for all four major Philadelphia sports teams.

Much like the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey, this prime location could easily make a betting facility at the Turf Club a leader in the Pennsylvania market.

It had been expected for some time that Parx would be applying to enter the betting market. In late July, the casino announced that it had partnered with UK-based gaming firm GAN to run both online and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.

What remains to be seen is when the first bets will be taken in the state. While preliminary regulations are in place that will allow for sports betting, the Gaming Control Board won’t meet again until September 12, meaning it would be impossible for any location to earn a license before the start of NFL season.

But even that doesn’t seem to be a realistic start date for sportsbooks in Pennsylvania. The board has made it known that it does not expect to have enough time to evaluate applications before the September meeting, meaning the first legal bets in the state likely won’t come until at least October.