Two new sportsbooks are arriving in Pennsylvania just in time for March Madness.
Both Valley Forge Turf Club and FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino began testing this week. Now area bettors have two new options for gaming before the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off on March 21.
FanDuel Sportsbook started testing on Monday. Valley Forge Turf Club followed suit on Tuesday. The Valley Forge Casino book launches officially on Wednesday. Turf Club’s full launch is set for Thursday.
“The goal the whole time was to be open for March Madness,” Jeff Lowich, senior director of retail for FanDuel, told Philly.com. “It’s hard to understand it until you’ve either been through it or seen it. Once you go through that, you don’t want to sit at home and watch a fight or a game on your couch. Whether you’re with friends or even strangers, when you’re in a sportsbook, it’s just fun.”
Former Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek is scheduled to attend the sportsbook’s grand opening. He will place the ceremonial first bet.
FanDuel looking to build on NJ success
Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming purchased Valley Forge Casino last September. Since then, it added more than $40 million in upgrades to the property.
The casino’s sportsbook aims to continue the success of the FanDuel brand, which launched its first sportsbook last summer at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. According to Legal Sports Report, FanDuel’s Meadowlands property led all New Jersey sportsbooks in combined digital and retail revenues from December to January, taking in over $16 million.
Now, the brand will branch across the region with its first sportsbook in Pennsylvania, a rapidly growing sports betting market. The Keystone State should have at least nine sportsbooks open before football season.
“People are already familiar with FanDuel,” Boyd Gaming spokesperson David Strow said in January. “It’s a reason for people to come to Valley Forge Casino Resort and give our product a try.”
Valley Forge Turf Club is Parx’s third book
Valley Forge Turf Club in Oaks, PA, started taking bets on Tuesday. The sportsbook recently completed a $500,000 renovation to prepare for the opening. The improvements include several high-definition televisions and improved surveillance equipment.
Last month, Greenwood Gaming, which also owns Parx Casino in Bensalem, opened a sportsbook at South Philadelphia Turf Club. With the arrival of the Valley Forge property, Greenwood will become a clear leader in Pennsylvania’s sports betting industry with three of the eight PA sportsbooks.
In court filings for its bid to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the company highlighted the strengths of Valley Forge Turf Club.
“Situated near Philadelphia’s ‘Main Line,’ the facility is ideally suited for a sports wagering operation as it is easily accessible to sports fans and travelers,” Greenwood’s court filings read, according to Philadelphia Business Journal.
PA closing the gap on NJ sports betting
With the arrival of two more sportsbooks this month, Pennsylvania is moving closer to challenging its neighbor New Jersey on the sports betting front. New Jersey is home to more sportsbooks. More importantly, the Garden State’s big edge is digital wagers. Online betting accounts for roughly 80 percent of all wagers in New Jersey. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania isn’t expected to launch online betting until July.
This month’s wagers might provide an interesting glimpse into what the future holds. With Pennsylvania claiming about 3.8 million more people than New Jersey, PA could soon overtake its neighbor in gambling revenue once mobile betting arrives. For now, the state’s casinos can simply expect record revenues in February for its relatively new betting industry. Hopefully, the Super Bowl gave the industry a big boost compared to January.
As for March, PA has two new properties are entering the fray and the immensely popular NCAA Tournament, which should make for another good month.