Pennsylvania will soon host its seventh retail sportsbook. The Valley Forge Turf Club should open its doors sometime in the next two weeks, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) Chief Counsel Doug Sherman.
The launch will mark the second off-track betting location to offer Pennsylvania sports betting. South Philadelphia Turf Club opened in January 2019.
Both turf clubs are owned by Greenwood Gaming, which also owns Parx Casino. Thus, Greenwood will own more sportsbooks in Pennsylvania than any other operator.
Coincidentally, both turf clubs plan to raise their admission age from 18 to 21. While horse racing allows betting for 18 and up, the off-track betting parlors will adhere to sports betting’s age limits.
Valley Forge Turf Club sportsbook details
The new sportsbook will be the result of a $500,000 renovation of the existing OTB parlor area. The updates include the addition of several high-definition televisions and improved surveillance equipment.
Valley Forge Turf Club will also have the following features:
- 6 tellers and 14 kiosks for sports betting
- 23 tellers and 13 kiosks for horse racing
The kiosks will be Novomatic-TV-830 model machines. Greenwood Gaming already has 30 of these machines in operation at the other two sportsbooks. Kambi, Parx’s sports betting partner, powers the kiosks.
How things are going at South Philly Turf Club
The debut of a second off-track betting parlor-turned-sportsbook would suggest that things are going swimmingly at South Philadelphia Turf Club (SPTC). So far, there is only limited information about how well the SPTC is doing.
Last month, the SPTC accepted $858,130 in wagers. From that handle, the book held $91,835, the lowest revenue amount in the state.
Bear in mind that the SPTC opened its doors on Jan. 17. So, that figure represents two weeks of service.
However, Harrah’s Philadelphia did not launch its retail sportsbook until a week later, on Jan. 24. Yet, Harrah’s managed to keep $103,569 out of just over $615,000 in handle.
So, the newer casino-based sportsbook ran far more efficiently than its OTB counterpart. Harrah’s Philadelphia, in fact, had an operating profit margin (revenue divided by handle) of 16.82 percent in January 2019.
As it turns out, in terms of operating profit margin, Harrah’s outperformed every sportsbook in Pennsylvania aside from Parx. In fact, the SPTC was the next-most-efficient location, with a hold percentage of 10.7 percent.
Based upon this metric (if not absolute numbers), the SPTC was quite successful. So, perhaps the Valley Forge Turf Club’s debut makes sense after all.
Two other sportsbooks on the horizon
The Valley Forge Turf Club’s debut would, indeed, be the seventh sportsbook to open in Pennsylvania. However, that number should grow larger in a very short time. In fact, another property might beat the OTB to the punch.
Valley Forge Casino is on a similar launch trajectory. It is likely that the book will open in time to accept wagers on March Madness games.
Presque Isle Downs should also open its sportsbook in March or April. So, by the time the summer rolls around, there will likely be nine different retail sportsbooks active in the Keystone State. Hopefully, after that, the focus can shift to getting online sport betting off the ground.