Playtech Looks to US Expansion via Parx Casino Partnerships

Parx online betting products will get a makeover as Playtech partners with Greenwood Racing for expansion in US markets.

Isle of Man-based Playtech is upping its US expansion through partnerships with companies owned by Greenwood Racing, the parent company of Parx Casino.

Parx is the largest casino in Pennsylvania. Greenwood already offers online casino and land-based sports betting in New Jersey and retail betting in Michigan.

Mor Weizer, Playtech CEO, said:

“This strategic partnership with the Greenwood companies represents a major milestone for Playtech and I’m excited to work with them to help achieve their growth plans in the coming years.

“The US is a highly strategic market and this multi-state, multi-product agreement highlights the demand for the full breadth of our product offering. This is the next step for Playtech in the US and we are delighted to work with the Greenwood companies to capture this exciting long-term opportunity.”

PA, Michigan, Indiana, New Jersey expansion planned for Playtech

The agreements announced via the London Stock Exchange news service will license the company’s products across Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana.

The launch begins with an online casino in Michigan on Playtech’s IMS Platform and Player Account Management.

Greenwood has also announced plans to launch an online offering in Indiana.

Moving from GAN

The company is already in New Jersey via bet365 and also with Entain and now Playtech plans further expansion in the Garden State.

As a consequence of the new partnerships, Parx plans to migrate its current online gambling offering from GAN to Playtech.

No details yet for its online casino presence in PA or any sports betting plans there either.

Playtech Background

Israeli tech and property billionaire Teddy Sagi founded Playtech in 1999. He has since exited the company, selling his holdings.

The London Stock Exchange’s Main Market premium listed the company in 2012. The company has about 6,400 employees across 24 countries.

The business is considered a technology leader in the gambling and financial trading industries. It is also an established leader in poker tech.

Playtech delivers business intelligence-driven gambling software, services, content, and platform technology.

Product verticals include casino, live casino, sports betting, virtual sports betting, bingo, and poker. The omnichannel gambling technology comes through its integrated platform, Playtech ONE.

The platform delivers data-driven marketing expertise, single wallet functionality, customer relationship management, and responsible gambling solutions across retail and online.

PA Online Casinos Lead Gaming Recovery with Record $80 Million January

Online slots, table games and poker in PA crossed $80 million in revenue in January 2021, helping PA gaming post a 2.7% YoY revenue increase.

Despite ongoing disruptions from virus-restricted business conditions, overall gaming revenue in Pennsylvania is up 2.7% over last year, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Revenue during January from all forms of gaming, along with fantasy contests, was more than $311 million. Revenue regulated by the PGCB includes slot machines, table games, internet gaming, sports wagering, fantasy contests, and VGTs.

Total tax revenue generated collectively through all forms of gaming and fantasy contests was more than $127 million during the month.

Restrictions from virus boosted online gaming

And as a likely by-product of COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, January was a record month for PA online casino games. The PGCB reported total iGaming revenue of more than $80.4 million.

That’s the highest amount ever, beating the previous high of $71.6 million set in December 2020 by an impressive 11%.

Online slots revenue was just above $51 million, a huge jump from a year ago when it was $7.2 million. The year-over-year percentage increase comes out to a staggering 609%.

Online table games revenue was nearly $26.7 million, up from just over $4.6 million a year ago. The percentage increase YoY was almost 479%.

Tax revenue generated from internet gaming play during January was more than $32.2 million.

Online poker generated more than $2.7 million with just one operator, a 26.4% boost from a year ago. That was on par with December numbers.

Virus disrupts gaming revenue nationwide in 2020

The virus clearly wreaked havoc on the land-based gaming across the country, according to figures this week from the American Gaming Association.

Commercial gaming revenue totaled $30.0 billion in 2020, down more than 31% YoY, according to the AGA’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker.

The year marked the first market contraction for the gaming industry since 2014 and the lowest gaming revenue total since 2003.

Retail casino numbers hammered

In PA, January’s gross revenue from casino-based slot machines was $140.7 million, a 26.1% decrease compared to the $190.3 million generated in January 2020.

Tellingly, the number of slot machines in operation this past January was just 18,703 compared to 24,126 a year back.

Table games revenue in casinos was likewise off for January with just more than $50.8 million, a decrease of 29.9% from the previous January, when revenue was $72.5 million.

Sports handle up, revenue down slightly

January’s sports betting handle was nearly $615.3 million or 12.2% above December’s record total of $548.6 million. But the taxable revenue for January declined slightly from $34 million to just above $33.9 million.

In January, PA crossed the $100 million mark in lifetime sports betting tax revenue.

VGT and daily fantasy back on track

Video Gaming Terminals, or VGTs,  produced gross revenue of more than $2.2 million and daily fantasy sports (DFS) kicked in revenue of more than $2.9 million. The two segments seem to have recovered from pandemic headwinds.

Online poker was up slightly at $2.7 million compared to $2.4 million in November. There is still just one operator, PokerStars PA, via Mount Airy Resort.

January PA online casino breakdown by operator

A complete breakdown of January revenue, including slots and table games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Penn National (DraftKings, Hollywood, BetMGM)$27.6 million$16.2 million$11.4 million
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$21.0 million$16.5 million$4.5 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$14.7 million$6.8 million$8.0 million
Parx Casino$5.3 million$4.8 million$509,000
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$3.6 million$2.2 million$1.4 million
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$2.8 million$2.2 million$534,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$1.4 million$1.2 million$244,000
Wind Creek Casino$552,000$380,000$173,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia (PlayLive!)$487,000$451,000$37,000
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$182,000$282,000-$100,000
Totals:$77.7 million$51.0 million$26.7 million

Casino operators by the numbers

The clear front-runners in PA’s online casino race remain Penn National (which includes DraftKings, Hollywood, and BetMGM), Rivers Philadelphia (which includes SugarHouse and BetRivers), and Valley Forge, with FanDuel.

A look at top PA online casino operators in January:

  • Penn: Total revenue $27.6 million (slots: $16.2 million; table games: $11.4 million).
  • Rivers Philly: Total revenue $21.0 million (slots: $16.5 million; tables: $4.5 million).
  • Valley Forge: Total revenue $14.7 million (slots: $6.8 million; tables: $8.0 million).

Image via Dreamstime/Anke Van Wyk.

NetEnt, Evolution Online Casino Powerhouse Bearing Fruit for Stock Holders

Evolution Gaming, a market leader in PA and beyond, reported operating revenues were up 68% YoY in Q4 2020, thanks in part to NetEnt.

Casino online game maker NetEnt is now fully integrated with iGaming giant Evolution Gaming, and the merger is paying dividends.

With last year’s late Q2 move to acquire NetEnt for $2.3 billion completed Dec. 1, Evolution reported Wednesday operating revenues were up 68% YoY in Q4 2020 to EUR 177.7 million ($215.5 million). For full year 2020, operating revenue was up 53% YoY to EUR 561.1 million ($680.4 million).

A total of EUR 17.8 million ($21.6 million) of the revenue came from NetEnt. Evolution chief executive Martin Carlesund commented in the company’s year-end report:

“Through the acquisition of NetEnt, we add a second vertical to our unrivaled live casino offer and two strong and fantastic new brands to our product portfolio. This makes us well placed for our long-term ambition of taking a leading global position in online casino.”

Evolution’s stock ($EVO), which trades on Nasdaq Stockholm, is on the rise since the report. It went from around $110 Tuesday to closing over $122 (SEK 1,023) on Thursday. Just six months ago, the stock price was $72.50.

NetEnt a market leader in PA

As an early-in online casino company, NetEnt remains a market leader in PA as well as nationally.

The international company made its US debut in New Jersey in 2015, where it houses its US headquarters. Then NetEnt got initial approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) in March 2019 to operate and went live in July 2019 upon iGaming launch in PA.

Now, most of the PA online casinos carry their titles, of which they have more than 200. Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst and Divine Fortune are some of the most popular.

In addition to their home base in Sweden and their US office, the company has operations in Malta, Gibraltar, Poland, Ukraine, India, and the UK.

NetEnt, Evolution an expanding powerhouse

NetEnt continues to expand its footprint, most recently debuting games at a number of online casinos on Day 1 of Michigan’s iGaming launch. Jeff Millar, Evolution Commercial Director, North America commented:

“America is an absolute priority market for Evolution Group, which is reflected by the scale of NetEnt’s first-day presence in Michigan.”

With NetEnt on board, Evolution is in a unique position to dominate in the online gambling market. A big part of that stems from Evolution’s live dealer games, popular in New Jersey and now PA. Evolution announced it plans to open a third live casino studio in Michigan later this year.

Though the majority of revenue comes from Europe and Asia, the growth potential in the US is immense. According to Millar, the company has much planned for expansion this year:

“We are poised to add more operators in all US markets during 2021 and have a roadmap of high-profile game launches. And, as we’ve once again shown, we’re ready for new markets being switched on and partnering casinos to offer a standout product to their players the minute they go live.

NetEnt continues growth in PA

NetEnt continues to grow market share in the red-hot Pennsylvania online casino market. The company formed some key partnerships in the latter half of 2020. Those included launching games on the Cordish Companies‘ online casino PlayLive! as well as the Wind Creek online casino.

Brian Uran, vice president of marketing for PlayLive!, explained the desire to partner with NetEnt:

“As one of the first suppliers to go-live in Pennsylvania, NetEnt’s portfolio is must-have for any operator looking to compete in the online sector. Partnering with them was a priority for the launch of PlayLive!”

The company also expanded its deal with DraftKings to include PA and neighboring West Virginia, as well as new markets to come.

Brian Kraft, NetEnt vice president commercial, Americas said of the partnership:

DraftKings’ size and market presence make this launch one of the most significant to date. We’re proud to expand our relationship with such a well-known operator and look forward to continuing the success that we’ve achieved together so far. We are thrilled to have such a renowned operator on board as we enter new jurisdictions.

PAOC editor Valerie Cross contributed to this article.

Fly Eagles, Fly: First Pro Sport Slot Game in US Now Available at Unibet PA

Pennsylvania online casino players now have access to a Philadelphia Eagles online slot and Eagles-themed blackjack at Unibet Casino PA.

As if betting on the Philadelphia Iggles wasn’t enough of an adventure recently, Unibet Casino now offers die-hard Eagles fans an option to wager on the first pro sports-themed online slot in Pennsylvania.

First slot in the US to feature pro sports team

It’s also a first in the US. As of yet, there are no other professional sports themed slots at legal online casinos.

Unibet partners with Mohegan Sun Pocono for both its online casino and online sportsbook, and is part of the Kindred Group.

Innovatively, Unibet allows gamblers to toggle back and forth seamlessly between the online casino and the online book.

The new slot offering is made possible by Unibet’s continued partnerships with the Eagles and online game provider Pala Interactive. Kindred recently extended its Pala partnership to additional states.

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Details of the Eagles slot game at Unibet

The “Eagles Online Slot” game has familiar Eagles symbols, snappy snare drums setting down the beat, and appropriate scrimmage grunting.

The game has 27 lines, five reels, and three rows.

Hitting three or more free spin symbols activates free spins with multipliers. Three wheel bonus symbols on an active pay line activates the wheel bonus game.

The wild symbol subs for any symbol except for free spins and the wheel bonus signal.

New Unibet slot follows Eagles blackjack

The new game follows closely behind the debut of “Eagles Blackjack.”

Until Jan. 28 at 11:59 p.m., the two games offer a chance to win up to $5,000 in a leaderboard points race called Eagles End Zone Rush. Details are spelled out online under “promos and offers.”

Kindred vice president Jonathan Aiwazian said:

“With the tremendous response we have seen to the release of `Eagles Blackjack’, we are thrilled to be able to deliver a second sports-themed game to the Pennsylvania market, this time within the slot category.

“The partnership with the Philadelphia Eagles continues to be a source of innovation and delight to fans and customers of both organizations”

The Eagles see the games as a way to connect with fans.

Eagles senior vice president for revenue and strategy, Catherine Carlson, said fans quickly embraced the blackjack game and they expect the same with the new slot game.

Said Carlson:

“We are always seeking new and creative ways to connect with Eagles fans throughout the year. We are excited to roll out ‘Eagles Online Slot’ to fans and look forward to growing our innovative partnership offerings with Unibet.”

Unibet online casino bonus

Our sign-up bonus for Unibet will get you a 100% percent match on your first deposit, up to $500.

New players can also get a free $10 just for signing up, using our bonus codes.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Julio Cortez

PA Online Casino Revenue Surges Past $70 Million in December 2020 with Big Push from Penn

PA online casinos set new record highs in December 2020, helped along by retail casino closures and new additions like BetMGM.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced a new monthly record for revenue generated by iGaming. December sports wagering handle was also the highest ever for PA.

Casino games online generated more than $71.6 million in gross revenue during December 2020 compared to just above $10.6 million a year earlier.

December easily eclipsed the previous revenue high for online casino gaming, set in October 2020 at more than $59.7 million.

Online casino and online table games together had revenue of nearly $68.9 million in December. By contrast, retail revenue collectively tallied just more than $59.2 million.

Tax revenue generated from internet gaming play during December 2020 was more than $29 million.

Closures much of month for retail hurt revenue

The record results for iGaming came during a month in which retail operations at casinos and video gaming terminals (VGT) went dark.

Operations ceased on December 12th and remained closed through the end of the month due to statewide COVID-19 restrictions.

Even before that, the number of retail slot machines in operation on Dec. 11, 2020 – the day before a forced closure – was only 16,957 compared to 24,116 at the casinos on Dec. 30, 2019, according to the PGCB.

Some key figures from the December 2020 revenue report:

  • Online casino revenue was up a staggering 730.2% year over year.
  • Land-based casino slots were down 77.5% YoY.
  • Internet table games revenue was up 776.9% YoY.
  • Retail table games were down 78.2% YoY (from $78.1 million in Dec. 2019 down to $17.1 million last month).

With the closures, the combined total revenue in December from all forms of gaming and fantasy contests was more than $168.7 million, representing a decrease of 42.2% compared to revenue generated in December 2019.

Online wagering boomed, set new records

Recent growth in online gaming streams helped offset what would have been a much larger drop in YoY revenue.

Combined revenue for online casinos, poker, and online sports betting was $104.5 million, or 61.9% of the total PA gaming revenue for December.

Online poker was up slightly at $2.7 million, compared to $2.4 million in November. There is still just one operator, PokerStars PA, via Mount Airy Resort.

VGTs hurt by forced closures

Truckstop VGT terminals were down 8.67% to $802,918. Like casinos, they were ordered closed much of December.

A year ago, in December 2019, VGTs brought in $879,153.

Sports wagering boomed with the highest monthly handle

PA sportsbooks had their best month ever in December. The month’s total sports wagering handle was nearly $548.6 million or 11.5% above the November total of $491.9 million.

December was the highest monthly handle ever, eclipsing the previous record $525.8 million wagered in October.

The taxable revenue figure for December 2020 was just above $34 million, or 8.8% below the November taxable revenue of more than $37.3 million, which remains the highest for any month to date.

With two years of operating history for sports betting in PA, the Keystone State is the No. 3 jurisdiction for sports handle behind Nevada and New Jersey.

Daily fantasy contests were off 12.34%, with revenue of just more than $3 million.

December PA online casino breakdown by operator

A complete breakdown of December revenue, including slots and table games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$19.3 million$15.9 million$3.4 million
Penn National (DraftKings Casino)$13.7 million$6.0 million$7.7 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$11.2 million$5.1 million$6.1 million
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$7.0 million$2.8 million$1.4 million
Penn National (BetMGM)$5.7 million$3.9 million$1.8 million
Parx Casino$5.0 million$4.6 million$418,000
Penn National (Hollywood Casino)$4.0 million$3.9 million$128,000
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$3.1 million$2.1 million$963,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$1.3 million$978,000$351,000
Wind Creek Casino$591,000$441,000$150,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia (PlayLive!)$400,000$327,000$73,000
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$164,000$151,000$13,000
Totals:$68.9 million$46.2 million$22.6 million

Casino operators by the numbers

The clear front-runners in the online casino race in PA remain Penn National, Rivers Philadelphia, and Valley Forge.

The top five PA online casinos for December revenue include:

  • BetRivers/PlaySugarHouse (Rivers Philly): $19.3 million
  • DraftKings Casino (Penn National): $13.7 million
  • FanDuel Casino (Valley Forge): $11.2 million
  • PokerStars/Fox Bet (Mount Airy): $7.0 million
  • BetMGM (Penn National): $5.7 million

New additions, Penn on the rise

Penn National has made a large leap when it comes to online casino market share in PA. With the addition of BetMGM Casino on Dec. 4 (through its Hollywood Casino Morgantown license), Penn now boasts three iGaming options in PA: Hollywood online casino, DraftKings, and BetMGM.

BetMGM got off to a strong start, posting the fifth-highest iGaming revenue out of the gate.

Other recent additions – Wind Creek casino and Live! Casino Philadelphia’s PlayLive! – were near the bottom at $591K and $400K in revenue, respectively.

BetRivers/PSH had the largest slot revenue at $15.9 million. DraftKings won the online table category at $7.7 million, with FanDuel just behind at $6.1 million.

BetMGM Expands to PA, Offers to Buy UK Gambling Partner Entain for $11 Billion

BetMGM recently debuted online casino and sports betting products in PA. Now its parent company is looking to absorb online gambling partner Entain.

BetMGM waded into the crowded Pennsylvania online casino market last month, becoming the state’s 13th iGaming option.

They upped the ante by adding a live dealer option shortly after launch. Games for now include blackjack liveAmerican roulette, and American auto roulette.

And on Dec. 18, BetMGM launched Pennsylvania’s 11th online sportsbook. They are partnered with Penn National’s Hollywood Casino for iGaming and Hollywood Casino Morgantown for sports.

On Jan. 4, news dropped that MGM is attempting to buy out UK gambling company Entain, its partner in online BetMGM gambling endeavors.

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MGM looking to expand footprint

The BetMGM brand is already live in or heading to nine states, with more to come. Entain is the owner of a number of popular UK betting brands including bwin, Ladbrokes, partypoker, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Sportingbet, and online game brands including CasinoClub and Foxy Bingo.

Entain confirmed Monday the MGM offer equivalent to $11.06 billion, an offer Entain said “significantly undervalues the company and its prospects.”

As such, the deal was rejected, with Entain requesting “additional information in respect of the strategic rationale for a combination of the two companies.”

The proposal is reminiscent of Caesars’ purchase of William Hill last year for $3.7 billion. Absorbing Entain would propel MGM, already a large player in the casino industry, into one of the biggest gaming companies in both land-based and online arenas.

Entail PLC (formerly GVC) stock jumped more than 25% on the London Stock Exchange Monday to around $19.40 with the offer news. MGM stock was trading down over 4% at around $30 mid-day.

BetMGM welcome offer

If you’re new to BetMGM casino in PA, it’s a good time to get started. The newcomer’s offer for first-time depositors is typical, but it has longevity.

First, there is $25 in freeplay. And there is also a 100 percent deposit match up to $1,000. Both offers expire on Dec. 31 – but that’s Dec. 31, 2021!

There’s lots of fine print, but for those who want to get rolling, the simple skinny is:

  • Go to BetMGM, create an account, and become a verified player.
  • $25 in freeplay is automatically added to your account, available for immediate use.
  • Winnings received from the $25 freeplay bonus are not eligible for withdrawal unless the player has made a deposit.
  • Once a deposit is made, any winnings are immediately eligible for withdrawal.

All BetMGM casino games are eligible. There are wagering and deposit requirements. Most critically, there is a 15x playthrough for the release of the bonus.

Look out for new offers weekly. Like their “Seal the Deal” $5 free play bonus for wagering $50 on slots in January.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Note: PAOC editor Valerie Cross contributed to this article.

PA Online Casinos Boost Overall Gaming Revenue with Record $60 Million October

PA gaming revenue jumped nearly 13% year over year, thanks in large part to a record $59.8 million October for online casinos and poker combined.

In Pennsylvania, online casinos continued a rocketing revenue run with a record in October of nearly $59.8 million.

That’s a healthy increase from the former record of $57 million set just a month before, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) figures.

Total gaming — retail casino slots and table games, online casinos, retail and online sportsbooks, poker, VGTs and fantasy contests — generated combined revenue of more than $320.2 million. That’s up 12.87% compared to revenue generated in October 2019.

The total tax revenue generated through all forms of gaming was more than $130.1 million during October 2020. Of that, $24.9 million came from iGaming.

Online table game revenue really jumps

In October, interactive slots took in nearly $40.4 million, online table games nearly $17 million and poker more than $2.4 million.

In September, online slots had accounted for more than $39.9 million in revenue, with an additional $14.7 million from online table games.

Also in October, total wagers on table games topped $1 billion — a first.

Online poker steady, VGT revenue up

With just one operator, PokerStars PA via Mount Airy Resort, online poker generated more than $2.4 million in October. That continues a trend down from $2.7 million in revenue in August.

Truck stop video gaming terminals generated nearly as much revenue as online poker — more than $2.4 million. There are now four operators with machines in 37 locations; each location has five machines.

Sports wagering handle hits new highs

In October, sports betting was up significantly over the previous year, with a total handle of more than $525.8 million. That’s more than double the handle a year ago, when it was nearly $241.2 million.

Additionally, the taxable sports wagering revenue figure of $36.8 million for October 2020 set a record, eclipsing the previous monthly revenue high of more than $22.8 million in January of this year.

Nov. 17 marks two years since the very first legal sportsbook opened in Pennsylvania.

Casino-based games down

Casino-based slots and table games, with COVID-19 capacity restrictions, were down 17.22% and 13.43%, respectively, but online gaming channels have made up the difference and then some.

A year ago, there were 23,786 slots on the casino floors, but there were just 16,611 in operation this October.

October online casino breakdown by PA operator

A complete breakdown of October revenue, including slots and table games by operator (online gaming license holder), can be found here:

Casino OperatorTotal RevenueSlots RevenueTable Games Revenue
Rivers Philly (SugarHouse & BetRivers)$16.6 million$14.1 million$2.5 million
Penn National (DraftKings Casino)$11.0 million$5.1 million$6.0 million
Valley Forge (FanDuel)$10.0 million$5.0 million$5.0 million
Parx Casino$5.9 million$5.1 million$793,000
Mt. Airy (PokerStars & Fox Bet)$4.5 million$2.9 million$1.6 million
Penn National (Hollywood Casino)$4.5 million$4.2 million$269,000
Mohegan Sun Pocono (Unibet)$2.6 million$2.1 million$492,000
Harrah's Philly (Caesars)$774,000$628,000$146,000
Wind Creek Casino$596,000$534,000$62,000
Presque Isle Downs (BetAmerica)$485,000$375,000$110,000
Live! Casino Philadelphia $278,000$248,000$30,000
Totals:$57.3 million$40.3 million$17.0 million

Casino operators by the numbers

Five operators had total online casino revenue above $5 million.

  • Rivers Philly, which combines SugarHouse and BetRivers, topped $16.6 million, with more than $14 million in revenue from slots.
  • Penn National/DraftKings topped $11 million in online revenue, with more than half from table games.
  • Valley Forge/FanDuel hit more than $10 million in online revenue, with table games accounting for more than half.
  • Mount Airy, which includes PokerStars and Fox Bet, brought in more than $9.4 million when online table games, online slots and online poker are combined.
  • And Parx had nearly $6 million in iGaming revenue.

Live! Casino Philadelphia, which is still new, trailed everyone with just $278,463 in total online revenue in its third full month in operation.

Lead image via Dreamstime.

Team of Former Rivals Join Forces at Live! Casino Pittsburgh, Soft Opening Nov. 17

Former Western PA gaming execs from Rivers Casino and the Meadows join forces to help run Live! Pittsburgh, which opens to the public later this month.

When Live! Casino Pittsburgh formally opens the 100,000-square-foot facility later this month, a team of former rivals will be at the helm.

Craig Clark was most recently president of Hard Rock Ottawa, which is owned jointly by the Seminole Tribe and the Rideau Carleton Raceway. Before that, he was the general manager of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. Clark is a certified public accountant, coming to Live!’s new $150 million facility as the director of finance.

Clark joins General Manager Sean Sullivan, who previously served as the GM of the Meadows Racetrack & Casino, a Penn National Gaming facility in Western PA.

Plenty of Western PA Experience at Live!

Clark served seven years at Rivers Pittsburgh, ending in 2018, and this move returns him to Western PA after just two years in Ottawa. At Live! Pittsburgh, Clark is responsible for the finance department, which includes accounting, analytics, finance, scheduling, income and revenue audit, purchasing, warehousing, count rooms and the casino cage.

Clark understands the Western Pennsylvania market well and has more than 26 years of diversified experience in the casino industry. In addition to Rivers and Hard Rock, he’s been an executive at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, and Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York.

Along the way, he’s developed local partnerships with a community college to train casino dealers.

He has previously said his philosophy is to design programs around initiatives, provide opportunities and outlets for employees, and enhance the customer experience.

He and Sullivan have a combined 20 years of experience in the Western PA region. Sullivan was named the general manager for Live! Casino back in February.

Live! Pittsburgh opening details

The forthcoming property is in a rehabbed mall space in Westmoreland County and is technically a satellite mini-casino. The property is a project of the Cordish Companies, which is also developing a full-size Live! casino in South Philadelphia, adjacent to the city’s sports stadiums. Joe Billhimer oversees both properties as the Cordish Gaming Group‘s executive vice president.

Live! Casino Pittsburgh is scheduled to open on Nov. 24. There is a media preview on Nov. 12 without the public present. A ribbon-cutting follows Nov. 17, with test-run charity nights for invited guests. The formal opening for the public at large is at 6 p.m. on the 24th.

The location is approximately 30 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, directly off Route 30. Live! features 750 slots and approximately 30 live-action table games, plus a FanDuel Sportsbook. Live! has already launched an online casino, PlayLive! but an online sportsbook is still to come. Live! Philadelphia should open in early 2021.

Live! plans restaurant and bar experience

Live! plans nationally recognized restaurants and live entertainment venues, including Sports & Social Steel City, a sports restaurant, gaming venue and social lounge.

Guy Fieri, an Emmy-award winning chef, restaurateur, New York Times best-selling author and television personality, will open the American Kitchen + Bar in the facility.

Live! Casino is owned and managed by Stadium Casino Westmoreland RE LLC, an affiliate of the Cordish Companies of Baltimore.

Country-themed PBR bar coming next year

Next year, the facility will add the Professional Bull Rider Country BarPBR Pittsburgh‘s newest location — during the second phase of openings.

PBR will be located on the second floor of the facility and feature the area’s only professionally endorsed mechanical riding bull, private VIP booths and the best in country music.

“We want people to have fun at Live! Casino, and PBR Pittsburgh is going to make sure they do,” said Sullivan. “It’s going to be a remarkable venue. Keeping the safety of our guests top of mind, we can’t wait to welcome everyone to PBR for a first-class entertainment experience when it opens next year.”

Live! Casino is now hiring for positions at PBR Pittsburgh. For complete information and job listings, visit www.workatlive.com.

Lead image via Live! Pittsburgh.

The Wait Is Over: Where to Play Live Dealer Tables Games Online in Pennsylvania

The long wait for live dealer games at PA online casinos is over. Find out what took so long, what games you will find and where you can play them.

And just like that, after months of waiting, Evolution Gaming began its test run this week of the first live dealer options in Pennsylvania.

The company, which also operates in New Jersey, where it has at least seven affiliations, has had a conditional PA license since this past January. And it began the process more than a year ago.

The two-day test period for Evolution’s live dealer games ended at 9 p.m. Oct. 22. Following the soft launch, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved it for full-time operation.

Where to play Evolution live dealer games in PA

In PA, Evolution has partnership deals with several online casino operators. The first four casinos to launch came from Rush Street Interactive and Penn National.

Caesars and Parx are also expected to offer live dealer options soon.

Live dealer games on offer at PA online casinos

Evolution launched live dealer variations of blackjack and roulette, with more games to come. As of now, you can find:

  • Roulette Live
  • Blackjack Live
  • Infinite Blackjack Live
  • First Person Blackjack
  • First Person Roulette and Lightning Roulette

Also on the way to PA are:

  • Baccarat Live
  • Three Card Poker Live
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’em Live

Live dealer games follow approved rules, side wagers and payout tables, such as those found in a land-based casino.

Appeal of live dealer games

The live games’ appeal is the chance for social interaction, from the comfort of home and with social distancing.

Dealers are playing with real cards from a studio in Philly, while players make decisions from home. So in essence, the live dealer takes the convenience of gaming from home and adds the ability to play table games dealt by real-life dealers.

The long delay since licensing for Evolution

While the game is the same, the remote studio’s approval process was time-consuming, explaining the long lag time.

And while the company was established in New Jersey, it needed a PA studio and a secure server in the Keystone State.

As PGCB Director of Communications Doug Harbach told our sister publication, PlayPennsylvania:

“Testing and regulating live dealer studio games is similar to other online casino games from a technology standpoint and is actually similar in many aspects to table games in land-based casinos, except there is no cash or gaming chips and, of course, players are not physically present.

“Since there is a human element in this online gaming, the PGCB must license studio staff who operate the games as we would dealers in a land-based casino. Also, similar to table games setups at land-based casinos, we have to ensure adequate security and surveillance in the studio that allows us to monitor the live dealer and helps us ensure the operator conducts table game operations in accordance with PGCB regulations.”

Evolution Gaming expansion to PA

Evolution Gaming already had eight studios globally and more than 8,000 employees. The company trades on the Stockholm NASDAQ.

As a recruiting incentive, the company tells potential roulette employees they can earn tokens from an unlimited number of gamblers.

In NJ, Evolution offers slingshot roulette, baccarat, three card poker and ultimate Texas hold ’em poker. And it has the potential to offer even more games, according to its website.

James Stern, Evolution’s chief business development officer, said last year of the company’s expansion to PA:

“Demand for our Live Casino services in the US has been phenomenal. We are delighted to be further expanding our US operations by opening a stand-alone studio in Pennsylvania to serve both online operators and land-based casinos in the state.

“We continue to stay at the forefront, maximizing the opportunities in this exciting new market and growing together with our licensees.”

Gearing Up, Live! Casino Philadelphia Begins Rolling in Slots and Table Games

The grand opening is months away, but Live! Casino Philadelphia is readying the gaming floor, installing state-of-the-art slot machines and table games.

While Live! Casino Philadelphia doesn’t have a firm opening date yet in 2021, the Stadium District facility is already installing slots and electronic table games.

Deliveries and installations began this week. Eventually, there will be more than 2,200 state-of-the-art slot machines and electronic table games at the South Philadelphia location at 900 Packer Avenue.

The machines will blend modern titles with slot classics like Lightening Links, Wheel of Fortune, Hot Shots and a full line of Quick Hits and progressives.

Installation hailed as a Live! Casino Philadelphia milestone

Joe Billhimer, executive vice president of Cordish Gaming Group, and Mario Maesano, the senior vice president of marketing for Live!, hailed the slot delivery as a milestone toward the opening.

Live! already has an online casino

And the company debuted its PlayLive! online casino in August, joining PA’s healthy online casino market.

At the other end of PA, the company has announced the opening of Live! Casino Pittsburgh for Nov. 24. The mini-casino is in a rehabbed vacant mall space.

Live! in the eastern part of PA adjoins the Philadelphia Sports Complex, which drew 8.5 million visitors a year pre-COVID-19. The casino is located directly off I-76 and I-95.

Philly Live! details

The Cordish project will also include:

  • More than 1.5 million square feet of gaming, hotel, dining and entertainment space
  • More than 150 live-action table games, including poker
  • A FanDuel sportsbook
  • An upscale 12-story hotel with more than 200 rooms
  • A parking garage

Live! partners with local food vendors

The project is playing up local connections with food purveyors:

  • Lorenzo and Sons Pizza, a South Philadelphia staple since 1970 and one of the 101 best pizzas in America as rated by The Daily Meal.
  • Sang Kee Noodle Bar & Kitchen, a collaboration between the landmark Chinatown restaurant owners Sang Kee Peking Duck House and Strother Enterprises.
  • Termini Brothers, a beloved South Philadelphia bakery with a 99-year history, that will serve cannolis, cookies and cakes.

Cordish already in Philly

While Cordish is new to gaming in PA, the company has a track record elsewhere.

And Cordish also has an established presence in Philly: It is a part of Xfinity Live! near the stadiums.

Live! is expected to provide more than 2,000 permanent jobs, as well as about 3,000 indirect jobs.

Photos via Cordish/Live! Philadelphia.