Pennsylvania Cashing In On Economic And Social Contributions Of Casinos

Casinos get a bad wrap as blights on communities, but PA casinos create jobs, outreach, and tax revenue for local communities.

Winners aren’t just limited to inside the confines of a casino.

Pennsylvania is experiencing a jackpot of jobs and an economic windfall as a result of the casino gaming industry.

On May 29, at a Get to Know Gaming event, the American Gaming Association (AGA) released their latest report, Casinos & Communities – Pennsylvania. It provided an in-depth look at the gaming industry’s economic and social contributions to communities across the state.

Highlights of the report included:

  • 33,171 jobs supported
  • $1.8 billion in wages generated
  • $2.5 billion generated in taxes

In 2004, Pennsylvania legislators passed the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, legalizing casinos and racinos. Today, there are 12 commercial casinos and racinos across the Commonwealth, which have rocketed Pennsylvania to the second-highest commercial gaming revenue in the United States, behind only Nevada.

“Over the last 15 years, gaming companies across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have served as an anchor for state and local economies, generating billions of dollars in tax revenue and operating as good stewards and community partners in the places casinos call home,” said Bill Miller, president and chief executive officer of the American Gaming Association.

Casinos as a beacon of hope

The growth of the gaming industry helped fill the void left by the downturn of the mining and manufacturing industries.

Ravaged by the high unemployment, crime and poverty for decades, the 2007 opening of Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s Philadelphia provided a beacon of hope. In May 2015, Harrah’s reported:

  • 1,400 jobs created
  • $1.6 million in charitable contributions
  • $1.4 billion in taxes
  • A $100 million economic impact in the city of Chester

Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland explained that when the shipbuilding, steel and automobile industries left the city, jobs were limited and businesses were not coming.

“Harrah’s was the first real economic development that we had in this city for quite some time – for decades. They took a bet on the city. Folks now feel good about going to work in the morning. The casino has provided them with the opportunity to better take care of their families. And not just jobs, because jobs can come and go, but they provide them with career opportunities.”

Boosting the economy and nightlife

Twenty-five miles south of Chester, King of Prussia is in many ways, a world apart. It is home to the largest concentration of commercial office, industrial and flex buildings in the Philadelphia suburbs.

However, the area needed a boost from the 2008 recession. Boyd Gaming’s Valley Forge Casino was a “big, big part of that transition from a bad economy to a good economy,” said Eric Goldstein, executive director of King of Prussia’s Business Improvement District.

The casino created job opportunities and attracted visitors while keeping entertainment dollars in the community with their nightlife offerings such as musical acts, stand-up comedy, dueling pianos and Valley Beach, a pool bar with entertainment every Friday and Saturday night during the summer months.

“In the past four years, we’ve added almost 40 new restaurants at King of Prussia, which is crazy. You must have a lot of people to support that level of new business. The casino is obviously helping with that,” Goldstein added.

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Casinos as community partners

The impact of Pennsylvania casinos is not limited to their utility as economic engines. They boost local government budgets, support many community causes and are actively involved in the areas they call home.

In April, SugarHouse hosted a veteran-focused job fair to recruit over 100 candidates. In early 2019, SugarHouse was recognized for the seventh time as a “Top Workplace” by the Philadelphia Inquirer and also earned multiple “Best Places to Work” honors from the Philadelphia Business Journal. The Philadelphia-based casino is known for offering employees exceptional benefits, immediate 401 (k) vesting, and tuition reimbursement for continuing education.

Parx poured $90 million into over 800 organizations. Their representatives sit on the boards of addiction facilities and homeless shelters in the Bensalem area.

When the Greater Washington County Food Bank needed a new location, local grant funding from casino revenue “made it possible,” said Executive Director Connie Burd.

The new building with its 800-square-foot cooler and 400-square-foot freezer has enabled the food bank to “get out a lot more fresh produce to people” than before the grant. Employees from The Meadows regularly volunteer their time giving out food to low-income families and seniors.

Winning in western Pennsylvania

The western side of Pennsylvania is winning, too. Communities in and around Pittsburgh have benefitted from an economic upturn from Rivers Casino and the Meadows Racetrack & Casino.

Before Penn National Gaming’s Meadows Racetrack & Casino opened in Washington County in 2009, lifelong resident Larry Laggi recalled a stagnant economy with the area “losing jobs, losing people and losing families.”

Laggi equated the economic impact and excitement generated by the casino with the boon days of the local coal mining and steel industries.

“Every community, large and small, has prospered and benefited from gaming being in Washington County.”

Over the past 11 years, gaming has generated almost half-a-billion dollars for Washington County. That money funded job creation, infrastructure and workforce development projects, according to Jeff Kotula, president of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

“Those monies go right back into our economy. They go right back into new projects, encouraging more and more population growth, business investment and things of that nature in our community.”

Raptors And Warriors Action Will Be PA’s First Online Betting Big Event

PA online bettors can test out the first app just in time for the start of the NBA Finals. Here’s what you need to know about how to bet on the series.

Some things change, some things remain the same.

This year’s NBA Finals features the Golden State Warriors making it for their fifth consecutive season and the Toronto Raptors making the first appearance in their franchise’s history.

Pennsylvania bettors should visit the state’s sportsbooks for Game 1 and futures wagers before 9 p.m. Thursday night when the championship series tips off in Toronto. Or, they can take advantage of the soft launch period of SugarHouse Casino’s online sportsbook to place an online bet on the action or use live in-game betting during the action.

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PA sportsbooks post close spreads

Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino sportsbook currently has the Raptors as a half-point favorite with Warriors superstar Kevin Durant out for Game 1. Moneyline odds for Game 1 are also very close:  Warriors (-107), Raptors (-110).  The over/under is currently set at 215.5.

Toronto, which swept Golden State in their two meetings this season, also has the added benefit of home-court advantage in the first game and the series. However, the Warriors are substantial favorites (-315) to win the championship. The Raptors are underdogs at +250.

Across the state, Parx Sportsbook has similar odds.

Steph Curry is betting favorite for Finals MVP

Warriors point guard Steph Curry is the current favorite for NBA Finals MVP at -143 on a futures bet. Here is a look at some other top contenders and their odds:

  • Kawhi Leonard: +250
  • Kevin Durant: +900
  • Draymond Green:+900
  • Klay Thompson: +2,000
  • Kyle Lowry: +2,500
  • Pascal Siakim: +4,000
  • Serge Ibaka: +10,000

Demarcus Cousins is the longest shot for the Warriors at +20,000.

Sportsbook series odds favor Warriors in six games

The current series odds for the NBA Finals suggest a Warriors victory in six games. The series correct score bet carries the following odds:

  • Golden State 4-2 (+250)
  • Golden State 3-1 (+450)
  • Golden State 4-0 (+450)
  • Golden State 4-3 (+550).

A Raptors upset would bring a much larger return. Toronto’s current series odds are as follows:

  • Toronto 4-3 (+550)
  • Toronto 4-2 (+1,100)
  • Toronto 4-1 (+1,200)
  • Toronto 4-0 (+5,000)

Retail sportsbooks remain the only option for NBA Finals bets

Although Pennsylvania sportsbooks and many industry insiders expected to have online sports betting by now, the retail operations remain the only avenue for NBA Finals action. According to Play Pennsylvania, the delay in online betting appears to be partially due to Apple’s app store policies.

It’s not entirely clear when those issues will be resolved either.

So for now, a trip to one of Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks is the best pathway to NBA gaming besides driving over to New Jersey and betting on an app there.

Get there before the series tips off on Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

Parx Gave Rivers A Run For Its Sports Betting Money In April

More middling numbers for PA sportsbooks in April, but Parx is happy to lead the pack when it comes to revenue, beating previous leader, Rivers.

Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino is in once again sitting pretty in Pennsylvania’s sports betting landscape.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released April sports betting numbers last week. Rivers Sportsbook led the eight current PA sportsbooks in total handle with $8,159,827. In March, Rivers was the leader in both handle and revenue.

This month, however, Parx Casino was slightly ahead in total revenue $907,298 to Rivers’ $871,753, despite trailing by over a million in total handle.

Total April revenues drop following March Madness

As expected, April’s total statewide handle of $36.7 million declined from March’s $44.5 million, which receives a tremendous boost from the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament betting.

FanDuel’s Valley Forge Casino makes gains

FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort showed significant growth in its first full month of operation. After opening just before March Madness, the sportsbook climbed from #7 to #5 in total handle, climbing past Harrah’s Philadelphia and South Philly Turf Club.

Valley Forge Race and Sportsbook, now known as The Oaks finished last in total handle with $1,541,891. The close competition from the FanDuel-branded sportsbook across town is certainly hurting its overall numbers.

SugarHouse Casino also performed well

SugarHouse Casino also had a strong April, finishing second in handle ($9,223,827) and third in revenue ($781,163). SugarHouse Sportsbook was second in both categories last month.

Tax revenue continues to trickle in

Overall, the state’s eight sportsbooks created $1,519,734 in tax revenue for the month of April. That total will hopefully grow exponentially when PA launches online sports betting.

Reports indicated sports betting would go online in May. Now, some books, like Parx, claim launch will come in June. However, no property has offered a concrete launch date yet.

PA will be fourth state to offer online betting

When mobile betting arrives, it will likely shake up the state’s handle and revenue numbers. The first casinos to offer betting apps should see a substantial bump in both areas. The expectation is Rivers and SugarHouse will be first to launch. When is still a big question mark.

Currently, New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware are the only states to offer online betting. However, consumers preference for online betting is apparent. In New Jersey, online sports wagering has consistently accounted for roughly 80% of the overall handle.

Online sports betting – better late than never?

Last month, PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach said he expected mobile sports betting to arrive within three weeks.

“We expect to begin live testing of the online sports betting app for at least one of the approved casino vendors within the next two-three weeks,” Harbach said in mid-April, via Legal Sports Report.

A month later, online betting has yet to arrive. And the rumors circulating suggest that everyone may have to wait a few more weeks.

But the bottom line is this – PA online sports betting is coming soon.

And when it arrives, casino handles will rise substantially. Tax revenues will climb too.

The entire landscape will change.

PA Sportsbooks Offering Futures, Super Bowl And Lookahead Lines For 2019

The football season is still four months away, but you can already bet on next season college football and NFL games at sportsbooks like Parx and Rivers.

Last week’s NFL Draft brought football back to the forefront. And thanks to Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks, gamblers can get into the action now.

Many PA sportsbooks have posted betting lines for big games in the upcoming NFL season, as well as Super Bowl odds and some over/unders on season win totals.

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Steelers are underdogs in Week 1

At the Rivers Casino Sportsbook in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are +6.5 in their Week 1 showdown with the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. In their home opener, the Steelers are 3-point favorites against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2. In futures bets, Pittsburgh is +2000 to win next year’s Super Bowl and +1000 to win the AFC.

The Steelers season win total has been set at nine.

Eagles are favorites in season opener

At the Parx Casino Sportsbook across the state, the hometown Philadelphia Eagles are +1600 to win the Super Bowl and +700 to capture the NFC. Philadelphia is an 8.5-point favorite in its Week 1 home opener against the Washington Redskins. The Eagles are 1.5-point underdogs a week later in their first road game in Atlanta.

Philadelphia’s season win total has been set at 9.5.

NFL regular season starts in September

The 2019 NFL regular season kicks off on Sept. 5 with the Chicago Bears hosting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Bears have opened as a 3.5-point favorite.

The defending champion New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs are the current favorites to win the Super Bowl. Both teams have opened as +750 to win Super Bowl LIV.

The Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints follow at +900. The Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts are next at +1400. The Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals are viewed as the league’s weakest teams with odds of +12,500.

PA betting action available on many top games

USA Today selected its picks for the top 10 games of 2019 and some of them have lines posted at PA sportsbooks. Thus, betting action is available far beyond the Steelers and Eagles.

PA online sports betting will also arrive before the NFL season, giving fans another avenue to their football wagers.

Mobile betting will begin testing in May and will launch for the 10 casinos with licenses in July. That development should lead the PA sportsbooks to record profits once the season kicks off.

Parx also offering college football odds

If NFL action isn’t enough, the Parx Casino Sportsbook has also posted some early numbers for college football. Alabama and Clemson, who played in last year’s championship game, are the favorites to win the national title. Both teams carry +200 odds. Ohio State follows at +700.

In other futures, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+225), Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (+250), and Ohio State transfer quarterback Justin Fields (+900) are the favorites for the Heisman Trophy award.

Football action returns in four months

The college football season and the NFL opener are still a few months away. But for those interested in wagering on them, the odds are already live.

And here in Pennsylvania, the betting windows are open and the online betting apps will be live.

Parlay-Vous Money? Parx Bettor Hits 15-Leg, $57K Bet

One Parx Sportsbook bettor defied the odds and cashed in a 15-leg parlay ticket. The ticket cost $25 and paid out a whopping $57,146.40.

It was a stroke of luck 15 times over.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this past week that an unidentified gambler went to Parx Sportsbook in Philly and placed a $25 bet on a 15-game parlay and hit every single game, earning him or her $57,146.40.

Parx Senior Vice President of Interactive Gaming and Sports Matthew Cullen told the Inquirer the casino had no hard feeling about such a big payout.

“It’s not bittersweet at all paying that out. This is the business that we are in. Some bets we win and some bets our customers win. It’s the nature of our business.”

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Fifteen up and 15 down: Analyzing the $57K bet

The mystery bettor’s ticket included 15 different games across three different sports: NCAA basketball, the NBA, and the NHL.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the games upon which he or she bet, along with the type of bet:

NCAA

The mystery winner picked two NCAA games: One from the big tournament and one from the NIT. The Fairleigh Dickinson game was a bit of a nail-biter, as they were down 13 with 18:37 left in the second half.

    • Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Prairie View A&M (moneyline). Farleigh Dickinson rallied to win after being down double digits in this March Madness play-in.
    • Creighton vs. Loyola Chicago (-3): An NIT matchup, the Bluejays won by 9.

NHL

The parlay included one game that ended up being a blowout.

  • Washington vs. New Jersey (moneyline): The Caps downed the Devils 4-1.

 NBA

This is where the Pennsylvania sports bettor needed the lion’s share of the luck, as he or she bet on the moneyline and over/under for each game except for the Brooklyn game:

  • Philadelphia vs. Charlotte (over)
  • Milwaukee vs. LA Lakers (under)
  • Golden State vs. Minnesota (under)
  • LA Clippers vs. Indiana (over)
  • Houston vs. Atlanta (under)
  • Brooklyn vs. Sacramento (Nets and +3.5, over)

Perhaps the most shocking outcome amid these games was the Nets’ win. Their matchup against the Kings included a 20-0 run by the Kings. The Nets needed a 44-point effort from resurgent D’Angelo Russell (27 came in the fourth quarter) to preserve the win for the Nets.

Parx among eight sportsbooks in PA

PA sports betting is a relatively new phenomenon, as it took more than a year after the state’s gambling expansion bill to open a land-based sportsbook.

However, since the first sportsbook opened at Hollywood Casino at Penn National in November 2017, seven more have followed:

Seton Hall And Fairleigh Dickinson Are Dancing: Here’s Where To Bet On Them

New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson Knights weren’t looking good five minutes into the second half of their NCAA Tournament play-in game against Prairie View A&M Tuesday at the University of Dayton (OH) Arena.

The Knights were losing 50-38. Fifteen minutes later, they were on their way to the round of 64 after closing on a 44-26 run.

With their win, they join Seton Hall University as the only two New Jersey teams participating in March Madness. The state’s gambling laws don’t allow people to bet on New Jersey teams in New Jersey.

What that means for serious March Madness bettors is that they cannot bet on one seed Gonzaga either, as the entire game is off the board. Should Seton Hall advance to the second round, going to Pennsylvania will be the only way to bet on the Pirates’ presumed opponent the University of Kentucky too.

Thankfully, neighboring Pennsylvania has sportsbooks at which you can place bets on the Knights and Pirates.

However, if you do want to bet in Pennsylvania, be aware there is no PA online betting yet. There are eight retail sportsbooks to choose from though, including six in the Philadelphia area.

Kambi sportsbooks offering lines for Seton Hall and Fairleigh Dickinson

At the time of publishing, Pennsylvania sports betting operator Kambi was offering lines on NJ teams’ games via Rivers Sportsbook, SugarHouse Sportsbook, and Parx Sportsbook.

We went to Rivers’ online bet slip to find out the lines at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

#10 Seton Hall vs. #7 Wofford (9:40 p.m., 3/21)

The spread for Seton Hall’s Thursday match-up against upstart Wofford is +2.5. The over/under was at 145 and the money line for Seton Hall was +128.

The Pirates put together a 20-13 season and made a solid run in the Big East tournament before falling to Philadelphia’s own Villanova 72-74 in the final.

The Pirates’ finished the season ranked 34th in the AP poll, 29th in the Coaches poll, and had a NET ranking of 57.

The Knights have been to the Big Dance 13 times and each of the past four years. Their deepest run in the tournament came in 1989 when the reached the finals but lost to Michigan.

#16 Fairleigh Dickinson vs. #1 Gonzaga (7:27 p.m., 3/21)

Understandably so, Kambi had Fairleigh Dickinson as a heavy underdog at +27. At the time of publishing, that was the biggest spread of any #16-#1 match-up.

The total for the match-up was 152.5 and there was no money line on the game.

Fairleigh Dickinson is one of four 16 seeds who snuck into the tournament. The Knights finished the year at 21-13 and earned an automatic bid to the tournament after beating St. Francis in the Northeast Conference tournament championship.

At the end of the season, the Knights were not ranked in any of the major polls and had a NET ranking of 203.

The school is 0-5 in its five NCAA Tournament appearances.

Only one 16 seed has won their first round match-up: the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2018, when the beat possible title contender Virginia.

March Madness expected to bring in $8.5 billion handle

According to a Forbes article published this week, the American Gaming Association estimates that 47 million Americans will bet more than $8.5 billion on the NCAA Tournament this year.

About half of what’s bet will be spent on tournament brackets.

“The NCAA Tournament brackets and pools generate gigantic interest, and $4.6 billion is expected to be wagered on a collective 149 million brackets by more than 40 million people,” contributor Jay Ginsbach wrote. On average, fans fill out four brackets at an average of $30 per bracket.”

Parx Launched A New PA Betting App — For Horse Racing

Parx Racing has brought some good news to PA gamblers lamenting the postponement of PA online casinos.

This past week, the Philadelphia casino launched its mobile horse racing betting platform. The new platform provides bettors with an on-track experience on the go, accessible by phone or browser.

We reached out to Parx for a comment about the new app but did not receive one at the time of publishing.

In a press release this past year from Sportstech Racing and Digital, the app’s developer, president Andrew Gaughan said the app is bringing excitement to the racetrack.

“Sportech has deployed over 25 websites and over 25 mobile apps for customers in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia and we are very pleased to be able to add our valued customer Parx Racing® to that list. We are committed to delivering to their players an overall enhanced digital user experience that helps extend the excitement of the racetrack to the digital channels.”

Overview of the Parx Racing app

Per the requirements of the state’s gambling regulations, only those who are physically in the state of Pennsylvania can use the app to bet.

The in-app experience includes:

  • Handicapping information
  • Livestreams of up to three tracks
  • Replays
  • Odds, probables, carryovers

The app is available to iPhone users with the iPhone 5S and higher. It is also available to Android users. You can use it via web browsers too.

According to the app’s information, you have to be at least 17 years old to download the app. However, per Pennsylvania’s regulations, you have to be at least 18 years old to wager on the app.

The launch of this new wagering platform adds another revenue stream for Parx. The brand already includes Philadelphia’s premier casino and its racetrack located between Philadelphia and Trenton.

In January, the casino entered the sports betting arena by launching a sportsbook at their Philadelphia location and another at South Philadelphia Turf Club, which is owned by the same company who runs Parx: Greenwood Gaming.

Sportech relationship solid amid Wire Act delay

The Parx Racing app and browser platform are presumably the first of multiple digital platforms Sportech will provide for Parx. The companies previously noted the partnership between the company and Parx encompasses all digital platforms.

Though the Parx Racing app is somewhat of a whimper compared to the roar of PA online casinos, it is a sign that Sportech hasn’t jumped ship amid the wait for the launch of PA online casinos.

Earlier this year the Department of Justice announced it has reversed its opinion about the Wire Act. In the opinion, the DOJ claims that the act’s regulations extended to all forms of online gambling. That includes casinos, sports betting, online lottery, and more.

The reversal of opinion led to a reversal of fortunes for PA online casinos. As a result, launch for the industry likely won’t happen until the summertime.

In a meeting with the House Appropriations Committee, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Chairman Kevin O’Toole said that the delay may extend into the summer. He and his colleagues are working with  PA casinos and online operators to make sure their operations meet Wire Act requirements.

PGCB did note that none of the casinos who bought online gambling licenses are considering pulling out of the market.

In the meantime, racing fans have something to pass the time. Elsewhere, the rest of PA sports bettors are counting the days until betting on their phones happens.

Valley Forge Getting Not One, But Two Sportsbooks In Immediate Future

The Valley Forge area will soon have more sportsbooks than Pittsburgh. Within two weeks both Valley Forge Casino and Valley Forge Turf Club should launch.

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.

Sportsbook Provider Kambi Taking Its Talents To Philadelphia

Kambi has dominated the European betting markets for years. Now it is headed stateside, with a US office in Philadelphia, PA.

Kambi Group has a new home. And it’s right in the heart of sports betting country.

The Stockholm-listed sportsbook provider has set its sights on opening a Philadelphia office sometime in the second quarter of 2019. The provider for four of six PA sports betting operations and three of the top four online sports betting services in nearby New Jersey, Kambi will have its first US-based office in the near future.

“The opening of a US office has long been part of our plans and we have taken the time to carefully weigh up a number of different options to ensure we settled on the right location,” Kambi Chief Commercial Officer Max Meltzer said in a statement.

“In Philadelphia we have found a city that ticks all the boxes — great proximity to customers, a people passionate about sports and high performing local universities. The team we are building will tap into that local talent and ensure we can provide an even greater level of service to our customers.”

Philly checks all the boxes

As noted, Kambi certainly has roots laid in the Northeast, specifically in two states that could challenge Nevada as sports betting king.

At the heart of it all: the Philadelphia sports betting market.

According to Kambi, the group selected Philly for four key reasons:

  • The proximity to current and prospective customers
  • The East Coast contains most states where regulated sports betting currently exists
  • The city’s passion for sports
  • Local talent, specifically in terms of educational institutions in the area. “We believe we can benefit from those graduating reasonably locally,” Kambi said.

Kambi said it is in the process of hiring “a number of roles,” including in customer supporttechnical support and trading/odds compiling.

Initially, the group said, the office will begin with approximately 30 employees before steadily growing depending on business requirements.

Kambi sets up shop amid booming business

Kambi has taken the sports betting world by storm since the US Supreme Court repealed PASPA in 2018.

The group, for example, reported Q4 revenue growth of 14 percent. It entered the NJ sports betting landscape at the ground floor, powering DraftKings Sportsbook since its launch in August 2018.

During that time, DraftKings has totaled $37.3 million in revenue, accounting for nearly 54 percent of overall sports betting revenue by online sports betting products. Kambi also powers two other popular online sportsbooks in New Jersey: SugarHouse NJ and 888 Sport.

In December, Kambi brought its business to Pennsylvania as SugarHouse Sportsbook and Rivers Sportsbook opened in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, respectively. Another two Kambi-powered operations opened in January as Parx Sportsbook and South Philadelphia Turf Club entered the market.

These properties have combined for $37.7 million in accepted wagers, which is about 76 percent of the overall handle. They also produced $3.9 million in revenue, which is about 81.2 percent of overall revenue since the industry launched in November.

With growing business in New Jersey and with Pennsylvania continuing to expand both with retail sportsbooks and PA online gambling sites, Kambi now sits in the heart of it all.

Parx Bringing Two New Sportsbooks To Philadelphia

Parx’s play to corner the PA sports betting market includes opening up a casino sportsbook Jan. 10 and another at its South Philadelphia Turf Club Jan. 17.

Pennsylvania’s top-grossing casino is making a play to corner the emerging PA sports betting market.

Parx Casino opened up a sportsbook on the property in Bensalem on Jan. 10. The owner of Greenwood Gaming is now set to do the same at its South Philadelphia Turf Club off-track horse race betting location on Thursday, Jan. 17.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) conducted two days of formal testing at the new Sportsbook at Parx Casino before the official launch. It is planning to do the same at the South Philadelphia Turf Club this week.

The launch of the Sportsbook at Parx makes it a total of four PA casinos now running sports betting operations. The others are:

The South Philadelphia Turf Club will become the first sportsbook in the state to open outside a PA casino.

The sportsbook could become the state’s most popular sports betting location when it launches. It sits in Philadelphia’s Stadium District, where all of the city’s major sports franchises play.

Kambi software dominates PA market

Both the Parx and South Philadelphia Turf Club sportsbooks will run on software provided by Kambi. SugarHouse and Rivers sportsbooks are also Kambi-powered operations.

Hollywood Casino’s sportsbook is operated by the country’s largest sportsbook operator William Hill and uses its proprietary software. Hollywood launched the state’s first legal sports betting operation in mid-November. It generated $500,000 in revenue on $1.4 million in handle in its first two weeks.

The Sportsbook at Parx Casino opened in a temporary location and allows the following types of bets:

  • Moneyline
  • Parlay
  • Props
  • Spread
  • Teaser bets 
  • Totals

Leagues that PA bettors can wager on include:

  • NHL
  • Boxing
  • College basketball
  • College football
  • MLB
  • MMA events
  • NBA
  • NFL

Temporary location in Parx’s 360 Lounge

The sportsbook’s temporary location is in Parx’s 360 Lounge. Parx has converted the bar into a sports-betting lounge of sorts with two 16′ by 9′ HD TVs and 20 75″ HD TVs for game viewing.

Plus, there are a dozen self-service sports betting kiosks and seven live teller windows for over-the-counter betting.

However, the bar isn’t the only place players can place bets. Parx has 30 electronic sports betting kiosks throughout the casino floor as well. The facility has made in-game betting available at the kiosks and placed upcoming game odds on the big screen TVs around the bar as well.

Parx is also promising to launch an online sports betting app complete with live in-game betting before long. In fact, Parx has already launched a mobile Betslip Builder app allowing players to plan out bets, put together bet slips and view Parx’s real-time sports odds.

$10 million, state-of-the-art sportsbook

Parx is also building a permanent sportsbook in the north corner of the casino next to the Liberty Bell Gastropub. It plans to open it in the second quarter of 2019. Management promises it will be a $10 million, state-of-the-art facility with:

  • An LED wall wrapping around half the sportsbook
  • A full-service bar with video poker
  • HD TVs throughout
  • Dozens of self-service betting kiosks and live teller windows

Greenwood has also poured $1 million into renovations at the South Philadelphia Turf Club in anticipation of the sportsbook’s launch. This reportedly includes the addition of as many as 150 HD TVs for game viewing, an odds board and several dedicated sports betting teller windows.