The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board unanimously approved sports betting petitions for Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing (Hollywood Casino) and Greenwood Gaming (Parx Casino and South Philadelphia Turf Club) at its regular meeting Wednesday morning, paving the way for sports betting to go live in the state as early as November.
Greenwood Gaming, which owns the Parx Casino and the South Philadelphia Turf Club, is targeting November to roll out sports betting at its facilities while Mountainview representatives were less specific, and aiming for a rollout later this year.
The PGCB held hearings prior to voting and, in general, things went smoothly. Both companies reviewed their history and experience in sports betting and shared plans for what their sportsbooks will look like (more below). In addition, both groups discussed their desire to roll out mobile and internet sports betting sooner than later, though neither will do so for their initial launch.
PA Sports Betting Off and Running With Approval of 2 Sports Betting Petitions and Projected Openings Late This Fall
If there were any hiccups along the way, they came during Greenwood Gaming’s hearing, when there was discussion about whether or not the company could open its Parx Casino and Turf Club locations simultaneously. Greenwood Gaming pushed to be able to open its locations simultaneously, but the state’s enforcement department made clear that it would not commit to a simultaneous rollout, but rather that it “would like a smooth rollout at one facility before going to the second facility.”
Whether that plays out as Greenwood being able to open its facilities consecutively on the same day, several days apart or several weeks apart remains to be seen, but Greenwood Gaming representatives did agree that they understood there was a possibility that the Parx Casino and South Philadelphia Turf Club sportsbooks would not go live on the same day.
The other minor issue was for Mountainview Thoroughbred, which is proposing a wagering area that is smaller than PGCB regulations allow. The company said it planned to apply for a waiver on the requirement, but in the voting phase, the board said it would not require a waiver, but rather would “set forth conditions” in its approval for the space requirement.
All in all, the hearing and vote went smoothly and a year after legalizing sports betting, Pennsylvania appears to be ready to take a bet.
The state has 13 sports betting licenses available — one for each casino licensed in the state. Mountainview Thoroughbred and Greenwood Gaming were the first to apply for sports betting certificates, with come with a $10 million application fee. The fees must be paid within 60 days of board approval. Three other companies have applied for sports betting licenses — Chester Downs and Marina, owners of Harrah’s in suburban Philadelphia, SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh.
The PGCB meets again on Oct. 31, and its possible that additional sports betting petitions could be on the agenda for that meeting.
What the Pennsylvania’s First Three Sportsbooks Will Look Like
Greenwood Gaming presented a two-part plan for its Parx Casino sportsbook — the creation of a 3,000 square foot temporary space in what is currently the 360 Lounge, to be ready for the November target opening date, followed by the permanent space targeted to open in the second quarter of 2019. The temporary space would include seven teller positions as well as 30 self-service kiosks spread throughout the existing casino. In addition, two new 16 x 9 HD TVs and 20 75-inch televisions will be installed.
Greenwood Gaming said it expects to roll out betting on a “complete slate” of pro and college sports betting, with a focus on North American sports, however, it did include several European soccer leagues — La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga — among its offerings. At launch, the types of bets would include singles, parlays and round robins. Greenwood Gaming has contracted with GAN to run its sportsbooks and is working on a partnership with Kambi to handle integrity and risk-management services.
South Philadelphia Turf Club
At the company’s second location, Greenwood Gaming said it is spending $1 million in renovations to the 35,000 square foot facility to create an 8,000 square foot sportsbook. The book would include seven teller windows and self-service kiosks, as well as new HD TVs, upgraded surveillance, carpet, paint and furnishings. The Turf Club currently allows patrons 18 years or older, but that policy will change to 21 and older for the entire facility once the sportsbook is launched.
The Turf Club location will offer the same menu of sports bets as the Parx Casino location.
How much will the birth of the Pennsylvania sports betting market impact neighboring New Jersey’s rapidly growing market? To be determined, but there are now several legal, regulated options coming for Pennsylvanians, at long last.