The Pennsylvania sports betting industry will grow by one on Tuesday.
Parx Casino announced last week that it planned to begin testing on its Parx Sportsbook on Jan. 8, and, following two days of Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board testing, will become fully operational Thursday.
With the Philadelphia Eagles upsetting the Chicago Bears in an NFL Wild Card game Sunday, Parx’s PA sports betting facility, located just a few miles from the New Jersey border in Bensalem, will go live in time for the defending Super Bowl champion’s next playoff game with the New Orleans Saints.
That, Matthew Cullen told the Philadelphia Inquirer, creates ample excitement for the incoming sportsbook. From the Parx Senior Vice President of Interactive Gaming and Sports:
“The market is insane for [the Eagles], as we’ve seen at the SugarHouse and at Rivers [in Pittsburgh] and in New Jersey. But even if they’re out, people are still gonna want to bet [football]. But it would be great if they were playing.”
Parx finally enters the market
The second to apply for PA sports betting last fall, Greenwood Gaming, which owns Parx, took its time to join the state’s sports betting industry.
And if Greenwood sounds familiar to New Jersey sportsbook fans, it should. Greenwood Gaming, in partnership with Penn National, owns Freehold Raceway. The North Jersey racetrack is slowly but surely getting into the sports betting biz.
Since mid-November, a total of three sportsbooks opened in PA. It was expected that Parx would do the same; alas, it did not. But the sportsbook promises to be impressive.
Consider that the casino poured $10 million into its permanent sportsbook expansion, featuring a wide array of wagering options and in-game betting.
From Cullen in a press release at the time of the project announcement:
“Parx Casino is thrilled to announce the launch of legalized sports betting on property and construction of a sleek, state-of-the-art Parx Sportsbook. We will build the best sportsbook in the country – and set the industry standard for this fast-growing arena.”
But the wait for the permanent space will continue. Parx will introduce its temporary sportsbook upon opening this week. This space will boast 28 high-definition televisions along with a pair of 16-by-9-foot display screens.
All told, the sportsbook, which will also have seven cashier windows and 45 self-service kiosks, will have the ability to broadcast 36 different events simultaneously.
South Philly TC awaits an introduction
As part of its petition to offer sports betting, Greenwood Gaming proposed offering regulated wagering at South Philadelphia Turf Club following the opening of Parx.
The off-track betting parlor, per conditions set forth by the PGCB, cannot open its sports betting doors until Parx passes testing and becomes fully operational.
As such, it would seem South Philadelphia Turf Club will not open before the conclusion of the NFL season. Certainly, though, plenty of interest will remain for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Phillies, not to mention the NBA and MLB as a whole.
Parx, PA sports betting and NJ sports betting
Since the PA online gambling expansion law went into effect, New Jersey’s neighbor has taken its time to roll out sportsbooks (not to mention PA online casinos).
While the NJ sports betting market boasts nine sportsbook apps and nine retail books (seven at Atlantic City casinos), Pennsylvania has only a handful.
But that won’t be for long.
The last month and a half of 2018 saw the first PA sportsbooks enter the market and swiftly grow to three operations.
Just ahead of Thanksgiving, The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino broke the mold by opening its doors to the public.
A few weeks later, both SugarHouse Sportsbook in Philadelphia and Rivers Sportsbook at Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh joined the crowd.
Who’s next to open in PA?
With Parx about to join the ranks, the focus for PA turns to which property will come next. A similar question was asked almost every week back when New Jersey’s market was just kicking into gear.
Harrah’s Philadelphia will likely be the answer to that question for the Keystone State. The casino received conditional approval last fall, though few details have become public to indicate a timeline for the sportsbook.
Other possibilities include Valley Forge, which received conditional approval last month, and Presque Isle Downs, which will make its pitch to the PGCB in short order.
To boot, 2019 will include another landmark moment. Online sports betting in the Keystone State should go live by the spring.
Basically, these first three months of the new year in PA promise to be memorable ones. New Jersey’s neighbor is just getting started.