Pennsylvania’s market-leading casino will launch its land-based sports betting operations next week, bringing the total number of state sportsbooks to four.
On Friday, Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment’s Parx Casino in Bensalem announced that it would commence the mandatory 48-hour soft-launch of its Kambi-powered sports betting operations on Tuesday (8) at 2pm. Assuming nothing goes wrong, Parx will commence full-on wagering at 1pm on Thursday (10).
Parx is still in the process of building its permanent sportsbook, so the one that opens next week will be a scaled-down temporary version in the property’s former 360 bar and lounge. Parx hopes to have its permanent book open by the summer in order to make any necessary tweaks before the start of next season’s NFL action.
Greenwood Gaming has yet to indicate when betting might commence at its other Pennsylvania gaming venue, the South Philadelphia Turf Club. And while the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has yet to approve any operator’s online betting product, Parx insists that its mobile betting app was “coming soon.”
Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course launched the state’s first sports betting operation in November, while Rush Street Gaming’s SugarHouse Casino and Rivers Casino followed suit in December.
Initial sports betting figures from the Hollywood property showed betting handle of $1.4m and revenue of $509k in the two weeks the sportsbook was open in November. The state’s punitive 36% betting tax meant the government kept $183k of the book’s revenue.
CHRIS CHRISTIE SLAMS SPORTS LEAGUES
A little further south, sports betting was a hot topic of discussion at Friday’s launch of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) annual confab in New Orleans. The keynote speech was delivered by Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, who initiated that state’s ultimately successful fight to overturn the federal betting prohibition.
Christie’s speech focused on the years of costly legal opposition New Jersey endured at the hands of the major North American sports leagues, and the irony of these same leagues now demanding a slice of betting handle in the form of ‘integrity fees’ or mandatory data deals, while supporting new federal legislation that would give the leagues a greater say in sports betting operations.
Christie said granting the leagues’ demand for a cut of betting handle would “reward bad behavior” and questioned the need to accommodate the wishes of “people who fought us for seven years with fees that are going to diminish [operators’] margins. They don’t need it and, given their conduct over the past seven years, they don’t deserve it.”
Christie called the new federal betting legislation “a solution in search of a problem” and questioned why the feds needed to get involved in wagering at all, considering that “states have been regulating gaming for decades without incident.”