Parx Casino, located in Bensalem about 20 miles from the center of Philadelphia, became the fourth Pennsylvania casino to accept sports wagers Tuesday.
The day marked a soft opening for the new sportsbook, as the casino started taking bets at 2 p.m. The official opening ceremonies will take place Thursday after two days of testing.
The Wait is Over for Parx Patrons
The opening comes on the heels of some minor setbacks in December of last year after Parx was expected by many to be the first to allow sports betting in the state.
The delay came as the result of Kambi, the sportsbook services provider partnered with Parx, not getting clearance from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board until late November.
The hometown Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles’ current playoff run reportedly put the onus on the casino to open as soon as it could to allow the Birds’ rabid fanbase to get in on NFL betting.
That was reflected by the first bet taken by the sportsbook from Eagles fan Steve Schwarz. He placed a $50 wager that this weekend’s Philadelphia vs. New Orleans game would hit the 50.5-point over.
The permanent sportsbook, which cost around $10 million to develop, remains unready, so to hold over bettors the property’s 360 Lounge was converted into a temporary sportsbook.
Parx’s Senior Vice President of Interactive Gaming and Sports said the permanent book, scheduled to open sometime in the first half of 2019, will be “spectacular.
“We’re investing close to $10 million into it. There’s going to be an LED screen that wraps around half of the facility, a really nice bar with video poker, TVs everywhere, kiosks for self-service betting. We’re expecting it to be state of the art.”
The location contains everything prospective patrons would desire of a sportsbook in the short term with 20 HD televisions, seven live teller booths, and a full-service bar.
Opening Just in Time for Eagles' Extended Playoff Run
While Tuesday was chosen as the date for the soft opening before the Eagles’ upset win over the Chicago Bears Sunday, their big victory meant that fans would get at least one more chance to bet on the team much to the delight of Cullen.
“Now, the Eagles live to fight another day, we know that there’s going to be a ton of people coming in to watch the game and also bet on it…I’m not an Eagles fan, but I was ecstatic that they won because of what it means for business. It keeps everyone so much more engaged, at least for one more week.”
Approval by the PGCB is still required for the official launch Thursday, but it’s expected to go through without a hitch after a report on the test run. Online sports betting can also be expected in the coming months according to casino staff.
This all was made possible, of course, back in May of 2018 after the Supreme Court ruled to legalize sports betting at the federal level. Pennsylvania was one of the states best positioned to allow it right off the bat thanks to preexisting gambling legislation that had been rolled out the following year.
Parx had its license approved by the PGCB back in October making it one of the eight gambling facilities in the state with plans to offer sports betting. SugarHouse Casino became the first back on December 15 and has maintained an extensive online sportsbook in conjunction with New Jersey properties.