Hollywood Casino and Parx Casino Receive 1st Pennsylvania Sportsbooks

Hollywood Casino Sportsbook

Parx Casino’s sportsbook will open in November, while the Hollywood Sportsbook will open sometime later in the year.

Hollywood Casino near Grantville is one of the first Pennsyvlania casinos to have its sportsbook license. The Hollywood Sportsbook plans to open by the end of 2018, but has not announced its grand opening date.

Parx Casino near Philadelphia received the other sports betting license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week. Parx Casino is a top operator in the Philadelphia area. Parx Casino’s sportsbook license should give the operation a leg up in the early months of Pennsylvania sports betting.

The official licenses go to Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing, which owns Hollywood Casino, and Greenwood Gaming, which owns the South Philadelphia Turf Club and Parx Casino.

Greenwood Gaming also owns a racetrack across the river in New Jersey, as well as the rights to open a sportsbook in Cherry Hill near Camden. The Cherry Hill contract is the source of a lawsuit filed recently.

Parx Sportsbook November Rollout

Parx Casino plans to roll out sports betting at Parx Casino and the South Philadelphia Turf Club sometime in November. Bettors expect the rollout date to be earlier in the month of November, to take better advantage of the second half of the NFL regular season and the final month of the NCAA football season.

Mountainview representatives were less specific about the launch date for their sportsbook, saying only that Hollywood Casino will begin take sports wagers sometime “later this year”.

Mountainview and Greenwood Sportsbook Plans

In a monthly meeting prior to the decision, Mountainview and Greenwood Gaming made presentations before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Both told of their company histories and their experience operating sportsbooks in other states.

Each described their planned sportsbooks and showed artist renderings of what those sports betting venues would look like. In each case, the operators said they would like to launch online sportsbooks and mobile sports betting apps. Neither plans to launch those products at the same time as their land-based sportsbooks, though.

Greenwood Gaming wanted to launch bookmaker operations at the Parx Casino and South Philadelphia Turf Club at the same time, but the regulators said they would not support such a plan. The PGCB wants a soft launch at one of the locations first, so Gaming Control agents can monitor the activity and approve each operation in its turn. In the words of the Gaming Control Board, they “would like a smooth rollout at one facility before going to the second facility”.

Spacing Issue for Mountainview Sportsbook

The only minor issue Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing had was the space for its sportsbook was smaller than regulations allowed. Originally, Mountainview was going to apply for special waivers that would allow it to open a smaller sportsbook, but the PGCB determined that would not be necessary. Instead, the licensed was issued, though the Control Board said it would “set forth conditions” in its later approval of space conditions.

Over time, it is expected that Pennsylvania will have 13 operating sportsbooks. Each casino or racetrack in the state has the right to apply for a sportsbook license. Those approved have 60 days to pay the $10 million licensing fee.

13 Pennsylvania Sportsbooks

Even if a gaming venue decides not to apply for a sports betting license, the state likely would open licensing for other operators. Those might be out-of-state gaming operators or non-gaming businesses within the state, if the satellite casino licensing plan is any indication.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meets again on October 31. It is possible that PGCB will approve other licenses at the Oct. 31 meeting. Three operators have applied for a sportsbook: SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, and Harrah’s Philadelphia, which is located in a Philadelphia suburb (applicant: Chester Downs and Marina).