Parx, Mount Airy, Harrah’s Gain Interactive Gaming Licenses

Parx Casino Online

Parx Casino is owned by Greenwood Gaming, which bought the racetrack in 1998 and opened a casino in 2010.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved the online gambling licenses for three land-based operators this week: Harrah’s, Parx Casino, and Mount Airy Casino. Nine Pennsylvania casinos applied for interactive gaming licenses last month, but the three licensed this week were the first to gain approval.

The licenses approved this week give Mount Airy, Parx, and Harrah’s the right to launch online poker sites. As reported last week, Mount Airy Casino has a deal with PokerStars. Mount Airy also has a 2015 contract with 888 Holdings, but it is unknown if 888 Poker will have any role to play in Mount Airy’s interactive gaming moving forward.

Pennsylvania gaming laws allow brick-and-mortar casino license holders to partner with multiple online operators, so it is possible Mount Airy could deal with PokerStars and 888 at the same time. Online operators can sign with multiple land-based casinos, so 888 and PokerStars might sign other deals in the future.

Mount Airy Deals with 888, PokerStars

Licensing deals call for 888’s and PokerStars’ online poker rooms to feature the Mount Airy Casino name and logo prominently on their sites, so their online card room’s high traffic should translate to increased traffic in Mount Airy’s live casino, which is located about 25 miles north of Philadelphia.

During a Q2 earnings call this past Monday, Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi announced the PokerStars/Mount Airy site will launch in Pennsylvania in the first quarter of 2019. At the time, Ashkenazi could not announce a more specific time table, because the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board had not announced a decision on licensing yet.

Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia

Chester Downs and Marina LLC, the operator of Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia, also received approval for an interactive gaming portal. license includes approval for online slots, online table games, and online poker.

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack is a racino located on the Chester waterfront. The track first opened for harness racing in 2006. The racetrack’s casino was built on the site of the Sun Shipbuilding campus, at one time a massive shipbuilding complex in the Philadelphia area, which opened in 1917 and closed in 1989.

The slots parlor, which opened in 2010, includes 2,900 slot machines in 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of gaming space. The complex also features a 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2) event center. The inception of Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia in 2010 was one of the Pennsylvania racinos which most impacted Atlantic City casino’s revenues, because it meant so many slots players from the Philadelphia area would stay home instead of visiting Atlantic City.

Parx Casino Approval

Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., which operates Parx Casino in Bensalem, was the third land-based casino to receive an interactive gaming license. Like Harrah’s Philadelphia, Parx Casino received approval for online slots, online table games, and online poker.

Bensalem, Pennsylvania is a township in Bucks County. Bensalem is one of the northern suburbs of Philadelphia. Parx Casino began as Keystone Racetrack in 1974, though the racecourse changed its name to Philadelphia Park by 1984. Greenwood Racing bought the track in 1998. Though Penn National Gaming had part ownership in the park at one time, Greenwood Gaming continues to own Parx Casino.

The site gained its current name in August 2010. At present, Parx Casino is more than a racino. The gaming space includes 3,500 slot machines, 140 live table games, and a complete poker room with 60 poker tables. Parx racetrack has live racing and simulcast action. Both are serviced by several restaurants and bars.

Presque Isle Downs

During the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting on Wednesday, Presque Isle Downs petitioned for an online slots and table games license. The PGCB announced it would consider Presque Isle Downs’ application, as well as the other 9 license applications, during the September 2018 and October 2018 PGCB monthly meetings.