Bankroll’s long awaited debut is finally over as the new Philadelphia sports bar opened on Friday, March 3.
Located in the Rittenhouse section of Philadelphia, Bankroll is not your typical sports bar.
While Bankroll has lots of TVs, an expanded drink menu and variety of food options, the new sports bar has offerings that no other establishment across the country has. Using PA sportsbooks from your phone is one of them.
Just before the grand opening, PlayPennsylvania spoke with founder Paul Martino and CEO Padma Rao on what makes Bankroll so unique.
A new, modern way to socialize over sports
Martino walked into the mayor’s office several years ago and proposed an idea: Philadelphia should brand themselves as the most “sports-forward” city in the United States.
Bankroll has just about any kind of experience a visitor is looking for. The new sports bar has two areas, The Big Game Room and The Boyd, in which both are public, upscale restaurant style with fine dining.
They also have private and VIP areas that include The Club, The Lounge and The Suites. All of which can accommodate larger parties of eight, all the way to 50 people.
Martino and Rao used to work in San Francisco, where the Giants’ ballpark is a short walk from businesses downtown. The Stadium District in South Philadelphia is four miles from Bankroll.
“We want the law clerks right across the street to be more excited about ticketed seats in one of our rooms than going down to the stadium,” Martino said. “It’s a pain in the butt to travel four miles to the stadium. You have to worry about parking and leave early. You can walk across the street and hang out upstairs in the club. That’s exactly who we’re going after.”
Rao added Bankroll wants the modern invested sports fan, whether it’s in the team, gambling or both.
“The physical world needs to be reinvented with tech enablement in mind,” Rao said. “Everything from the apps, to the screens, the controlling of the screens, to the private, the semi-private, to non-private areas, we were trying to think of all the ways that somebody would want to consume this with other people.”
Bankroll Philadelphia to host ticketed sporting events
Martino wants to eliminate lines at the door to enter a bar. With the Phillies, Union and Eagles each playing in their respective championship game/series, incredibly long lines formed prior to the games outside of bars across the city.
Unless a visitor sits at the bar, Bankroll is offering a ticketed entry system for most Philadelphia sports game days. It’s the same concept of having a ticket for a game.
Visitors can use a variety of methods, including Resy and Sevenrooms, to buy tickets to watch a game at Bankroll.
“It’s Super Bowl Sunday, I don’t want to be in a line outside at the local sports bar. I want to know that I’ve got a seat the same way I do if I went to the game,” Martino said. “Having this new offering which is ticketed seating for the sports viewing experience, we think we’re on to something pretty big there.”
With March Madness approaching, Rao said that patrons have already requested seating for the first full day of the tournament.
“We haven’t even completely put out what the model is yet, but they’re just going to pay a minimum on the table,” Rao said. “They are creating a ticketed experience when we haven’t even put it out to them. That’s when we feel like we’re going in the right direction.”
“People will pay a premium to know they’re in the right part of the place and have a guaranteed seat as opposed to getting there four hours before game time to make sure they get in.”
Pennsylvania sports betting at Bankroll
When Martino pitched the idea for Bankroll, sports betting in Pennsylvania was legal for only eight months. Martino, FanDuel’s first US investor, had to have a vision years and years down the line.
“Focusing on your highest lifetime value players and building a luxury experience is where the puck had to go,” Martino said. “So if we built a low-end place focused on activation, that market is already gone.”
“In a place like Pennsylvania that has iGaming and sports betting, focusing on your highest lifetime value players and giving them unique experiences like tables and access to a place like Bankroll, that’s where it’s going. If you’re betPARX, FanDuel or DraftKings, you need these experiences for what we call the hippo players, not whales.”
In addition to the several TVs, visitors will see screens that show PA sportsbook promotions and odds for games on that specific day.
When booking a reservation for Bankroll, visitors will be asked about their sports betting experience. All of the information is stored into Bankroll’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database.
“It’s all about educating the customer,” Martino said. “Build your bankroll and be a better bettor. That’s what our thinking is.”
Bankroll will have staffers on-site to help educate and guide visitors on sports betting.
Other potential Bankroll offerings
Martino said that Seth Joyner will be broadcasting his weekly show at Bankroll. Part of Bankroll’s agreement with Joyner is to have the former Eagles linebacker host a seminar on one of the big screens to explain how the Eagles’ defense works a few times a season.
“We’re going to have interesting offerings like that, I don’t think you’ll be able to get anywhere else,” Martino said.
During the dog days of summer on a Phillies off day, Bankroll will turn to other offerings.
“I’ve really pushed the team to look for other programming, Rao said. “On Valentine’s Day, we were open for movie night.”
Martino added that Bankroll will be showing other sports throughout the day. European soccer, cricket and Formula 1 racing are all on the list. Martino was on the board of FanDuel from 2010-18 and has seen the love for international sports.
“FanDuel did a lot of branded lounges around the country and you’d be amazed at who would show up at 10 a.m. for cricket.”
Bankroll social media platforms
Keep up-to-date with Bankroll by following its social media channels: