Commonwealth Court Allows Pennsylvania Sportsbook Inside Philly Restaurant

Written By Corey Sharp on January 13, 2024
Photo inside a Philadelphia Chickie's and Pete's for a story about the Commonwealth Court permitting the restaurant to offer a Pennsylvania sportsbook inside its establishment.

Chickie’s and Pete’s is a locally famous restaurant that has grown nationally in recent years. The company is now able to add off-track betting and a sportsbook in its South Philadelphia location thanks to the Commonwealth Court overruling the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustments.

South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook, affiliated with Parx Casino, which also operates one of 13 PA online sportsbooks, is now able to move operations into Chickie’s and Pete’s.

Chickie’s and Pete’s permitted to offer PA sportsbook at restaurant

South Philadelphia is becoming a haven for gambling. In addition to Live! Casino Philadelphia, which is located steps away from the Sports Complex, guests now have the option to place sports wagers at Chickie’s and Pete’s.

The dining establishment is located in a South Philadelphia shopping center near a residential area, less than a mile from the sports complex. Back in 2021, Philadelphia’s Zoning Board of Adjustments voted against the relocation of the South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook, 4-1.

The Commonwealth Court reversed that decision in an announcement earlier this week, according to Law360. It ruled that Philadelphia’s Zoning Board of Adjustments discounted South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook’s testimony. Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon wrote in the court document:

“Applicant put forth evidence that, on its face, satisfied the burden set forth in [the] Zoning Code … that applicant must demonstrate no detrimental impact to the community beyond that which normally might be expected from the proposed use. Here, without making express credibility determinations as to the witnesses, the board disregarded applicant’s material, competent evidence … instead simply characterizing applicant’s witnesses’ testimony as ‘unsupported opinions.'”

In other words, the Zoning Board only listened to the Packer Park Civic Association, a neighborhood organization that vehemently opposed sportsbook activity inside Chickie’s and Pete’s.

Neighborhood association to keep fighting Pennsylvania sportsbook ruling

South Philadelphia Race & Sportsbook is currently located in the vicinity of the Sports Complex already, and is going to move less than a mile away into Chickie’s and Pete’s.

While the timeline of the move remains unclear, Packer Park Civic Association had always been against a sportsbook inside a residential South Philly restaurant. When the Zoning Board voted in 2021, attorney Paul Boni, who represented the association, said:

“A purpose of a zoning code is to protect the community. People can debate whether gambling parlors are already located too conveniently near residential communities. This proposal was to install a sportsbook into a neighborhood shopping center, into an establishment that caters to children. Government is beginning to see that there should be some limit.”

It’ll be interesting to see what the next steps are for the Packer Park Civic Association and its plan to challenge the Commonwealth Court’s ruling.

Photo by Contributed
Corey Sharp Avatar
Written by
Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

View all posts by Corey Sharp
Privacy Policy