The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) holds its next meetings on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3. If all goes well, we should see both Parx and Penn National approved to offer sports betting in the Commonwealth.
The key agenda items are:
“(4) 4.1.4 MOUNTAINVIEW THOROUGHBRED RACING ASSOCIATION, LLC’s Petition for Sports Wagering Certificate; (OHA #7991-2018)
(5) 4.1.5 GREENWOOD GAMING & ENTERTAINMENT, INC.’s Petition for Approval and Authority to Conduct Sports Wagering in the Commonwealth; (OHA #8003-2018)
(6) 4.1.6 GREENWOOD GAMING & ENTERTAINMENT, INC.’s Petition for Approval and Authority to Conduct Sports Wagering at its South Philadelphia Turf Club; (OHA #8004-2018)”
Mountainview is the Penn National company that operates the Hollywood Casino at the Penn National Racecourse near Harrisburg.
Greenwood Gaming is the corporate vehicle behind the Parx Casino and Racing venue located 20 minutes North of Center City Philadelphia.
PGCB reviewing first sports betting applications on Wednesday
Penn National was the first of Pennsylvania’s licensed casinos to commit to the $10 million license fee on Aug. 17.
Parx followed on Aug. 24 with applications both for the Parx Casino and for the South Philadelphia Turf Club. The PGCB will review both applications at its Oct. 3 meeting.
Located off the Packer Avenue exit of I-95, the Turf Club is:
“next to The Citizen’s Bank Field, home of the Phillies, The Lincoln Financial Field and Stadium, where the Eagles play, and just blocks from the Wachovia Complex, home of the Flyers and the 76ers.”
In retrospect, that location decision looks prescient. It should pay off nicely, as sports supporters get to place their bets before going on to the game. However, it will get competition from Stadium Casino, which will open inside Stadium Park in 2020.
There was a brief hiatus before anyone else went public with a sports betting application. Then, this week two more casinos made the plunge.
First Harrah’s Philadelphia on the Chester waterfront put in its application, and on September 26 Philadelphia’s Sugarhouse Casino entered the fray.
Harrah’s is owned by Caesars which already operates sports betting at its properties in Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi.
Sugarhouse is the only non-racino to have applied, but it is already offering mobile sports betting in New Jersey under the Golden Nugget’s license.
The PGCB is processing applications at a measured pace
When Penn National first applied for its sports betting license Penn National Vice President Fred Lipkin explained:
“Our plan is to locate our sports book in a newly renovated simulcast theater area at Hollywood Casino and the operations will managed by William Hill US, the largest sports betting operator in the United States. Operations are expected to begin later this Fall upon final approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.”
Now it looks like it will take a bit more time before the first sports bets happen in Pennsylvania. The PGCB rules don’t help make the process run quickly.
Applications must be submitted at least 90 days in advance of taking a bet. That 90-day minimum gives Penn National the earliest start date of Nov. 15. It is possible PGCB shortens that window. They have the ability to do so, should they choose.
Parx could theoretically follow on Nov. 22. However, Harrah’s and Sugarhouse likely won’t be able to take any bets until December. That’s assuming they get approval at November’s PGCB meeting.
More interactive license applications
The Oct. 3 PGCB meeting will also review interactive license applications from Sands Bethlehem, Rivers Casino and Valley Forge.
The takeover of Valley Forge by Boyd Gaming was approved at the last meeting. It too should file a sports betting application in the near feature.
These approvals are necessary for the three casinos to offer online poker, table games, and slots.
The Sands application will be very interesting. Sands owner Sheldon Adelson is a vehement opponent of online gambling. However, the casino’s new owners, Wind Cree Hospitality wants to pursue online gaming.
All approvals should go through without objection.