Hooray For Hollywood: Penn National Now Hiring For Its Pennsylvania Sportsbook

Written By Grant Lucas on September 10, 2018
Hollywood sign

The process of rolling out its sports betting operation in Pennsylvania is ramping up for Penn National Gaming.

The first PA company to apply for regulated wagering in the Keystone State posted job openings for its sportsbook at Hollywood Casino in Grantville, signaling the casino’s step forward toward potentially becoming the state’s first retail sportsbook.

Only two gaming groups have applied for PA sports betting licenses (Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment is the other). However, Penn National is the first to post open sportsbook positions.

Open jobs posted at Hollywood

Penn National held interviews Sept. 6 for Sports Book Representatives and, according to the job posting, made “offers on the spot.” The company also posted openings for part-time reps.

Included in the responsibilities:

  • Writing, verifying and making payments on betting tickets
  • Maintaining a cash bank for each shift
  • Explaining, in essence, how sports betting works (rules, lines, odds, etc.) to patrons

Also listed was an opening for Sports Book Supervisor, which shares many of the same responsibilities as representatives. The position also includes training, developing, and measuring performances of all employees while ensuring they adhere to company policies and procedures as well as gaming compliance.

PA sports betting becoming reality

Last month, Penn National became the first Pennsylvania company to apply for a sports betting license in the Keystone State. Despite a well-documented aversion to the state’s lofty $10 million licensing fee and 36 percent tax rate, Penn National still rationalized its submission for licensing. The company also owns The Meadows. For now, Penn National’s plans only include Hollywood Casino.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story last week quotes Penn National SVP Eric Schippers as to why the company applied for a license despite the jaw-dropping fees.

“While we continue to have concerns about the tax rate, we ultimately decided to make a go of it, while continuing to educate the Legislature on the importance of a competitive tax rate. We felt the best way to do that is to share our first-hand experience with them.”

If approved, Penn National could offer retail and mobile sports betting within the state. William Hill will partner with the company for both brick-and-mortar and online wagering.

When will Penn National take bets though?

State regulations call for casinos to submit sports betting applications 90 days in advance of launch. That suggests a mid-November opening for Hollywood’s sportsbook. That said, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board chairman can shorten the timeline, allowing for Penn National to begin accepting wagers earlier.

Penn National noted it would be ready to take bets by the end of September, though that appears pie-in-the-sky. Still, Penn National Vice President Fred Lipkin expressed optimism for his casino’s sports betting future.

“We believe this will provide us another attractive amenity at Hollywood Casino, in addition to our full suite of the latest slot machines, table games, multiple dining outlets, exciting live racing and soon to be online gaming offerings. Our plan is to locate our sports book in a newly renovated simulcast theater area at Hollywood Casino and the operations will be 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.”

What about Parx?

Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment was the other PA company to apply for a sports betting license — and it did so for two properties.

In late August, the group requested approval to offer regulated wagering at both Parx Casino and South Philadelphia Turf Club. GGE has emphasized the PGCB green-lighting operations at Parx for both retail and mobile.

Respecting the 90-day period between submission and going live, GGE asked the PA board to “review this Petition and grant its Certificate expeditiously so as to enable GGE to commence sports wagering in a timeframe that enables it to capture as much of the popular fall sports season and events as possible.” It will no get heard any earlier than Oct. 2.

That said, the group has yet to post sportsbook job openings.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.

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