PA Gaming Review: Live! Casino Betting Apps, More Gambling Stocks on the Way

Written By Kevin Shelly on July 29, 2020 - Last Updated on April 1, 2021
Gaming stocks and online betting apps proliferate in PA

It’s been a busy week in Pennsylvania gaming news, much of it about behind-the-scenes financial plans and adding to the online casino and sports betting market.

Meanwhile, just as sports and sports wagering came back, the Phillies got benched due to positive virus tests for many visiting Marlins players.

Also in PA, one OTB site closed forever, a victim of the virus and changing gambling habits.

Live! hopes to be live online by mid-August

While the Cordish Companies Live! Casino brand is new to PA, the privately held Maryland company is bullish on the Keystone State.

Newly hired executive VP Joe Billhimer this week told PlayPennsylvania the company hopes to launch its online casino and sportsbook in mid-August. That’s well ahead of its virus-delayed brick-and-mortar projects, which include a mini-casino in suburban Pittsburgh and a full-sized casino in Philly.

Billhimer also reiterated the news PlayPennsylvania broke recently that Live! intends to bid for an available mini-casino license on Sept. 2, with bidding starting at $7.5 million. He declined to name the locations, which must be specified as part of the bid.

The current mini-site under construction should open in the fall and the Philly site in early 2021.

Sportsbook action heading to Wall Street

The biggest action involving sportsbooks is behind-the-scenes financial scrambling as Golden Nugget, MGM, William Hill and Rush Street prepare to take their online operations public.

Their moves follow the course set by DraftKings earlier in the year. That stock has taken off along with many other online gambling stocks.

Bettors flock to books, virus hits pause for some MLB teams

Johnny Avello, director of operations at DraftKings, was jazzed about the return of sports wagering.

Futures betting looked strong. Fans were eager for baseball, which mostly began with three-game series.

And then it turned out the virus came to the visitors dugout along with the Marlins on their trip to play the Phillies. Plans for the teams remain in limbo as testing continues.

One OTB closed for good, another remains unopened

Oaks Race & Sportsbook has closed up shop, a victim of the virus and also likely the advent of online wagering options. A customer service rep told PlayPA by phone that the closing is permanent.

And the South Philadelphia Race & Turf Club, a sister operation also run by Parx Casino just across the street from the coming Live! Philadelphia Casino, remains shuttered, but without word on its ultimate fate.

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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