Live! Casino Philadelphia and CEO David Cordish Finally Having Fun and Flying High

Written By Katie Kohler on September 30, 2022 - Last Updated on April 10, 2024
Live! Casino Philadelphia

After the Philadelphia Eagles dismantled the Minnesota Vikings during their Week 2 Monday Night Football matchup, jubilant fans poured out of Lincoln Financial Field. Their voices were hoarse but they still had a few more E-A-G-L-E-S chants left. The 69,879 fans were all cloaked in some form of Eagles green. So was Live! Casino Philadelphia, which is just across the street from the Linc. Live! Casino Philadelphia was illuminated in Eagles green and the stadium district had been pulsing with energy since lots opened for tailgating.

After opening in February 2021 under the City of Philadelphia’s heavy pandemic restrictions, Live! Casino Philadelphia, much like its NFL neighbor, is finally flying.

As CEO David Cordish said, it’s all a part of the main ingredient that makes casinos successful – fun.

Philadelphia Eagles game day at Live! Philadelphia

Parking for Philadelphia Eagles games increased from $40 to $45 this season. Live! Casino rewards gold members and above park for free at the casino. If you park at the top of the garage, you get a great view of the sports complex. On the elevator to the ground level, former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski joins you for the ride. A nearly life size “Jaws” is on the elevator doors. He partnered with Live! Philadelphia for “Ron Jaworski’s $100k football challenge” where fans can make picks against him for a chance to win prizes.

During the game, whether you are immersed in the giant 52-foot LED display FanDuel Sportsbook or playing blackjack with a dealer who is likely wearing an Eagles jersey, it’s hard to miss a play since the game is on every screen. Even the fight song plays when the Eagles score.

Even when the game ends, a casino never sleeps. There’s a bit of a correlation to thermodynamics. Energy cannot be created or destroyed so it changes states. Many of the 70k fans leaving Lincoln Financial are still full of energy, ready to celebrate, too excited to go right home, So, they simply change state from Lincoln Financial Field to Live! Casino Philadelphia since energy attracts energy.

David Cordish on what makes casinos great

The Cordish Companies has developed the following casino hotel resorts:

  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
  • Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland
  • Live! Casino Philadelphia
  • In addition, it also developed the mini-casino, Live! Casino Pittsburgh.

Cordish also has a national reputation for developing entertainment districts and venues like Xfinity Live! in Philadelphia which is also in the stadium district.

“When we started with Xfinity Live! what was in our mind was planting a flag and getting into the stadium district. Where else would you rather be than right near I-95 and the Schuylkill Expressway. It took us another 8-9 years, there was competition for the casino license and we were successful in beating out some terrific competition. I think a lot of it had to do with location,” said Cordish during a gaming conference in Atlantic City.

During the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City in September, David Cordish spoke at an industry leader roundtable about what he believes makes casinos successful. All of them have slots and table games, but what gets people to leave their house and visit?

“The great casinos, the casinos that are really successful, understand the word ‘fun.’ If you look at our casinos, they knock the cover off the ball from the success standpoint and the reason is they are fun. In the stadium district of Philadelphia, you have all four pro teams. It really doesn’t exist anywhere else in the U.S.  That’s fun. And there are concerts. To us, that is a perfect place to plant our flag.”

On the stage surrounded by industry leaders, the 82-year-old Cordish is a titan. He maintains a boyish grin and keeping the fun and the exclamation point in Live! as the differentiating factor.

Live! Casino Philadelphia fiscal year figures

The $700 million Live! Casino Philadelphia opened in February 2021. The City of Philadelphia instituted tighter and longer pandemic regulations than the rest of the state. While customers at Live! Casino Philadelphia had to wear masks, customers at casinos a few miles away could go maskless. The rest of the state dropped restrictions but Philadelphia kept them in place for weeks or months.

“That was not fun,” Cordish told Play Pennsylvania after the Industry Leaders Roundtable. “We had to live with the city’s restrictions. It was like a weight lifted. Now we can compete. We just took off like a rocket once the city lifted those restrictions.”

In the highly competitive southeastern Pennsylvania gambling market with Rivers Casino Philadelphia and long-time leader Parx a half hour away, fiscal year 2021/2022 figures show where Live! Casino Philadelphia is building its hold with customers.

In FY 21/22, Live! Philadelphia accounted for $99.8 million in table games revenue ranking them fourth in the state of the 16 land-based casinos.

While over 90% of all sports bets are placed online, Live! Casino Philadelphia has seen the benefit of a retail sportsbook with a brand like FanDuel and a prime location.

Top retail sportsbooks by handle in FY 2021/2022:

  • Rivers Casino Philadelphia: $77 million
  • Rivers Casino Pittsburgh: $76.2 million
  • Parx: $74 million
  • Live! Casino Philadelphia: $58.5 million
Katie Kohler Avatar
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist and Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania. Katie especially enjoys creating unique content and on-the-ground reporting in PA. She is focused on creating valuable, timely content about casinos and sports betting for readers. Katie has covered the legal Pennsylvania gambling industry for Catena Media since 2019.

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