Pennsylvania is a state chock-full of options for the horse bettor, both live and off-track betting parlors (OTBs). There are six facilities within the state that offer live racing and horse betting most of the year.
All those tracks also offer simulcast racing from tracks around the country. In addition, several of the state’s casino interests operate standalone OTB facilities in various locations around the Keystone State.
Pennsylvania horse racing facilities – Live and OTB
First and foremost, there are six properties in Pennsylvania that host live horseracing for wager. The tracks are designated for either thoroughbred or harness racing. They are (location in parenthesis):
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course (Grantville)
- Parx Casino and Racing (Bensalem)
- Presque Isle Downs & Casino (Erie)
- Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack (Chester)
- The Meadows Racetrack and Casino (Washington)
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (Wilkes-Barre)
Each of these properties also offers simulcast wagering from tracks around the country. However, four of these operators also own standalone facilities throughout the state.
Parx Turf Clubs
Parx Racing has opened five facilities around the Philadelphia area throughout the years of Pennsylvania off-track betting. There is now just one location that remains open. They are collectively known as “turf clubs.”
South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook
South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook is in the heart of Philadelphia’s sports district. The club is located at the southeast corner of Packer Avenue and South Darien Street. It is one of two OTBs that also functions as a PA sportsbook.
In fact, visitors to Citizens Bank Park could conceivably park at the facility. South Philadelphia Turf Club is across the street from Lot Q at the home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Just to the south are Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center. These two venues host the Philadelphia Eagles and the Philadelphia 76ers/Philadelphia Flyers. In short, the turf club basically overlooks all the major Philadelphia sports arenas.
To capitalize on this location, the club features a glass-enclosed dining area that offers views of the stadiums and the Philadelphia skyline. The facility also offers 27,000 square feet of space and numerous television screens for patrons.
The Oaks Race and Sportsbook (Permanently Closeed)
The Oaks Race and Sportsbook, formerly known as Valley Forge Turf Club, was located just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, just south of Egypt Road. It was a combination racebook and retail sports betting facility.
After closing in mid-March, 2020 due to state-mandated coronavirus closures, it never re-opened.
Northeast Turf Club (Permanently Closed)
Northeast Turf Club was located in the Roosevelt Mall in Philadelphia, at the northern corner of the intersection between Cottman and Bustleton Avenues.
It is no longer in operation.
Penn National off-track wagering
Casino company Penn National used to own and operate two off-track wagering facilities in the central part of Pennsylvania. Both are since shuttered.
Penn National Lancaster (Permanently Closed)
The Lancaster location for Penn National was at the intersection of the Lincoln Highway East and South Oakview Road, in East Towne Centre, southwest of the intersection. It is no longer in operation.
Penn National York (Permanently Closed)
The Penn National off-track facility in York was on the north side of Loucks Road (Highway 30), just to the west of I-83. It appears to be no longer in operation.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the owner/operator of two off-track facilities in Pennsylvania. The Wilkes-Barre casino chose to brand both facilities as “The Downs.”
There was also a third facility in Carbondale. However, it no longer appears on the Mohegan Sun website, and Google lists the venue as permanently closed.
The Downs at East Stroudsburg (Permanently closed)
The Downs at East Stroudsberg is located in the Eagles Glen Mall parking lot off Route 80. As the facility tells it, this location is in the heart of the Poconos.
The venue features several large televisions and a themed sports bar. The Downs broadcasts and accepts wagers on both harness and thoroughbred racing. On the first Saturday of each month, customers can enter handicapping contests for big prizes.
The Downs at Lehigh Valley
The Downs at Lehigh Valley is located at the western corner of Airport Road and Airport Center Road in Allentown. Unlike some of the other facilities, this is a proper venue for off-track betting.
In fact, it is the largest OTB location in Pennsylvania, clocking in at 28,000 square feet of gaming space. The facility features both a large central bar and a full-service dining room. It is convenient for customers in Allentown, Easton, and Bethlehem.
The facility offers retail sports betting in addition to horse racing.
Meadows off-track betting
The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington has a somewhat rocky history with operating OTB venues. The property has opened three of them over the years. Meadows Harmar was the last one standing but now, all have closed.
Meadows Harmar (Permanently closed)
Its lone location is in Harmar, just northeast of Pittsburgh. The property is located on Anchor Drive, just east of the intersection between the Allegheny Valley Expressway and PA-910.
Meadows Harmar offers a full-service restaurant and bar that can seat over 100 patrons. The property itself features 250 television screens and an outdoor viewing deck.
Meadows Harmar is also less than 3 miles from the famous Oakmont Country Club. The club has hosted numerous well-known golf tournaments, including the 2016 US Open.