Parx Sportsbook rolled out the red carpet and the new innovations when it launched.
The Bensalem property underwent two-day Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB)testing Jan. 8. It then became fully operational two days later. Its sister property, South Philadelphia Turf Club, began accepting wagers Jan. 17, becoming the first off-track betting parlor house a sportsbook.
With the two openings, the PA sports betting industry grew from three sportsbooks at the end of 2018 to five facilities. The Keystone State is still learning the wagering ropes. But Parx, courtesy of its bookmaking partner Kambi Group, has its eyes set further down the road.
Along with an array of amenities at its temporary sportsbook, Parx also features an online platform for bettors. It allows customers to build betting slips beforehand, from wherever they live, even if outside Pennsylvania, and take their betting slips to the sportsbook to place their wagers.
Aptly named “Betslip Builder,” the Kambi-powered website is considered the first of its kind in the United States. It is also an innovation that sets up Parx for a seemingly seamless transition into the online sports betting world come spring.
“It’s conditioning the customer to be ready for mobile sports betting,” Max Bichsel, the Kambi US director, said in a phone interview. “What we see in New Jersey is mobile accounts for a significant handle share. … It’s getting the customer used to the experience.”
Get to know Parx Sportsbook Betslip Builder
First and foremost, Bichsel emphasized: Betslip Builder is not an online sports betting product. Rather, it is “just a website.”
That said, upon visiting the page, the site certainly has the appearance and feel of a mobile sportsbook.
The splash page features the top events on which to wager, while the menu on the left side of the screen provides a list of sports on which to bet. Odds are up-to-date, of course. Events include available markets for bettors to explore, such as:
- Point spreads
Using Betslip Builder is not unlike making a shopping list. Users simply click on the team they believe will win, and that pick is added to the betslip, which pops up on the right side of the screen.
As shown, users can select to wager singles wagers, parlays or round robins. Once they input their desired bet, the betslip calculates the wagers’ “potential payout.”
Once complete, customers head to Parx Sportsbook along with this slip and scan the QR code with any of the tellers or at any of the 12 self-service kiosks within the sportsbook or at any of the other 14 kiosks on the casino floor. Within seconds, that bet is made.
More ease, more freedom for PA sports betting
Sports betting in Pennsylvania remains a young industry. The state’s first sportsbook, Hollywood Sportsbook near Harrisburg, opened its doors in mid-November.
To help the public better understand PA sports betting, Kambi helped create Betslip Builder, which also serves to expedite lines at Parx Sportsbook. Bichsel explains:
“It allows people to move quickly and more freely. I think the immediate benefit is it reduces queues or lines in the actual sportsbook. If someone visits the site … you can look at lines and create bets and parlays and save them so that when you do go to the sportsbook at parx, you can make those bets.”
Betslip Builder “focuses on the customer,” Bichsel said, and the site “makes sports betting more approachable.”
“It’s your own tastes. It’s your own comfort level. As a first-time sports bettor, you don’t know what to say or what to bet on. (Betslip Builder) is all in an effort to make the consumer comfortable.”
Parx Betslip Builder readies crowd for online PA sports betting
Kambi’s first steps onto American soil came in nearby New Jersey, where the group operates three mobile sportsbooks, including two of the top three in terms of revenue.
Bichsel said the Garden State proved to be “an important steppingstone for us” and “an important milestone for us to prove ourselves.”
In addition, Kambi, like everyone else, discovered the importance of online sports betting.
Mobile New Jersey wagering launched in August. Since then, online handle has swelled from $21.7 million to $241 million in December. Along with that rise, the online share of accepted wagers has grown from 22.7 percent of overall handle in August to 75.5 percent last month.
Logically, then, online PA sports betting will become a beast in its own right. State regulators are expected to give the green light for mobile sportsbooks as early as next month, and Parx will likely be among the crowd that rolls out an online product.
Bichsel noted that the plan is for Betslip Builder to become a downloadable app for customers. Whether the Parx online sportsbook will be integrated within that app, Bichsel said, is up to Parx to decide.
Innovation to give Parx a leg up
Kambi’s responsibility, Bichsel said, is for the company to provide operators with “the tools to build something innovative.”
With Betslip Builder, Kambi and Parx did just that. The site “focuses on Parx’s aspirations, not only as an organization and casino but specifically as they grow out sports betting here in 2019.”
As a result, the sportsbook gained a significant leg up on the PA sports betting industry, according to Bichsel, especially with the looming launch of online wagering.
“Parx takes sports betting very seriously. It’s something we’ve been working on for the better part of 2018. They put the resources behind it, they have the right people in the right places to make decisions, and for us, it’s a key partnership for us to deliver whatever Parx needs and wants. And I think you see that with what’s available.”
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