[toc]The biggest name in Pennsylvania casinos is getting bigger. Parx Casino in Philadephia recently announced a $50 million expansion plan which will add 45,000 square feet to the property. The project will include a new concert hall, two new restaurants, and more space for poker players.
Parx already a land-based casino leader
Parx first opened its doors in 2009, and already expanded once in 2010 when it unveiled Parx East. The annex area expanded the gaming floor, adding table games and poker tables.
With 260,000 square feet of gaming space, 130 table games, and 3,500 slot machines, Parx is already one of the market leaders in the Keystone State. The new expansion is less about gaming and more about bringing non-gaming attractions to Parx.
Centerpiece of project is Xcite Center
The most noteworthy addition of the construction project is the 1,500-seat theater, the Xcite Center. Currently, the nightclub 360 is the only venue Parx has for musical performances and events. The new theater allows the casino to book bigger musical acts and other live entertainment.
On the whole, while Parx has exceptional casino game offerings, it lacks some of the draws of destination casino resorts. Bringing in patrons with an entertainment slate should draw new customers to the property who might not have visited otherwise.
The other major draws in the new plans are two new restaurants. One is a name familiar to Philadelphia locals, Lombardi’s. The New York pizzeria has a sister restaurant in Philadelphia called Gennaro’s Tomato Pie, but the Parx location will be only the second Lombardi’s location in the country.
The second restaurant will be the Liberty Bell Gastropub, which will feature farm-to-table dining. The restaurant will join Parxgrill and Bamboo Noodle House as one of the higher-end dining options on the property. Primarily, Parx offers quick service food and more casual fare, like local favorite Chickie’s & Pete’s.
Parx expanding live poker, but still against online poker
Another element of the expansion worth noting is a new poker room. Poker is a big draw for Parx, which has hosted national tours like the World Poker Tour and Poker Night in America in the past.
Just because the casino is expanding live poker does not mean it is investing in expanding poker online though. The casino is openly against the movement to legalize online casinos in Pennsylvania. Parx testified to the PA legislature earlier this year, and cited brick and mortar cannibalization as its major concern.
In reality though, it benefits Parx financially to maintain the status quo. The casino is the top earner in the state with over $389 million in slots revenue last year.
If online casinos are regulated, smaller properties in the state would be on equal footing as the big dogs for the new revenue source. In fact, some casinos which already have an existing relationship with online casino providers would arguably have a leg up over Parx, which does not.
In the meantime, Parx continues to differentiate itself on the brick and mortar front. The new additions to the property should arrive by early 2018.