Parx Race and Sportsbook at Malvern Chickie’s and Pete’s Gets Approval From Regulators, Set To Open in December

Written By Katie Kohler on November 10, 2021 - Last Updated on November 12, 2021

Sports betting and wagering on horse races is officially on the menu at the Parx Race and Sportsbook at Chickie’s and Pete’s in Malvern.

During the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board meeting on Nov. 9, regulators approved the petition by Parx’s parent company, Greenwood Gaming, to open an OTB location in a part of the new Chickie’s and Pete’s in East Whiteland Township, Chester County. Chickie’s and Pete’s in Malvern is planning to open in early to mid-December.

Technically, Parx is moving and scaling back operations of the permanently closed Oaks Race & Sportsbook.

Why Oak Race & Sportsbook closed and the decrease in OTBs

PlayPennsylvania exclusively reported in July 2020 that Oaks Race & Sportsbook (formerly known as the Turf Club) permanently closed. Reps for Parx Casino do not respond to requests for comment on this, or other matters.

During the PGCB meeting, reps for Parx said the Oak Race & Sportsbook closed “due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the outdated model for off-track betting facilities.”

Joe Wilson, the chief operating officer of Parx Racing, commented on the closure of Oaks OTB:

“There was once 23 OTBs in Pennsylvania and today there are only three. Oaks was a 26,000 sq. ft. facility with basically nobody in it. You can’t operate that way. All of the OTBs that closed, it was basically for the same reason, it’s outdated.”

Oaks Race & Sportsbook completed a $500,000 renovation prior to offering sports betting in March 2019. The improvements included several high-definition televisions and improved surveillance equipment.

Gaming regulators asked Parx reps how the OTB became outdated so quickly.

“We were watching OTBs close across the Commonwealth,” said Wilson. “We believed that by adding sports betting it would give a big bump in business. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Part of it was that we were down the road from Valley Forge Casino. It was a big building and you can’t operate like that. You lose money.”

Retail sportsbooks only account for a small sliver of sports betting revenue and handle in Pennsylvania. Over 90% of all wagers are placed on sports betting apps.

The Parx-operated 39,000 sq. ft. South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook is still open. They attempted to move operations to the nearby Chickie’s and Pete’s on Packer Avenue but it was shot down. However, it is pending zoning appeal.

High hopes for new OTB model

Parx reps expressed confidence that the collaboration with Chickie’s and Pete’s, a well-known sports bar, will “reinvigorate off-track betting operations and enhance retail sports wagering opportunities.”

“We see this as the future for both retail sports wagering and sports betting,” said Wilson

Wilson referred to the 250,000 people in Parx’s customer database and Pete Ciarrocchi, the Chairman and CEO of Chickie’s & Pete’s. Ciarrocchi is an active promoter of himself and the sports bar and Parx plans to work with him for big sporting events.

It’s estimated that the Parx Race and Sportsbook at the Malvern Chickie’s and Pete’s will have more than $1.4 million in annual operating expenses. In addition, it will create 20 construction jobs and 12-16 full and part time jobs.

Renderings of Parx Race and Sportsbook at Malvern Chickie’s and Pete’s

Parx Race and Sportsbook at Malvern Chickie’s and Pete’s

Where: The Grove Shopping Center. 10 Liberty Boulevard, Malvern
When does it open? December 2021
Hours: 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays. Will close later on weekends.
Size: 630 sq. feet
How many kiosks? Four sports betting kiosks
Teller windows: Four
Smoking: No
Rules for entry: You must be 21+ to enter the Parx Race & Sportsbook at Chickie’s and Pete’s in Malvern. Security will be on site during operating hours and there will be 24/7 surveillance.
Food and beverage service: None inside of the sportsbook. The idea here is that you go place your bet then return to your table at the restaurant and order their signature Crabfries, crabs, and other items on the menu.
FYI: The room for sports betting at Chickie’s and Pete’s in Malvern will be connected, but separate from the restaurant. You can only access the room from inside the restaurant and there will be no outside entrance for the sportsbook.

Lead photo by Katie Kohler; artist renderings from Parx submitted to PGCB.

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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.

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