Legal Sports Betting Launches in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board gave the go-ahead on October 3rd, 2018 for two gaming businesses to begin legal operations, one of which is already launching into online casinos and ilottery.

Physical operations for Pennsylvania sports betting

The two businesses are operating out of three different locations to conduct state-regulated legal sports betting. The Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, owned by Penn National, was authorized to launch sports betting at the Hollywood Casino and Racetrack, which is expected to be one of the biggest US casino companies. Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment authorized to begin operating at the Parx Casino, the most successful of the 12 Pennsylvania casinos and the largest gambling facility in the state. The South Philadelphia Turf Club is beginning operation under Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment.

Several arrangements are currently being made in preparation of Parx Casino. This includes the conversion of its 360 Lounge into a temporary sportsbook, featuring seven sports betting windows and 12 self-service kiosks. The sportsbook lounge will feature 75-inch televisions showing different sports and two 16×9-foot high-definition televisions presenting betting odds. $1 million are being spent on renovating Parx’s South Philadelphia Turf Club. This off-track betting outlet will become a satellite sportsbook with new carpet, paint, security measures — and 150 HD televisions. John Dixon, the chief technology officer of Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc., Parx’s parent company claims, “You can watch pretty much any game that’s on in the country.”

Preparations underway for Pennsylvania online casino and lottery

Parx officials intend to start online sports betting by 2019. Online sports betting will be registered to any registered player in the state. Tony Ricci, Chief executive of the Parx parent company stated that with online gambling, the situation gets more complex. All vendors involved need licensing and must be tested. A smartphone-based betting system makes it much easier for players to bet on live games. This accounts for most sports betting business in New Jersey. Parx hopes to offer in-house wireless betting at its casinos. This would allow players at its physical locations to place bets on mobile devices through the casino’s internal WiFi system.

Hollywood Casino and Racetrack at Penn National, expected to soon be one of the biggest US casino companies, stepped into the world of online gambling in late 2018. The Hollywood Casino sportsbook expects to have nearly 60 televisions in an existing 5,000-square-foot horse-racing simulcast theater.

Located in the heart of Philly’s major league sports neighborhood, the South Philadelphia Turf Club is a 27,000 square foot facility offering high definition digital monitors. Sports betting at the Turf Club will take place next to the horse race betting area. Huge additional groups of television screens will be available in order for the punter to watch live sports events from across the world. Like its counterparts, Turf Club plans to launch online or mobile sports betting in the early part of 2019, using its local wi-fi networks.

Casino games at Parx and Hollywood Casino and Racetrack

Players will find casino slots, video poker, blackjack, and many others at these locations.

On GAN’s platform, players can find Game King video poker games in addition to in-house products. Parx social casino offers 16 different online video poker games and three versions of Blackjack. With Blackjack’s popularity in any real-money or social online casino, its sufficient on the GAN platform. GAN offers a massive catalog of online slots games with popular titles including:

  • 50 Lions
  • African Diamond
  • Crazy Money
  • King of Bling
  • Neon City Casino
  • Robin Hood
  • Total Meltdown
  • Grand Dragon
  • Guys Night
  • Lunar Loot
  • China Shores
  • Neon City Casino

Table games on the Parx casino platform include:

  • Roulette
  • Keno
  • Poker Bet
  • Hi/Lo Solitare

Hollywood Casino and Racetrack could offer over 20 different versions of video poker featured in Golden Nugget’s library. Assuming Hollywood is on board with NYX/Scientific Games, players would have the option of the following:

  • Double Bonus Poker (2)
  • Double Double Bonus Poker (2)
  • Deuces Wild
  • Jacks or Better (2)
  • Bonus Poker
  • Aces & Faces
  • Tens or Better
  • Triple Play Poker
  • Jester Poker
  • All-American Poker

Blackjack is a common favorite, of which the two NYX/Scientific Games casinos in New Jersey offer a selection of. However, as Pennsylvania is a state with strict regulatory limitations, Hollywood may limit certain versions of the games. Golden Nugget’s high rank in New Jersey is due to its extensive online slots library, including progressive jackpot slots along with more familiar titles. Other games one would find at a Hollywood Casino include Roulette, Craps, European Roulette, Let it Ride, Three Card Poker, as well as Live Dealer games.

Loyalty and Rewards Programs

Parx Casino has a player loyalty program under the name of XClub. This system is based on the number of credits a player earns over periods of six months. This player activity determines their card status. The three levels are tiered as follows:

Players: 999 credits or less

Premium: 1,000+ credits

Elite: 7,500+ credits

Hollywood at Penn National may offer a rewards program linking the online rewards with its brick and mortar casino. Penn National properties use the Marquee Rewards program, which runs nationwide. Players can earn points at a casino in Pennsylvania and spend them at a different location. This could make Hollywood online casino much more attractive to prospective customers.

The regulatory hurdle ahead for Parx

With regulatory concerns still in the mix, Parx still has an obstacle course to hurdle through before things start happening. Certain conditions are still awaiting authorizations. This means that the signing off on the launch will heavily rely on the Office of Enforcement Counsel (OEC).

More to come for Pennsylvania casinos and online gambling

With a whopping $10 million license fee, Pennsylvania makes it harder than ever to apply for a sports betting license. However, Penn National was the first Pennsylvania casino to jump this hurdle. Parx was second. Now three others have also submitted an application. Rivers Casino, Sugarhouse Casino, and Harrah’s Philadelphia are next in line.

Sugarhouse has mobile sports betting currently operating in New Jersey. Caesars Entertainment, the owner of Harrah’s casino, has a mobile sports betting app in New Jersey along with live sports betting at two New Jersey casinos and two in Mississippi.


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