Just in time to catch the betting action for this weekend’s Eagles playoff game, Parx Casino on Tuesday conducted a soft launch of its new sportsbook, aiming for a full-fledged grand opening on Thursday.
The Bensalem casino began accepting bets in a temporary venue, the former 360 bar and lounge, under the watchful eye of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. If the board approves, the casino plans to formally open for wagering at 1 p.m. Thursday.
The first bet was placed by Steve Schwarz of Bensalem, who wagered $50 that the final combined score in the Eagles-New Orleans game on Sunday would exceed 50 points. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Schwarz, who writes about fantasy sports.
Parx is the second casino in the Philadelphia area to launch sports wagering, after SugarHouse launched last month, and the fourth in Pennsylvania. The state started taking applications for sports-wagering licenses after the Supreme Court in May declared a federal ban unconstitutional.
Though Parx has not yet started mobile betting, the casino’s sports-betting operator, Kambi Group PLC, on Tuesday unveiled a sports-betting app called Betslip Builder that allows players to review odds online and to fill out a scannable bet slip that can reduce wait times.
“It’s very helpful, allowing you to do your homework ahead of time, which sports bettors typically do,” said Max Bichsel, Kambi’s director of U.S. operations.
Parx, which is owned by Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc., plans to roll out sports betting at two off-track betting venues, the South Philadelphia Turf Club and the Valley Forge Turf Club. The South Philadelphia Turf Club will start accepting sports bets on Jan. 15.
It plans to construct a $10 million permanent sportsbook next to the Beer Garden, which will open later this year, said Carrie Nork Minelli, Parx’s spokesperson.
Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack in Chester and Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia also have licenses for sports betting.