The owner of Parx Casino in Bensalem, which on Friday filed Pennsylvania's second application for a sports-wagering license, also wants to accept sports bets at its offtrack racing outlet in the heart of Philadelphia's stadium complex.
Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc. filed the Parx application Friday with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. A second application would allow sports wagering at the South Philadelphia Turf Club, just a few hundred feet from the venues for the city's professional sports teams.
Greenwood's papers arrived a week after the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County filed the state's first application to conduct sports wagering since the U.S. Supreme Court in May legalized sports betting outside Nevada.
Sports betting has become a trend in the gaming world, and about half the states are expected to legalize it in an effort to capture some of the $150 billion now channeled into illegal sports wagering.
The Parx application was no surprise, as the state's largest-grossing casino announced July 30 it had partnered with GAN, a London-based gaming firm, to run its on-site and online sportsbooks.
The separate application for the Turf Club would be for a "non-primary" location whose fee is covered under Greenwood's single $10 million license fee. While the casino application requires only approval of the Gaming Control Board, the Turf Club application also requires approvals from the Horse Racing Commission, which has oversight of the OTB facility.
The separate applications mean the casino license won't be delayed by the additional regulatory review for the Turf Club, said Douglas Harbach, spokesperson for the gaming board.
Casino operators and legal bookmakers had complained that Pennsylvania's steep $10 million application fee, along with a 36-percent tax rate, would impede the rollout of sports betting in Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, where sports wagering began in June, the tax rate is 8.5 percent for wagering in casinos, and 13 percent for online sports betting.
But casinos, which are the only entities that can conduct sports betting in Pennsylvania, appear to be reconciling themselves to the state's high costs as the price it takes to enter one of the nation's most sports-crazy markets, with heavy concentrations of loyal fans on both sides of the state.
In the South Philly Turf Club, on the 700 block of Packer Avenue, fans at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies; Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play; and the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Flyers and the 76ers, won't have to travel far to place a bet in person.
Greenwood has also partnered with Cordish Cos. of Baltimore to form Stadium Casino LLC, which has a license to build the Live! Hotel & Casino on the 900 block of Packer Avenue. If the Stadium Casino also applies for a sports-betting license, it would give Greenwood two potential wagering outlets near the city's sports venues.