… though it won’t arrive until around December, 2020.
Stadium Casino is still 18 months away from their announced grand opening, but they clearly have big plans. Last week, it was revealed that those plans include a retail sportsbook. Casino developers made the announcement at a meeting of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
Big plans – and a solid team to make them happen
Right now, Stadium Casino is just a name and a pile of gaming licenses. The development team hasn’t even yet laid the structural foundations of the casino and entertainment complex that is envisioned for the “stadium” district of South Philadelphia near Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, and Wells Fargo Center.
The eventual casino’s address (900 Packer Avenue) used to belong to a Holiday Inn. If all Stadium Casino developers’ plans come to fruition, in 18 months (and after spending $600 million or so) a brand new full Vegas-style casino and entertainment complex will be erected on that spot.
The plans: gaming, gaming, and more gaming
When Stadium Casino finally does arrive in South Philly, a large pile of recently acquired gaming licenses will finally get a chance to be used. Stadium Casino is slated to be a 24/7 casino in the standard American/Vegas style. The gaming floor will feature traditional casino offerings like slots, video poker, and table (pit) games. In addition, Stadium Casino’s development team has acquired a few additional gaming licenses. The sports betting license already mentioned will cost another $10 million. Stadium Casino hasn’t applied for it yet, but they assuredly will.
“Extra” gaming licenses already held by Stadium Casino are ones allowing them to offer online slots and online casino games. Each of these cost the company $4 million a piece. On top of these, Stadium Casino has also spent $40 million on a license that allows them to build and operate a separate “mini-casino”. This smaller Stadium Casino gambling facility will eventually be located in Westmoreland County’s Derry Township.
These are some impressive gaming goals and undertakings, especially considering that the primary Stadium Casino location isn’t projected to open its doors for another 18 months.
Stadium Casino did noticeably reject one license proferred by the PGCB. They turned down the one that allows the casino to offer online peer-to-peer gaming (poker). This doesn’t come as a complete surprise. Pennsylvania’s online poker market is already expected to be crowded with eight casino operators holding online poker licenses. That’s a lot, considering that online poker in PA will be limited to an intra-state pool of players – at least to begin with.
Another probable factor impacting that decision is the fact that one of Stadium Casino’s developer/operators is also owner of Parx Casino. Whatever impact this company wants to have on the PA online poker market can be done using that license. No need for unnecessary duplication.
The team: solid and experienced
As briefly mentioned above, one of Stadium Casino’s development and operational partners is Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Group (owners of Parx Casino). The other partners are the Cordish Company (owners of Xfinity Live! and Maryland Live!).
The fact that these two successful leaders of the gaming/entertainment industry in the Pennsylvania area and beyond are involved is a good sign for Stadium Casino and it’s elaborate plans. With this kind of developmental and operational experience, Stadium Casino should successfully follow through on each and every one of those lavish plans.
Sports betting in Philly is lucrative, though a bit crowded
So far, the PGCB has approved eight of Pennsylvania’s land-based casinos to run sports betting operations. A ninth casino (Mount Airy Casino) has applied and is expected to receive approval. When Stadium Casino jumps in, that’ll make ten legal sportsbook operators in the state.
Most of this sports betting activity is located in and around Philadelphia. In the Philly area, four casinos currently operate six physical sportsbooks (Parx Casino runs three itself). The other Philly-based sportsbook operators are Harrah’s Philadelphia, SugarHouse, and Valley Forge Casino.
These Philadelphia sportsbooks are doing fairly well so far. In the brief time sports betting has been licensed and regulated in PA (Hollywood Casino opened the state’s first legal book in November of last year), Philly’s sportsbooks have accepted over $70 million in wagers and, on those wagers, netted over $7 million in revenue.
The upshot of all this is that Stadium Casino’s sportsbook will face some entrenched competition when it/they arrive in Philadelphia. One possible advantage Stadium Casino has going for them is location. Presumably, being located so close to Philadelphia’s primary sports complexes will help them acquire customers – and bets.
So Stadium Casino will have a sportsbook – what will it be like?
Well, Stadium Casino’s sportsbook is still 18 months away from being actualized, so we can’t say for sure. We can guess about a few things, though.
For one thing, it should be somewhat on the lavish side, going by general statements from Stadium Casino officials. They have announced, “their sports betting parlor” when completed, will connect to an upscale sports bar.
Also, more generally, developers have stated that Stadium “will become a premier sports, entertainment, and gaming hospitality destination in the US.”
And that’s about all we can say, at least directly. However Stadium Casino (with a $600 million development pricetag) is expected to be expansive and upscale. It is projected to have a 200,000 square foot gaming facility attached to a 220 room hotel. In that gaming space will be 2,000 slot machines, 125 table games, and 33 poker tables.
When mentioning Stadium Casino, the developers tend to use terms such as “lavish” and “boutique”. Given this, along with the large size and cost of the development, one should expect the eventual arrival of a sportsbook of considerable size, scope, and quality.