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Pennsylvania Grants Sports Betting Licenses To Three More Casinos

Written By Bart Shirley | Updated:
Pennsylvania Grants Sports Betting Licenses To Three More Casinos

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board met for its monthly meeting on Oct. 31. As a result of the meeting, four Pennsylvania casinos received approvals for various gaming applications.

Three casinos join the sports betting crowd

Three of those casinos gained approval to begin their Pennsylvania sports betting operations. Representatives from each casino unveiled a short presentation that outlined the actual plans for the property.

Harrah’s Philadelphia

Harrah’s Philadelphia was the first casino to present its case to the board. The Caesars-owned property plans to open a sportsbook area that will feature 40 televisions for customer usage.

The book will also feature six teller windows and several self-service kiosks. The casino, which also hosts a horseracing operation, will place two kiosks for racing bets inside the sportsbook itself.

Rivers Casino

The second casino to appear before the board was the Pittsburgh-area Rivers Casino. Representatives from Rush Street Gaming outlined a more extensive plan than their Caesars counterparts.

Rivers will initially open a temporary sportsbook. The 3,000 square-foot facility will feature a 14′ x 7′ video wall, 15 high definition television monitors and seating for 98 patrons.

The temporary book will accept wagers through both live cashiers and self-service kiosks. Casino management hopes to open the temporary facility by Dec. 1.

Meanwhile, construction on the permanent facility will proceed in the center of the casino. The permanent sportsbook will replace an area occupied by the Levels Lounge.

The permanent sportsbook will feature an area that exceeds 3,000 square feet. It will offer a luxury sports betting experience with club, stadium and VIP seating areas.

There will also be a bar with video poker stations. The permanent sportsbook is slated to open in spring 2019.

Rivers also plans to launch online sports betting. The company representatives pointed to what they called “an online solution” in early 2019.

SugarHouse Casino

The third casino to present a case for sports betting approval was Rivers Casino’s sister property, SugarHouse Casino. In a moment of levity, the board chairman suggested that one of the Rush Street presenters should have stood up and spun around before returning to her seat for the next presentation.

Humor aside, the SugarHouse crew presented a similar plan to the Rivers property. The Philadelphia-area casino will open a temporary sportsbook while crews finish the permanent facility.

The temporary book will be on the small side at 1,800 square feet. There will be 12 high definition television monitors, a large video wall and seating for 70 people.

As the staff warms up in the temporary location, SugarHouse will be converting its Lucky Red bar to the permanent facility. Casino management is aiming for a launch of the sports betting lounge in quarter one of 2019.

Company representatives also spoke briefly about the casino’s plans for the online market. Interestingly, they pledged to launch online sports betting concurrently with the company’s iGaming offering.

However, SugarHouse was the first site to fully integrate iGaming with sports betting in New Jersey. So, perhaps this revelation wasn’t all that surprising.

Other business presented to the board

Before the three sports betting casinos made their presentations, Presque Isle Downs opened the discussions with a description of its iGaming platform. As a result of the meeting, the Erie-area casino will offer a mobile gaming service to its customers in the near future.

The casino’s ownership, Churchill Downs, spoke about using its BetAmerica platform as the basis for the entire operation. However, the representatives also mentioned that the product will be bolstered with software company SBTech‘s expertise.

The board also heard a request from Stadium Casino. The troubled gaming group amended its iGaming application to remove poker from the offering.

As a result, Stadium Casino ownership will receive a $2 million refund from the Board. However, the withdrawal of this application is likely another blow for a company that has already pulled back on its pledge to build Pennsylvania’s 13th casino property.

On the bright side, Valley Forge Casino is putting in 350 more slot machine games. Well, it’s probably on the bright side, anyway.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is the managing editor of evergreen content for PlayUSA. He’s been writing and reporting on the gambling industry since 2013. Prior to working for PlayUSA, Shirley was a feature writer for QuadJacks, a site covering issues in poker. He also writes for BonusCodePoker, a poker satire site that lampoons the lighter side of card games. Shirley is a graduate of the MBA program at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. He grew up in Houston, TX, and lives in Katy, just west of Houston. Shirley is also a former high school teacher. He is married, has one daughter, and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu in his spare time.

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