Sports betting starting to roll in Pa.: Parx Casino owner applies for two locations

A week after Penn National Gaming submitted the first petition to operate a sports book in Pennsylvania, the owner of Parx Casino is firing back with two petitions of its own for sports betting in the Philadelphia area.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said Monday that Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment filed two petitions at the close of business on Friday to offer sports betting at the Parx Casino in Bensalem and at its South Philadelphia Turf Club, an off-track betting parlor in Philadelphia.

Penn National filed one on Aug. 17 for Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in East Hanover Township.

Pennsylvania casino owners can pay $10 million to operate sports betting in the commonwealth. Sports betting operations in Pennsylvania also will need to pay 36 percent in state and local taxes on sports books.

A spokesman for the gaming board has said it is unlikely that state regulators will consider petitions before October. Four other states — Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Mississippi — already have legalized sports betting. West Virginia sports betting will be open this weekend.

Because of the higher fee structure in Pennsylvania, operators like Penn National and Greenwood could end up offering less attractive betting odds to recover their costs, making their products less attractive than those offered by black-market competitors.

Sports betting arrives at a time when Pennsylvania is going through a broader gambling expansion that was approved last year. That expansion effort will include smaller satellite casinos and online gambling.

In addition to mini-casinos and online gambling, the commonwealth has launched online lottery games and begun collecting taxes on daily fantasy-sports operators.

Once online casino gambling is up and running, regulators also plan to open up other forms of gambling, including airport gaming and video-game terminals at truck stops.

Jason Scott
Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com.

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