Stadium Casino Piling Up Gaming Licenses – Including Sports Betting

Stadium Casino Piling Up Gaming Licenses – Including Sports Betting

The foundation for Stadium Casino hasn’t even been poured yet, but casino developers (and future operators) have spent lots of money and obtained several gaming licenses for this “casino-to-be” that won’t be open until December 2020 at the earliest.

Even though Stadium Casino is still approximately 18 months away from taking its first bet, groundwork is being laid for an ambitious gaming and entertainment enterprise. We now know, thanks to an announcement at a recent Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) meeting that this enterprise will also include a retail sportsbook in their facility.

Eighteen months and a lot to do

Right now, Stadium Casino is just a bold concept for a casino that will eventually live the “stadium district” of South Philadelphia. This area is home to Lincoln Financial FieldCitizens Bank Park, and Wells Fargo Center, homes to the Eagles (NFL), the Pirates (MLB), and the 76ers (NBA) and Flyers (NHL), respectively.

The casino will be located at 900 Packer Avenue which was formerly the site of a Holiday Inn. If all goes according to plans, in 18 months this location will be transformed into a $600 million Vegas-style casino and entertainment complex.

Late next year, when Stadium Casino finally goes “Live!” quite a few plans (and gaming licenses) will be actualized. Stadium Casino will be offer (24/7) the normal casino games one would expect from a traditional American-style casino – slots, video poker, and table (pit) games. In addition, Stadium Casino operators have acquired some other gaming licenses, including one for operating a sportsbook that will cost $10 million. Stadium Casino hasn’t applied for this one yet, but they soon will.

Stadium Casino already holds licenses to operate online slots and online casino games, two licenses they acquired for $4 million each. Stadium has also paid a much higher price ($40 million) for one of Pennsylvania’s new “mini-casino” licenses. This smaller casino is also yet to be built and when it is, it will be located in Westmoreland County’s Derry Township.

Despite having a lot unfinished before they can begin operations, Stadium Casino clearly intends to run a big gaming operation once it gets started in Pennsylvania.

No online poker?

One noticeable omission from the pile of gaming licenses Stadium Casino has acquired is the one allowing online poker. That’s not terribly surprising considering the expected competitive landscape in that area. As of now, eight casinos already hold licenses, and the online poker market in PA is expected to be very congested. The market may already be too small for eight market participants considering that (at least initially) PA online poker will be limited to in-state players only.

Philly sportsbooks doing well so far despite competition

Currently, the PGCB has approved eight local casinos to operate sportsbooks in Pennsylvania. A ninth (Mount Airy Casino), has submitted an application for a sports betting license and is awaiting approval. Stadium Casino will will make ten sportsbooks operating in PA when they apply and (it is expected) are approved.

That’s statewide. The bulk of these new legal sportsbooks are concentrated in and around the city of Philadelphia. In these early days, four casinos are running six separate retail sportsbooks (Parx Casino (operates three) in and around the Philly region. Harrah’s PhiladelphiaSugarHouseand Valley Forge Casino operate the other three.

Although it’s admittedly too early to make strong claims about this market, at least initially, these sportsbooks appear to be doing well. They generate a nice betting handle (amount wagered in total), a decent stream of sports betting revenue for the casinos, and some much needed tax revenue for the state.

Looking at just the Philly area, and in the sliver of time they have been operational (Hollywood Casino was the first, opening Nov 2018), Philadelphia’s sportsbooks have made gross revenues of over $7 million on a total handle of over $70 million in total bets accepted.

Mount Airy Casino’s imminent launch of a sportsbook won’t affect the Philly market directly, but when Stadium Casino’s sportsbook arrives, it will enter this competitive space in a big way. It will have to work hard to differentiate itself to attract customers, and might have a big advantage in doing so. Being located close to Philadelphia’s sports complexes is an obvious benefit (though Parx has a retail location in the same area).

On the other hand, perhaps retail locations will diminish in importance when mobile sports betting is finally authorized by the PGCB in the very near future.

What should we expect from Stadium Casino and their forthcoming sportsbook?

Looking 18 months into the future about an ambitious construction project yet to be begun is challenging, but we can make a few educated guesses.

Considering that Stadium Casino’s development partners are the Cordish Company (owners of Xfinity Live! and Maryland Live!) and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Group (owners of Parx Casino), one should expect that this casino (and sportsbook) will be upscale and expansive. Based on what these operators have created in the past, Stadium Casino to be impressive.

Additionally, Stadium Casino officials have said that their “sports betting parlor” will be connected to a sports bar. They have also made clear their intentions that Stadium Casino itself “will become a premier sports, entertainment, and gaming hospitality destination in the US.”

We also know Stadium Casino (at $600 million projected cost) is expected to be large and lavish. It is projected to have a 200,000 square foot gaming facility and a 220 room hotel along with 2,000 slot machines, 125 table games, and 33 poker tables.

All in all, Stadium Casino is an ambitious project that should make a big impact in the South Philadelphia gaming and entertainment space.