… sometime in December, 2020.
Stadium Casino is still 18 months away from opening its doors, but they have big plans. Last week, the casino’s operators indicated to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) that those plans will also include a retail sportsbook.
Big plans – and a lot of work to do.
Right now, Stadium Casino is just an idea. The foundations haven’t yet been laid for the casino that is envisioned in the “stadium” district of South Philadelphia near Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, and Wells Fargo Center.
The site (900 Packer Avenue) was formerly the location of a Holiday Inn. Hopefully, in 18 months a $600 million full Vegas-style casino and entertainment complex will emerge there.
When it does arrive, quite a few plans (and gaming licenses) will be actualized. The casino will run 24/7 and offer the traditional slots, video poker, and table (pit) games one associates with a modern American casino. On top of that, Stadium Casino operators have acquired a handful of additional gaming licenses. The sports betting license will cost $10 million and as yet, Stadium hasn’t applied for it (but they soon will).
Already in hand are licenses to allow Stadium to operate online slots and online casino games (at a price of $4 million each). In addition, Stadium operators have also spent $40 million on a license to allow them to branch out with a mini-casino. These are massive long-term plans considering that as of yet there is no actual Stadium Casino – and won’t be one for another 18 months.
The only gaming license Stadium turned down was one that allows online peer-to-peer gaming (poker). It isn’t really surprising that they passed on that one. The online poker market in PA is already expected to be crowded with eight casino operators holding licenses. That’s a lot, considering that PA online poker will be limited to an intra-state pool of players – at least to begin with.
Sports betting lucrative (and competitive) in Philly
Currently, Pennsylvania has approved eight casinos to operate sportsbooks in the state. A ninth (Mount Airy Casino) is pending and is expected to be approved. Stadium Casino will make ten.
Most of this sportsbook competition is in the Philadelphia region. Currently, there are four casinos operating six retail sportsbooks (Parx Casino has three of them) in and around Philly. The other three are Harrah’s Philadelphia, SugarHouse, and Valley Forge Casino.
The sportsbooks are generating interest and income. In the brief amount of time sports betting has been legal in PA (Hollywood Casino opened PA’s first legal retail book late last year), the Philadelphia sportsbooks have taken over $70 million in wagers and netted over $7 million in revenue from sports betting.
This all means that Stadium Casino’s sportsbook will have to compete for customers in Philadelphia. Hopefully for them, being located close to the Philadelphia sports complexes will give them some help in this regard.
What will Stadium’s sportsbook look like?
It’s difficult to describe a sportsbook that doesn’t yet exist in a casino that doesn’t yet exist, but let’s take a shot.
Stadium officials have announced that their “sports betting parlor” will be connected to a sports bar. They have also said that Stadium “will become a premier sports, entertainment, and gaming hospitality destination in the US.”
And… that’s all we know, at least directly. However, we know Stadium Casino (at $600 million projected cost) is expected to be large and lavish. They are projected to have a 200,000 square foot gaming facility and a 220 room hotel. They will have 2,000 slot machines, 125 table games, and 33 poker tables.
All their endeavors are described as “lavish” and “boutique”, so considering the grand scope of Stadium’s plans, one should expect a sportsbook of comparable size, scope, and quality.
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 also expect they will successfully follow through on all these plans.