Philadelphia’s new Stadium Casino won’t open its doors to the public for more than a year, but it will still be taking wagers. How will it do this? Via mobile betting, of course.
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board gave a sports-betting certificate to Stadium Casino, LLC. This allows them to begin accepting sports bets online within the next few months.
It’s an exciting time for Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, which will be right near the sports complex that is home to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies, NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
Only the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets have a sportsbook right nearby. FanDuel Sportsbook resides at The Meadowlands, which is on the same grounds as MetLife Stadium, the home of the Giants and Jets.
The gaming board was on the side of the casino’s owner, Cordish Gaming Group of Baltimore, which argued that the 2017 state law allowing legalized sports betting does not prohibit a casino from taking online sports bets.
Staff on the gaming board recommended that the casino started to operate a retail sportsbook before going the online route. After all, that is how the previous 10 casinos that started in the state went about their business.
Cordish did mention it’s quickly working to get Philadelphia’s second casino operating in the city by the end of 2020. On Thursday, there is a ceremony set to mark the completion of the steel structure on the 160-foot-high, 12-story hotel where the casino will be.
On Wednesday, Cordish also said it was in the final stages of negotiations of having an operator for the sportsbook that will be at the Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia.
The gaming board’s final decision will have Stadium Casino start earning sooner than later. There is a $10 million sports-betting fee that Pennsylvania will charge to operators.
The gaming board staff has recommended operators need to pay a second $10 million license fee to operate a casino at a satellite casino. Within the new few weeks, Live! Casino Pittsburgh will break ground on its location in the Westmoreland Mall near Greensburg. This is one of five satellite casinos that the state has allowed under the 2017 expansion of gaming law in Pennsylvania.
Cordish officials thought when it bid just over $40 million last year for the mini-casino license, that it would include sports-betting rights licensed at the home casino. In its opinion, the state’s additional $10 million would be “economically unjustifiable.”
This latest tug-of-war between operators and the state is something that other states will certainly have their eyes on. Every state is going to ask itself how it can make more money and, obviously, operators are not going to be so judicial in that regard.
The quicker these things get taken care of, the quicker we’re likely to see more states that have sports betting. And more importantly, more states that will have legalized online sports betting.