Philadelphia stadium to launch sportsbook ahead of the venue’s opening

Philadelphia stadium to launch sportsbook well ahead of the venue's opening

Pennsylvania was one of the first to introduce sports gambling after the U.S. Supreme Court gave states the go-ahead last year. It has continued to move forward with a robust multi-faceted plan that seems to be working well, and online sports wagers are going to be a huge part of its success. That segment just got a boost from regulators yesterday, as a stadium in Philadelphia will be able to offer an online sportsbook soon, even though the venue isn’t even ready.

Philadelphia stadium to launch sportsbook well ahead of the venue's openingAccording to the Pennsylvania Inquirer, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has authorized Stadium Casino, LLC, the company behind Philadelphia’s Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, to start taking online sports bets. It should be able to have its sportsbook up and running within the next couple of months, even though the casino won’t be ready for about another year. The PGCB agreed with Cordish Gaming Group, which owns Stadium Casino LLC, and its argument that the state’s law allowing sports wagers doesn’t state that an online sportsbook can only be launched if the brick-and-mortar facility is operational.

The decision will allow Stadium Casino to start seeing profits even before the physical venue is ready and Cordish is now finalizing a deal with a sportsbook operator to get things rolling. Given that a license costs $10 million, being able to start accepting wagers sooner, rather than later, is a huge bonus to any company.

The company hopes to have the stadium open before the end of next year and is making good progress. Today will see a topping-off ceremony as the property completes the steel skeleton of the 12-story, 160-foot hotel.

Cordish also wants to put another, mini-casino in the area, but this just hit a snag. Company executives had assumed that the gaming license would cover the second, smaller property, but the PGCB has said no and wants another $10 million, on top of the $40.1 million the company paid to secure the gaming license for the venue.

This is “economically unjustifiable,” according to Cordish, and it points out that racetrack casinos are authorized to operate sportsbooks at satellite facilities using the primary venue’s license, which should mean that Cordish can, as well. The PGCB hasn’t responded yet to the claim and indicates that it should have a decision when it meets again on November 20.