HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has approved its eighth location for sports betting – and the fifth to be located in Philadelphia or the suburbs outside the city.
The board on Wednesday gave the OK for Greenwood Gaming to offer sports wagering at the Valley Forge Turf Club, an off-track betting parlor. It will be the second sports-betting location in Valley Forge. The gaming board previously OK'd sports betting at Valley Forge Casino, owned by Boyd Gaming.
“Both will likely open sportsbooks in the next few weeks," said Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the Gaming Control Board.
The turf club will be Greenwood Gaming’s third sports betting location – it already offers sports betting at the Parx Casino in Bensalem and at the South Philly Turf Club in Philadelphia.
The move continues the state’s rapid expansion into sports betting since Penn National’s Hollywood Casino became the first in Pennsylvania to take sports wagers beginning in November.
In all, the six casinos offering sports wagering in January took $32 million worth of sports bets, gaming control board data shows. That translated into $886,000 in state tax revenue and $52,000 in local tax to the communities where the sports betting facilities are located.
Since December, Pennsylvanians have made just under $50 million worth of sports bets, according to the gaming control board. Those wagers generated $1.7 million in state tax and $102,000 in local revenue for host communities.
Next-door in New Jersey, betters wagered $400 million in January. Of that, $305 million was wagered online, according to PlayNJ.com, a trade website tracking sports betting in that state.
Harbach has said that the casinos and state regulators in Pennsylvania have been focusing on getting their bricks-and-mortar sports betting parlors in place before expanding online.
“We are still working with the operators to get sports wagering online,” he said Wednesday.
The Hollywood Casino is just one of two outside of the Philadelphia area taking sports bets. The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh has been offering sports betting since December.
Presque Isle Downs in February was given approval to offer sports betting but that sports book is not yet operating, Harbach said. The Mohegan Sun Casino near Wilkes-Barre announced plans to seek approval for sports betting there, but that plan has yet to go before the gaming control board.
In addition to the revenue from sports wagering at its two locations, there has been an uptick in betting on horse racing since sports betting launched, Matthew Cullen, senior vice president for iGaming and sports for Greenwood Gaming, told the gaming control board on Wednesday.
“We’ve also seen an increase in horse racing wagering to the tune of about 15 percent,” Cullen said.