When Parx On line casino opened a suburban Philadelphia sportsbook/racebook at a new athletics bar of the popular Chickie’s & Pete’s cafe chain just about two several years back, officers touted it as the dawn of a new retail era for Pennsylvania athletics bettors.
Without the need of the logistical hassle of obtaining to a casino, and with a better ambiance than the musty off-monitor betting parlors of aged, customers could get down a guess on a recreation or race at a counter or kiosk.
Authorized sports betting was achievable in a area of the cafe further than a safety checkpoint, mere footsteps absent from where by the bettors could observe a televised recreation or race when enjoying food and consume, probably even with family in tow.
“This is what we see as the long term,” said Joe Wilson, main running officer of Parx Racing, prior to the racetrack-casino’s Parx Malvern location opened in February 2022. “Chickie’s & Pete’s has a excellent purchaser foundation, a sports bar with excellent meals. … It’s just a perfect relationship of sports activities, fantastic foods and drink, and horse racing.”
Like all as well a lot of marriages however, it didn’t last. Though there was considerably publicity about it when Parx Malvern opened in a procuring plaza in Chester County, the betting operation quietly shut two months back without any awareness paid out.
An online lookup by Sports Tackle could discover no media report of the OTB’s shutdown, but the finish of a limited-lived period grew to become evident last week when the Pennsylvania Gaming Regulate Board’s income report for Oct detailed just 18 alternatively of 19 retail sports activities betting sites. For the first time in 20 months, Parx Malvern was omitted.
Questioned for explanation, gaming board spokesman Doug Harbach explained, “Parx did request it to shut and the past sports activities wagering income report from Parx Malvern was the week ending September10.”
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Parx officers did not reply to requests for comment Tuesday.
Smaller but probably significant
The demise of these kinds of a modest operation within the realm of Pennsylvania sports betting is not in and of by itself a main occasion. It is a point out where 93% of the $7.2 billion in legal wagering that took place in the most recent fiscal year arrived by using betting apps rather than persons seeking to place a wager in human being.
And even inside of the $519.5 million in retail betting at 16 casinos and 3 OTBs, the Parx location linked to Chickie’s & Pete’s was tiny fry. It took $4.1 million in bets last fiscal calendar year, when Parx’s greater, older South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook took $19.6 million and the sportsbook at the Parx On line casino in Bucks County managed $73.8 million.
So in financial phrases, the reduction is but a footnote in phrases of impression on Pennsylvania’s sportsbook market. From another standpoint, however, it seems to squelch the plan there was an further market to fill with a unique form of betting parlor.
When on line casino officers 1st announced the partnership with Chickie’s & Pete’s, whose 20 or dining establishments incorporate one within the big Parx Casino alone in Bucks County, they mentioned they hoped the Malvern location would be the first of multiple these web sites all around the point out. It was the only such gambling location primarily based at a cafe.
In a cell phone discussion Tuesday, a Chickie’s & Pete’s manager claimed the cafe itself is performing good, carries on to operate, and had nothing at all to do with the conclusion by Parx, which individually staffed and ran the sportsbook/racebook. He stated he could see his clients were being betting though checking out to dine, but the amount of these types of exercise was almost nothing like just one would see in a on line casino.
When the OTB website opened on the foundation of currently being staffed 11 or a lot more several hours a working day, Parx officials reported it would supply entire- or part-time careers for 12 to 16 people today included in using bets or manning the security checkpoint to make confident no just one less than 21 attained obtain. They projected an once-a-year value of $1.4 million to work the facility.
The state’s revenue studies present it was pulling in earnings of $40,000 to $50,000 most months from what bettors shed, which diverse relying on the time. That would not have coated the price projection, and it may perhaps simply just have been that Parx made the decision it was time to pull the plug on the undertaking in September to minimize its losses — even keen to pass up out on a football period that customarily provides far more bets than at any other time.
When Wilson outlined hopes for the sportsbook/cafe collaboration to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Fee, he touted the synergy, outlining, “Nobody needs to stroll into an vacant bar. It is the exact same way with an OTB.”
In this situation, having said that, it appears the OTB alone was just also vacant also normally in a gamble by the on line casino that did not spend off.