The second major sportsbook in the Philadelphia-area opened to the public on Thursday. Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, began operations just in time for bettors to place wagers on the NFL’s Divisional Round game between the New Orleans Saints and local Philadelphia Eagles.
Parx has grown into a significant player since acquiring a casino license for Philadelphia Park racetrack in 2006 for slots.
The venue, just north of the city on I-95, has become a premier destination for entertainment and gambling in the region. Parx’s sportsbook opened just weeks after rival casino SugarHouse brought sports betting to Delaware Avenue. Both books are partnered with Kambi as the main sports betting vendor.
Inside the new Parx Sportsbook
While Parx has set up operations temporarily in the 360 Lounge, the bar isn’t the only place players can make bets. The casino has electronic kiosks in various locations on the main floor, such as the bar/video poker station near the middle.
Players who visited Parx for Sunday’s NFL action, including the Eagles-Saints playoff game, noted how impressed they were at how fast they were able to make bets.
Brian, of northeast Philadelphia, noted that players “never have to wait in line” with all the kiosks. The main room has a dozen self-service kiosks in addition to six tellers at the betting desk in the back.
The atmosphere is more casual than some other sportsbooks. Fans can make a bet, pop in and out, or sit at the bar and watch games on the massive TV wall facing the entrance. It gives the book more of a sports bar feel, like many of the local taverns and city spots that fuel the rabid fan base.
Parx versus SugarHouse
It appears not that being the first to the line gave Parx an advantage. Ron, of Holmesburg, noted the open space made it feel less crowded than SugarHouse’s current book. He also remarked it was “a little more organized here than SugarHouse.”
With these advantages, it was surprising the location wasn’t as crowded as one would expect for a big Eagles game. About 50 fans wandered through between 3 and 6 p.m., catching the end of the Pats-Chargers and the first half of the NFC game.
Other screens showed NBA, college basketball and even some hockey. Most fans sported Eagles’ green, although one brave couple was wearing the gold and black of New Orleans.
One major difference between the two heavyweights in the Delaware Valley is the pricing. Vigs were higher on games across the leagues at Parx. Both NFL games were over 20 cent vigs before kickoff with the first-half spreads. While national books posted Villanova either a pick’em or slight underdog at Creighton on Sunday, Parx listed them as 1.5-point favorites (the Cats covered with a monster second half).
While Parx has excellent amenities and dining options on-site, they’re not as accessible to patrons at the sportsbook. There are tables for players to watch games but not many seats. There also doesn’t appear to be any ordering options for delivery to the seats, nor any specific amenities for cardholders.
Keep your browsers locked to TheLines.com for more sportsbook launch news in Pennsylvania, including the Turf Club in South Philadelphia.