Posted on: August 5, 2022, 01:58h.
Last update: August 5, 2022, 2:28 a.m.
Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, about 10 air miles north of Philadelphia, has been committed to building a hotel on-site since the property was renamed Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack in late 2009. More than a decade later, Pennsylvania’s most profitable casino still doesn’t offer lodging to guests.
Pennsylvania legalized slot machines in 2004 through its Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. Philadelphia Park Racetrack brought slot machines to the property in late 2006 and was renamed to include “casino” in its name.
Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, the racino’s parent company, rebranded the property again in 2009, just before the state legalized table gaming. The gaming expansion prompted Greenwood to invest $250 million to build a new stand-alone casino adjacent to the racetrack. The casino opened as Parx at the end of this year.
Parx has since become the richest casino in Pennsylvania. In 2021, the property generated gross gaming revenue (GGR) of over $617 million, including $409.4 million from slots and $207.7 million from tables. The two verticals led the way among the 16 land-based casinos in the state.
The hotel is moving forward
In seeking approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in 2007 to build and open Parx, Greenwood told the state that his master plan included the eventual construction of a hotel. This week, Parx Casino finally got closer to making it a reality.
The casino’s hotel development plans have been accepted by the Bensalem Township Planning Commission, which is the first regulatory step to being allowed to innovate. Local officials say the casino still has to go through the township’s land-use planning process before receiving all necessary building approvals.
The plan for the hotel received by the township includes a 15-story structure situated on approximately six acres of land. The hotel is targeted south of the racecourse, near its longer drop.
The construction plan, as reviewed by the Bucks County Mail Schedules, consists of nearly 72,000 square feet of interior space. Although the plan does not specify the number of bedrooms, the scope of the project details a ballroom and an event lawn among its amenities.
Unlike many other commercial gambling states that require every casino to include an on-site hotel, Pennsylvania’s gambling laws do not include such a lodging requirement. However, of the 13 large-scale Category 2 casinos in the state, only two – Parx and Almost Isle Downs & Casino – do not offer on-site lodging.
The company is also investing in a Category 4 satellite casino in Shippensburg Township.
Greenwood is spending around $65 million to turn a former Lowe’s into a casino with up to 750 slot machines, 30 table games and a sportsbook. Greenwood won the state’s Tier 4 auction round in 2018 with a winning bid of $8.111 million.
Parx Casino Shippensburg is a relatively cheap investment among the five approved satellite facilities in Pennsylvania. Penn Entertainment – formerly Penn National Gaming until this week – has spent over $120 million on its Hollywood York mini-casino alone.