Philadelphia’s latest casino to offer sports wagering welcomed bettors to its temporary sports betting lounge this week with a soft opening prior to the official launch on Thursday. From 2pm until 10pm on Tuesday and Wednesday customers were able to place bets for the first time at the Parx Casino in Bensalem.

Parx  Bensalem now becomes the second Philadelphia venue to offer sports betting behind the SugarHouse Casino which launched in mid-December last year. Including Parx, there are now four casinos hosting sportsbooks in Pennsylvania.

According to, the opening wager at the Parx was placed by fantasy sports writer Steve Schwarz of Bensalem, who bet $50 that the final combined score in the Eagles-New Orleans game on Sunday would exceed 50 points. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” he told the news source.

The Parx sportsbook, which is being operated in partnership with GAN and Kambi, is set to be followed by similar launches at sister, off-track, betting facilities – the Valley Forge Turf Club and South Philadelphia Turf Club. The latter is scheduled to begin business on January 15.

While the pace of take-up for sports betting licenses in Pennsylvania has been less than frantic, the fact that there have been any takers at all will have surprised many industry observers who were cynical about the state’s demands on taxation and license application fees. Operators must pay $10m up front for licensing and a 34 per cent tax on gross revenue. Add to that a federal excise tax of 0.25 per cent on the handle.