Gaming continues to grow in Philadelphia

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The gaming competition is growing stronger every year in Philadelphia and it’s no surprise there are some fierce applicants in line for the last gaming license. With several popular casinos in the area, the city region is generating most of Pennsylvania’s entire gaming revenue, which has been larger than Atlantic City this past year.

With SugarHouse Casino doubling the size of the casino and Philadelphia debating on gaining an entirely new one, the revenue is bound for another increase. Not to mention, Philadelphia is 15 miles from Parx and Harrah’s, two of Pennsylvania’s top revenue locations.

It’s no wonder why there’s such high competition for the right to obtain Philadelphia’s last casino license. Six groups and partnerships, including Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Penn National Gaming, have applied with state gaming regulators for license ownership.

Two of the proposals have laid out casino blueprints in the Philadelphia’s Center City area. The rest of the proposals are in the Philadelphia proximity. Upon establishing gambling in Pennsylvania, the state gaming revenue took a dramatic increase since its first casino in 2006. It took 11 casinos and nearly a decade until it finally topped Atlantic City’s $3.05 billion gaming revenue by a close $3.16 billion in 2012. Pennsylvania is ranked second of 22 in revenue after Las Vegas.

Money flow is also as strong as ever in poker rooms of the Philadelphia region. Harrah’s recently hit its bad beat of $308K at a $1-$2 no-limit hold’em table in June. Anthony Cuffari, who had the winning hand, was once a poker dealer at Harrah’s who vouched to “come back and hit the bad beat.” The hand played itself out with a bottom and top straight flush to the queen.

It’s the third bad-beat jackpot of the year for Harrah’s, and the action in Philadelphia is steadily increasing at the cash tables in the area.

“I love the $1-$2 NLHE action at Harrah’s Philadelphia,” Cuffari said. “Great people, great floors, and their deep $1-$2 NLHE games.”

There are recent rumors of Parx starting a bad-beat jackpot this year, possibly in the early fall.

In Atlantic City, PokerStars is making its return to the Boardwalk after recently partnering with Resorts in early July. The transaction was made only days after the court denied PokerStars’ appeal on pending negotiations with Atlantic Club Casino. The online company has had issues in obtaining a New Jersey casino license after investing $11 million in Atlantic Club, but Rational Group CEO Mark Scheinberg did not address the matter in his statement.

With online gambling legal in Atlantic City, casinos are acquiring online companies for its contingent customers. Borgata has partnered with Bwin; Caesars Entertainment is lining up with 888 Holdings, and Trump Taj recently teamed with Ultimate Gaming. Resorts is the latest casino to announce their partnership to PokerStars. See the Nothing’ But ’Net column on Page 39 of our August issue for more details.

— Jo Kim is Ante Up’s Atlantic City/Philadelphia Ambassador You can email her at anteupjokim@gmail.com.