Breaking Down The PA Online Gambling Market: Harrah’s Philadelphia

Harrah's PA online casino

Editor’s note: Pennsylvania  lately  legalized online poker and casino games.   This is another installment in a series of articles about the casinos in Pennsylvania and their potential place in the online gambling market.

Harrah’s Philadelphia’s history

Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack is technically located in Chester, Pa.. The southern suburb of Philadelphia sits along the Delaware River, halfway to Wilmington.

The property was initially opened in 2006 as a racetrack, but it got its own slots license within the first month of operation. A 100,000-square-foot casino started the following year, and table games were added in 2010.

There are now about 2,450 slot machines and 90 gaming tables, plus a 28-table poker room  plus a massive event center. The 5/8-mile limestone track still hosts about 150 harness racing days per year once the weather is suitable for horse racing, too.

The former Harrah’s Chester  officially became Harrah’s Philadelphia in 2012. The name change was made to appeal to a broader customer base as several new casinos began to appear in the area.

Land-based casino performance

Harrah’s Philadelphia’s location puts it in competitive casino land.

Parx, SugarHouse and Valley Forge possess the city of Philadelphia surrounded to the north, and Delaware casinos run the neighborhoods to the south. The area’s gambling capital, Atlantic City, is a short drive down the Expressway.

Still, the brand retains its own in the crowded area.

Financially speaking, Harrah’s Philadelphia is the nation’s fifth-largest casino. Slot machines generate around $16 million in monthly earnings for the property, and tables add about another $5 million.

Total gaming revenue for the 2016-17 financial year amounted to about $265 million according to records in the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.   Harrah’s returned more than $120 million of that to the city, county and state in the shape of taxes.

What we know about Harrah’s Philadelphia and online gaming

Harrah’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment, is a Goliath in the casino market.   Its reach gives it significant resources to invest in online gambling, which it has already done in Nevada and New Jersey.

Caesars has active partnerships with 888 (Harrah’s and 888 Casino) and NYX Gambling (Caesars online casino) to provide a platform for online casino games.

888 powers the poker merchandise, but Caesars uses its very own poker brand where it has a physical presence.   WSOP Nevada and WSOP NJ can be found in their respective states, making it the only manufacturer with a live product in the two.

Platform provider

In entering Pennsylvania, it seems likely Caesars will use the same 888 platform to power a Harrah’s online casino.

The anticipation is that the 888 platform will be used for online poker under the WSOP brand, as well. 888 has recently expanded its NJ presence by adding new online casino games from both NYX and NetEnt.

If the number of skins/brands allowed is restricted in PA, however, you might not find the WSOP brand deployed.

In-state partnerships/relationships

Mount Airy Casino also has an existing partnership with 888. It seems likely that it will use the platform to launch its own online gambling product, although that’s not been verified. The two casinos probably will not share anything more than an online supplier.

Out-of-state partnerships/relationships

As mentioned, Caesars has assembled a network of online gaming sites across Nevada and New Jersey. It will be more than delighted to welcome Pennsylvania, the largest state of the group, into the fold.

Sites in each state operate independently of one another, but multistate poker agreements could facilitate shared liquidity in the future. A WSOP-branded poker merchandise could allow players from multiple US states to compete against each other on a controlled platform for the first time since Black Friday in 2011.

The Harrah’s land-based poker room in Philadelphia already features WSOP branding.

Forecasting Harrah’s Philadelphia’s Internet gaming performance

Rolling out a Pennsylvania online gaming product quickly will be key to capturing early clients. Most of the nation’s 12 land-based casino licensees will apply for online licenses, and the early bird will get the biggest worm.

That Caesars’ online products are already approved elsewhere bodes well for a quick entry into PA.. It is already building an interstate merchandise in Nevada and NJ, although the timeline remains up in the atmosphere.

The brand has fought with online gaming of late in the Garden State so far. It’s now bringing up the rear in both NJ online poker and NJ online casino earnings. Competing with the Borgata poker presence is tough sledding, and Golden Nugget  gained control over the online casino market with a massive push in 2017.

Caesars will expect that the Harrah’s brand carries a bit more weight in Pennsylvania than it does in New Jersey.

Past installments of this series:

Photo by B64 (talk) used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

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