Not too long ago, the 6 million residents of the metro Philadelphia area needed to travel to Atlantic City to satisfy their casino gambling cravings, but nowadays they need travel no further than to Bensalem, just a few miles outside the city proper, to visit and play at the largest casino in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the world.
The Parx dates back to 1974 when it opened as the Keystone Racetrack. This was long before casino gambling came to Pennsylvania of course and it just offered thoroughbred horse racing back then. 10 years later it was sold and renamed to Philadelphia Park, and started to take wagers over the phone in addition to in person at the track.
As wagering on horse racing evolved, the track kept up with improvements in technology and started offering full card simulcasts of its racing in 1989, as well as off track betting locations. So in 2007 when the State of Pennsylvania began issuing casino licenses, Philadelphia Park was at the head of the line, and started being allowed to offer a limited amount of slot machines in addition to horse race betting.
The name of the venue was then changed to Parx Casino and Racing, and while this was already one of the foremost horse racing tracks in the area, offering casino gambling vaulted it to an entirely new level in terms of revenue, and the horse racing took a back seat, although it continues to flourish in full force.
Bally’s was hired to operate their new casino, and by 2009 a new casino building needed to be built to house the now massive amount of slot machines they had on hand, a total of 3,300, making it one of the world’s largest slot machine parlors.
The next year, in 2010, table games became permitted, and this was a hit here as well. The current count is 3,500 gaming machines, 130 table games, and a 80 table poker room, in addition to their regular schedule of thoroughbred racing, making it one of the largest casinos overall in the country.
Parx Casino and Racing is owned by a local company, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, whose holdings are limited to just the Parx, but the Parx is a pretty impressive holding indeed.
The Features of Parx Casino and Racing
Being the biggest player in a market as large as the Philadelphia one, there’s no need for a hotel, unlike a lot of casinos who rely on tourists to visit the area to gamble. The players already live here and one of the great things about having a large casino in a major metropolitan area is that your players can come back again and again, as often as they wish, instead of just during the occasional vacation.
This also serves to ensure that the gaming at this type of casino remains at the forefront of competitiveness, and the Parx does have several competitors in the area, and if you don’t offer people a better experience they will just go elsewhere. This is much less of a big deal at a resort casino where the appeal of the place generally is a big deal as well, here it’s all casino, and they need to get that part right or else, and they certainly do here.
The sheer popularity of the Parx does say a lot about how well they have been able to pull this off over the last few years, and the people get to vote in this sense, and the Parx does get a lot more votes than the other casinos here.
Parx Casino and Raceway does still attract quite a few horse racing fans in addition to casino players, although casino gaming does have a broader appeal and is the bigger of the two gambling operations now, as is the case generally with race track casinos.
So there are daily races here starting at 12:55 PM, Saturday through Tuesday, which does add some additional excitement should you visit here during this period. They still take phone bets on these races as well so you don’t have to be there to get in on this action.
There are 6 restaurants on hand here to cater to your dining pleasure. Parxgrill is an award winning upscale dining experience, specializing in beef and veal dishes as well as seafood. Bambu Noodle House offers fine Asian cuisine. Chickie’s and Pete’s has been voted America’s #1 sports bar.
Foodie’s offers the finest and freshest ingredients prepared for you 24 hours a day. Earl of Sandwich promises the world’s best hot sandwiches, all prepared on artisan bread. Xlounge boasts a high end food menu along with superior cocktails and a large selection of craft beer.
Club 360 is billed as the area’s best live music venue, and also features an LED dance floor that pulses in tune with the music. Jax is another sports bar that also features plenty of video poker machines and is also loaded with big screens to watch sports action on.
The Casino at Parx Casino and Racing
The Parx isn’t just the biggest casino in Pennsylvania, it’s also been voted the best, although the two often go hand in hand, but not always. In Las Vegas, the smaller locals casinos which cater to the residents of the city are regarded by many as the best, due to having to not only capture but keep the interest of their players over time, but the Parx is a locals casino as well, on a bigger scale actually, and therefore they need to do the exact same thing, and second rate just won’t fly.
Players here are treated to a free membership in Parx’ rewards club, Xclub, with 3 levels, and they offer not only comps and discounts at Parx, but at several local merchants as well. So playing here saves you money in many ways.
With over 3,500 gaming machines, including all of the hottest slots, as well as an extensive selection of video poker and electronic table games, even the hardest core casino players can immerse themselves in all the fun and excitement they can handle, 24 hours a day.
The slot area here alone takes up 150,000 square feet of space, and all manners of slots are available to be played, and there are also 100 different electronic blackjack, single roulette, and 3 card poker machines on hand.
If you are in the mood for the more classical variety of table games, with real tables and live dealers, Parx has plenty of that as well, featuring a total of 130 tables. Try your hand at the popular games of Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, 3 Card Poker, 4 Card Poker, and Baccarat. They also have hybrid games that are a cross between traditional and electronic tables, with live dealers but faster action and lower betting limits.
For those who enjoy traditional poker, playing head to head against other players, Parx has the #1 poker room in Pennsylvania on site, with 80 tables, a full service bar and menu, and lots of both cash games and daily tournaments. This is one of the best poker rooms around period.
It really doesn’t get much better than the gambling at Parx Casino and Racing, and this is really like a neighborhood casino, in a neighborhood of 6 million people. You will find everything here, and in abundance.