Parx Casino clears first hurdle on road to develop 15-story hotel in Pennsylvania

The Bensalem Township Planning Commission voted to accept a plan presented by Parx Casino’s parent company Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment to develop a 15-story hotel at its Street Road property in Pennsylvania. While the vote accepted the plan as brought forward by the applicant, it does not imply it has been fully approved, as the project must still clear a series of hurdles.

Thus, the development may still be several years away, as it needs to meet several township land development considerations and may have to overcome potential resistance from residents. According to the Bucks County Courier Times, no date has yet been set for further consideration of the plan at the township level, but it will be publicly announced when determined.

The company intends to develop an upscale 15-story hotel at Parx Casino’s site. The new amenity, near the Parx East racetrack grandstand area, would span about 6 acres, comprising 71,681 square feet, according to development plans filed with Bensalem from the Keystone Turf Club and Bensalem Racing Association.

The venue, which will feature a connection to the existing casino, calls for a two-story hotel ballroom, event lawn, and multiple guest loading/unloading zones. The project also includes Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant parking and signage and additional parking.

Plans for a hotel have been spoken of since 2010. However, up to date, one has never been built. Nevertheless, since 2017, Parx has invested about $50 million in the expansion and upgrades of its property. In recent years, Parx added the entertainment venue Xcite Center, which is attached to the casino, and opened new restaurants inside its casino as well.

Xcite Center entertainment venue, inside Parx Casino

Parx was the second Pennsylvania casino, opening as Philadelphia Park on December 19, 2006, a month after the opening of the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Despite the company facing some criticism for changing the direction of the initial development plans of its 413-ace property, business has remained good for the venue, remaining a top revenue generator since its opening.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board recently reported that the combined total revenue generated from all forms of gaming during June 2022 was over $389 million. Parx not only generated more than $52 million in that month, but also led all state casinos in slot revenue, bringing in over $31 million. Meanwhile, table games brought in about $16.5 million in June, according to the board.

The impact of a new hotel on operations remains unknown thus far, with company officials having yet to comment on this early planning stage. Likewise, no residents or organizations spoke for or against the project at the July 20 township planning meeting, according to the previously cited source.

Unlike other commercial gaming states that require casinos to include an on-site hotel, Pennsylvania’s gaming laws do not feature this requirement. However, of the state’s 13 full-scale Category 2 casinos, only two — Parx and Presque Isle Downs & Casino — do not offer on-location lodging.