Live! Casino expects to tap into Philly’s passion for sports, food, and entertainment
When Live! Casino Hotel Philadelphia opens on Jan. 19 with a series of reservation-only events, it will become the fifth casino in or near the city. In such a crowded market, developer, the Baltimore-based The Cordish Companies, knows it must distinguish its property from competitors.
The solution, according to Mario Maesano, Live! Philadelphia’s senior vice president for marketing, is embedded in the developer’s 110-year history. Cordish has built entertainment venues, restaurants, hotels, and gaming properties, including Live! Casino Hotel Maryland in Anne Arundel.
“We believe in running our operation like a family,” Maesano said. “We believe in treating our employees like family, we believe in treating our customers like family. We always say if you take care of your community, if you take care of your team members, the rest of it, the business side of all this, will follow.”
The $700 million Live! Philadelphia will open to the general public Feb. 11, pending approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Capacity is dependent on COVID-19 protocols set by the state.
Live! Casino will feature 2,100 slot machines, 121 live-action table games, a poker room with 29 tables, and a sportsbook. The 510,00 square-foot venue also will have a hotel with 208 rooms, numerous restaurants and bars, and convention space
The key to the venue’s success, Maesano says, is first “location, location, location.”
Situated in the Stadium District near the venues that house the Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia 76ers, and Philadelphia Flyers, Live! Casino will tap into the unique passion that marks Philadelphia sports. The sportsbook – Sports and Social FanDuel Lounge – is a partnership with FanDuel, which operates daily fantasy sports, sports betting, online casinos, and other gambling related services.
Live! Philadelphia also will partner with the teams in the Stadium District for parking, VIP access to the sports venues, and shuttle services to games.
“We like to consider ourselves the fifth team in the district,” Maesano said, adding “the facility that we’re building is unlike anything that Philadelphia has in this market. It is a true destination. The other facilities that are here are nice casinos, but they are a little cookie-cutter. We custom built this property for the Philadelphia market, to speak to the customers of Philadelphia.”
Maesano admits that opening during the COVID-19 pandemic is not optimal. But because The Cordish Companies is family owned and doesn’t have to worry about shareholder profits, no expense has been spared to ensure the safety of customers and patrons.
Safety measures include a state-of-the-art HVAC system that Maesano said kills 99% of airborne coronavirus. There will also be an automated social distancing system built into the slot machines. As soon as a gambler sits at a machine and deposits money or a player’s card, the machines next to it shut down. And when customers get up from a slot machine, it will automatically shut down until it can be cleaned.
“We’ve invested quite a lot of money in retro-fitting our operation,” Maesano said. “We think that our product is heads and tails above any other casino from a safety and sanitization protocol.”
Recognizing Philadelphia’s rich culinary scene, Live! Casino will include restaurants run by local favorites Lorenzo and Sons Pizza, Sang Kee Noodle Bar & Kitchen, and Termini Brothers Bakery. Restauranter and TV host Guy Fieri also will open two eateries featuring burgers and tacos.
Entertainment and music will also be featured. Noting that Live! is part of the company’s branding and “comes with certain expectations,” Maesano expects live shows will eventually be offered seven nights a week.
Live! Casino will provide 2,000 jobs once it is fully operational. It is projected to generate over $2 billion in economic stimulus in Philadelphia and $100 million in tax revenues in its first five years of operation.
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