The Casino File:  Live! Philadelphia opening delayed until 2021, but its owner’s PA push is underway – plus Bally's news and an Ocean win
An architect's rendering of Live! Resort and Casino Philadelphia.Cordish Gaming

The Casino File: Live! Philadelphia opening delayed until 2021, but its owner’s PA push is underway – plus Bally's news and an Ocean win

Maryland-based Cordish Gaming Group is poised to become a major player in the Keystone state.

The planned December opening of Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia in the city’s stadium district has been delayed until early next year.

A highly placed source tells us the delay is a response to various circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. No new target date has been set, but late-winter/early spring of 2021 seems a logical bet at this point.

Despite the setback to what will be the first casino-hotel complex within the city limits, Live!’s corporate parent, Maryland-based Cordish Gaming Group, has introduced the first phase of its three-pronged attack to grab a significant share of Pennsylvania’s multi-billion-dollar gaming industry.

The initial part of the plan is PlayLive!, the company’s new, branded Internet gambling operation within the state. The virtual casino will ultimately be joined by Live! Philly and Live! Casino Pittsburgh, which is on track to open later this year in a suburban shopping mall.

The architect's rendering for the Pittsburgh Live! Casino.
The architect's rendering for the Pittsburgh Live! Casino.Cordish Gaming

PlayLive!, which has been designed as the future central site for the Live! Rewards customer-loyalty program, offers customers more than 100 different games of chance, among them perennial slots favorites Cleopatra, Crazy Money, Game King Video Poker and Wheel of Fortune. Popular online offerings like Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest and Twin Spin are also on the gaming menu.

As for traditional casino games, the site boasts interactive blackjack, roulette and baccarat. “Jackpot” games including Divine Fortune, Mercy of the Gods and Wheel of Fortune Hawaiian Getaway are also featured. Leaderboards displaying current player rankings are on display.

“As a leader in the gaming industry, Cordish understands the importance of innovation and this site certainly illustrates our ability to enhance the traditional launch timeline of our new casino projects,” said Cordish Gaming Group President Rob Norton.

Norton added the primary motivation behind the new online platform is to introduce the Live! imprimatur to Pennsylvania gamblers.

“PlayLive! will provide a sneak peek of our brand to the future guests of Live! Casino Pittsburgh and Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia. We leveraged many key learnings from the launch of our play-for-fun Live! Social Casino several years ago and know that PlayLive! will enable us to connect with guests virtually until we can greet them physically.”

In Atlantic City

Bally’s update

Philly and Pittsburgh aren’t the only two locales getting a new gaming operator in the near future. Things appear to also be heating up along the Boardwalk, where one of AyCee’s oldest gaming halls will be getting a much-needed facelift from its new owners.

According to the Press of Atlantic City, Rhode Island’s Twin Rivers Worldwide Holdings Inc., which earlier this year agreed to a $25 million purchase of Bally’s Atlantic City, is promising to make significant capital improvements at the 41-year-old gambling den. It appears no nook or cranny of the Midtown complex will be ignored; renovations are planned for everything from hotel rooms to the spa (once the gold standard of Atlantic City relaxatoriums) to meeting and convention space.

The deal with longtime Bally’s owner Caesars Entertainment—which is expected to close later this year or in early 2021—allows Caesars Atlantic City to maintain ownership of Bally’s popular Wild Wild West casino/bar area as well as its existing sports book (Twin Rivers suits have promised a new betting parlor is on the drawing board).

An Ocean of online luck

This year may be horrid for most of us, but at least one Garden State resident is celebrating as Ocean Online Casino, the virtual version of Ocean Casino Resort, has paid out its largest jackpot of 2020.

Earlier this month, a Long Valley, N.J. resident identified as Christopher M. hit for a cool $228,105 (on a $45 wager) on the slot game Lock It Link Night Life.

The Casino File will appear Fridays and when news breaks. Chuck Darrow is Bettors Insider’s Casino Lifestyle Editor.

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