PA Gambling Guide: If You Don’t Like Philadelphia, ‘You Don’t Know Nuthin’

February 24, 2018
PA Gambling Guide: If You Don’t Like Philadelphia, ‘You Don’t Know Nuthin’

Tourist books for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, spotlight the city’s many attractions, from Independence Hall to the Liberty Bell to the “Rocky steps” of Sylvester Stallone’s boxing movies.

What many gloss over is a widespread attitude that somehow combines civic pride and a middle finger for the rest of the world.

For an example, check out Philadephia Eagles center Jason Kelce’s speech at the parade honoring the 2017-18 Super Bowl champions. Around the 4:20 mark, after bellowing a two-word response to anyone who doubted the team, Kelce leads the estimated 700,000 fans in an unofficial anthem:

“We’re from Philly, (effen) Philly,

“No one like us; we don’t care.”

Whether you relish that mindset or not, Philadelphia, the first capital of the United States and the country’s sixth-largest metropolis, has plenty to recommend it as a potential home for anyone wanting to get in on the ground floor of Pennsylvania’s online poker experience.

The state approved full-fledged Internet gaming in November 2017, and most of the 12 land-based casinos are expected to launch online operations in 2018. Pennsylvania joins New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada as the only states with legal online casino gaming. It is by far the most populous of the four, which should lead to a good variety of poker offerings.

Online gamblers must be in the state to play. You don’t have to be a resident, but for players thinking about moving, here’s a quick guide to what you’ll find in Philadelphia (an overview of Pennsylvania is here; future reports will look at other sections of the state).

The PA casino scene

Four land-based casinos are in the Philadelphia area, and construction of the $600 million Live! casino-hotel is scheduled to start this year in South Philly, near the stadiums for the Eagles and Phillies and the arena housing the Flyers and 76ers. Only holders of an existing casino license may offer Internet gambling, so it’s likely that promotions and tournaments will encourage online players to visit a land-based facility. These are in the Philadelphia area:

  • Parx, 2999 Street Road, Bensalem, PA 19020, (888) 588-7279. It has a 45-table poker room – the state’s largest – plus 137 other table games and 3,337 slot machines, according to the Gaming Control Board’s January tallies. It also has a thoroughbred horse-racing track.
  • Harrah’s Philadelphia, 777 Harrah’s Blvd., Chester, PA 19013, (800) 480-8020; 28-table poker room, 90 other table games, 2,450 slots. It also has a harness-race track.
  • SugarHouse, 1001 N. Delaware Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19125, (877) 477-3715; 28-table poker room, 112 other table games, 1,810 slots.
  • Valley Forge Resort Casino, 1160 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406, (610) 354-8118; no live poker, 50 other table games, 600 slots.

Developers of The Live! casino say it will have 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games, more than 200 hotel rooms, a 2,600-space parking garage and live entertainment venues when it opens in 2020.

Atlantic City and its casinos are about an hour away.

Living in Philadelphia

With a population of just under 1.6 million, according to 2016 Census estimates, Philadelphia is larger than Boston, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas. Philadelphia’s cost of living is considerably lower than in New York City, which is two hours away, but still above the national average, according to some studies. The Tax Foundation, for example, said $100 has only $92.68 worth of purchasing power in Philadelphia; says Philadelphia is the 24th most expensive of 232 cities it studied. However, Sperling’s Best Places says Philadelphia’s cost of living is right at the national average. Unlike other metro areas, living in Philadelphia proper is cheaper than living in its suburbs.

  • Housing costs: says the median rental price is $1,400 per month in the city and $1,500 in the metro area. The median price for home sales is $148,600. A neat neighborhood guide by Seer Interactive, a Philadelphia marketing firm, is here.
  • Food: The Philly cheesesteak is a point of pride: describes it as a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef topped with Cheez Whiz or melted cheese, typically Provolone or American. Fried onions are a common addition.
  • Schools: Among the dozens of colleges and universities are Temple University, the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.
  • Weather: Summers can be hot, winters can be cold and snowy.
  • Getting around: Between ride-sharing services and SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority), you can get by without a car. Philly and Miami are tied for the country’s fourth most walkable city, according to
  • Major employers: Fourteen Philadelphia companies, led by pharmaceutical maker AmerisourceBergen and Comcast cable, are on the Fortune 500 list of the top-grossing businesses. Health care systems and universities dominate lists of major employers. Philadelphia is one of the 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters.

Things to do besides gambling

  • Sports: Philadelphia has all the major sports covered: The NFL’s Eagles, current Super Bowl champions; MLB’s Phillies; NBA’s 76ers and the NHL’s Flyers. The Philadelphia Union represents Major League Soccer. The Philadelphia Marathon in November takes a fairly flat route past several historic sites.
  • Music: From “American Bandstand” to Philly Soul to a strong indie-rock presence today, the city has a proud musical heritage. And don’t forget that Will Smith, like the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” was West Philadelphia born and raised.
  • History: Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bell are only the highlights of Philadelphia’s historic district. Other attractions include the President’s House, where George Washington served his presidency before the White House was built, and Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in America and lined by 32 homes from Philadelphia’s early days.
  • Culture: In addition to serving as Rocky’s prop, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the third-largest art museum in the country, with more than 240,000 items. It also oversees an annex with the world’s largest collection of Auguste Rodin sculptures.


  • Taxes: The city wage tax is 8907 percent for Philadelphia residents and 3.4654 percent for non-residents working in the city. This is in addition to the state’s 3.07 percent income tax. The city imposes a 2 percent sales tax on top of the state’s 6 percent tax; food and clothing are exempt from sales tax.
  • What’s not Philadelphia: Philadelphia Cream Cheese actually has no ties to Philadelphia. It’s a brand name concocted in the 1880s for a cheese produced in upstate New York. Kraft Heinz now owns the brand.
  • Yo!: The all-purpose interjection originated in Philadelphia. The American Heritage Dictionary officially acknowledged its existence in 1992, about 16 years after Rocky said “Yo, Adrian.” In true Philadelphia form, a columnist for the Daily News gave this analysis when the dictionary recognized the term: “If you have to look up what it means, you don’t know nuthin.”
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