Parx Casino Loses Out Chickie’s & Pete’s Sports Facility

Chickie’s & Pete’s Sports Facility

Parx Casino has been denied by the Philadelphia zoning board to move its sportsbook to a Chickie’s & Pete’s restaurant location.

For some time now, Parx Casino in Pennsylvania has been trying to move its South Philadelphia Turf Club license for sports betting. The plan was to move into a Chickie’s & Pete’s restaurant. As soon as the plans were made public, there was pushback from the locals. Now, the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment has voted against the idea, stopping the plan in its tracks.

Residents Agree with the Zoning Board

After the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s ruling was made public, residents of Packer Park began to show their excitement. Locals did not want to see the Parx Casino sportsbook move to the restaurant location. During a Zoom hearing, the board decided to deny the move application with a vote of 4 to 1. Parx was hoping to be approved for a special exception to allow the gaming option inside the restaurant.

Back in February, residents in the area came out in a snowstorm to fight back against the effort. They attended a Zoom meeting with Parx Casino attorney’s regarding the application. Included in the meeting was the restaurant owner, Pete Ciarrocchi.

The neighbors had gathered together previously and obtained signatures, providing petitions against the effort as well as held protests at the restaurant. The neighborhood is very family friendly, and the restaurant is a spot where kids have birthday parties and families enjoy get togethers. The residents want the restaurant to stay that way.

The Packer Park Civic Association emailed a statement on the decision by the Zoning Board, stating that it was a heroic one that reaffirms that ‘good, hard-working, tax-paying residents have a right to determine what happens in their community.’

The Association wants to keep the community safe and drug free and continue to support working families. The group testified during meetings that the community had a right to say no to the project that would ‘erode the beautiful community’ they had built.

The board decided to vote no against the application even though the Planning Commission of the city recommended the application be approved.

Parx Casino Response

The only individual to vote yes during the meeting was the chairman of the Board, Frank DiCicco. The remaining members voted against the measure. Parx attorney Mark S. Stewart stated that the company has not said if they will be appealing the vote by the board. The full report needs to be read first before a decision is made.

Stewart did release a statement saying that the vote by the board was a disappointment and the action was contrary to what the City Planning Commission reported in its recommendation. The strong record of the company should have justified the special exception.

The attorney said that Parx will now wait for the written decision by the board before taking any steps regarding the matter. The goal of the casino to move its Turf Club license to the restaurant was due to competition from the Live! Casino that opened in Philadelphia back in February. The location is not working as it once was due to the nearby gambling venue.

South Philadelphia neighbors lawyer, Paul Boni, was happy with the ruling and stated that everyone is grateful for the ruling by the zoning board for coming to the conclusion that the gambling parlor is not appropriate for the residential neighborhood setting. The establishment caters to children and should not be offering gambling services.

The community is leery that Parx Casino will try and appeal the ruling. If an effort is made, those against the move will surely be back out again protesting to try and keep the sports book from moving into the area.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.