New details about Bankroll, an upscale sports bar in Philadelphia
Paul Martin is a player.
He was FanDuel’s first American investor. Finance, a luxury sports bar in Philadelphia, is his eighth start-up. Since the concept was first discussed three years ago, it has dealt with project delays and the COVID pandemic.
Who could really blame Martino and his investors if they had given up on everything?
Instead, Paul Martino the gambler peaked at his Bankroll hand — his decades of startup experience, one of America’s top restaurateurs in Stephen Starr, Padma Rao, a visionary CEO, and insatiable appetite of Philadelphia for sports.
Martino stood pat.
“The entrepreneur in me knows I’m right,” Martino said. “And I can only prove to the world that I’m right if I can do this fucking thing. I can go to bed knowing that I’m right, but you have to prove it to the rest of the world. If you’re going to be in startups, you have to have that kind of motivation, or you’ll quit.”
Bankroll held a groundbreaking ceremony April 27 in Center City.
Martino welcomed a host of guests and media:
“It’s going to be a world-class luxury experience like no one has ever seen. We’re doing it here in my hometown of Philadelphia because it’s arguably the greatest sports city in the United States.
Martino noticed that there was a huge opportunity in the sports bar industry for a modern luxury experience. Bankroll aims to combine hanging out with friends at an upscale sports bar and bet on your phone.
Details on Bankroll in Philadelphia
There are many questions about what Bankroll is and what it is not.
Location: 1910 Chestnut Street at the site of the former Boyd Theater
Project cost : $20 million
Cut: 18,500 square feet and will accommodate approximately 350 to 400 people.
When will it open? Late fall 2022
What is Bankroll Philadelphia? An upscale sports bar with sports betting and high-end hospitality at the forefront. There will be a restaurant, multiple bars, an upper mezzanine with private lounges available for booking, and TVs throughout.
The menu: Stephen Starr, also a partner on Bankroll, and his team are still working on finalizing the menu. Starr said Bankroll will offer some of the usual sports bar fare, but with slightly more creative and upscale twists. He said the Parc’s French onion soup would be on the menu.
Will there be sports betting kiosks? Nope
Does it have a gaming license? He doesn’t need it. As it is not a casino or an OTB.
What’s next for innovation in sports betting
Sports betting apps started rolling out in Pennsylvania in 2019. In an interview with Martino in September 2020, he said a place like Bankroll couldn’t work when online sports betting had just arrived. But then, Martino and his fellow investors were already considering what was next:
“Now the fun is going to appear,” Martino said in 2020. “We are now entering the next wave of innovation, where it won’t just be casinos opening up their sports betting. It will be an integrated entertainment experience. I am optimistic that our timing could be right.
Paul Martino has always been a player.
His mother, Barbara, tells people about her two sons. One is a doctor and the other a player. In almost all cases, everyone wants to meet the player because they say he looks funnier.
Whether it’s with 67,000 people at the Linc or six of your friends, watching sports is more fun when it’s social.
Of course, you can watch games at home, bet on your phone and order GrubHub.
Martino and Bankroll are betting that you will have more fun at their place.