Online and in-person sports betting may be coming to Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania. According to the Erie Times-News, Presque Isle has submitted a petition to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to offer in-person and online sports betting.
This makes Presque Isle Downs the seventh casino to apply for a sports betting license in Pennsylvania. If the PGCB approves the request, Presque Isle Downs will have 60 days to pony up a hefty $10 million licensing fee before it can open for business.
The Erie Times-News also reported that Presque Isle is seeking to offer in-person, online and mobile wagering. If approved, the casino expects to add 42 jobs. Presque Isle Downs is currently in the process of being acquired by Churchill Downs Inc., parent company of Churchill Downs racetrack, the Kentucky Derby, TwinSpires and BetAmerica.
PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach told the Times-News that there is no timetable for when the casino may be approved but said that five other PA casinos went through the process over a period of several months and that a sixth is expected to be granted approval between now and the end of January.
Presque Isle Downs was also approved for online table games and slots back in October. Although it remains to be seen how exactly Presque Isle Downs will present sports betting to customers, a screenshot found in the casino’s online gambling application may offer a preview of things to come.
When Presque Isle Downs applied for online casino games, the casino explained it plans to run its online operations under the BetAmerica banner and included two screenshots with its petition filing. One of those offers a preview of the yet-to-be-launched BetAmerica Casino and the other shows what online sports betting may look like once it goes live:
Churchill Downs Securing Its Place in Sports Betting
Today’s news is not altogether unsurprising as Churchill Downs has made it clear the company has its eye on the US sports betting market. Although better known for its horse racing operations, Churchill Downs has been moving aggressively to capitalize on the legalization of sports betting in the United States.
The first hint Churchill Downs would be pursuing legal sports betting came earlier this year when the company announced a strategic partnership with online sports betting developer SBTech. In that deal, SBTech agreed to provide Churchill Downs with an “integrated technology platform for sports betting and iGaming solutions across the United States.”
Churchill Downs Inc made its way into the Pennsylvania gaming market earlier this year with the purchase of Presque Isle downs from Eldorado Resorts in a deal worth nearly $180 million. Churchill Downs has also assumed management of Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin.
Moving beyond Pennsylvania, Churchill Downs has also been active in New Jersey and Mississippi. Back in May, Churchill Downs reached an agreement with the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City to offer online sports betting and gaming under the Golden Nugget’s NJ license. A press release issued at the time stated the company plans to launch NJ operations in the first quarter of 2019.
In Mississippi, Churchill Downs is already taking sports wagers at its Riverwalk Casino in Vicksburg and Harlow’s Casino in Greenville. Those operations are powered by SBTech, which was named as the sports betting platform that will power the Presque Isle Downs sportsbook in PA.