The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Presque Isle Downs and Casino may have its brand new sportsbook open 24/7 right now, but its grand opening festivities are not actually scheduled until August 8.
The ninth retail sportsbook to become operational in Pennsylvania, Presque Isle’s grand opening is strategically scheduled – just in time for the first full week of NFL preseason action.
Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles will be in action, with the Steelers hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Eagles at home against the Tennessee Titans.
Sports betting history is made
In order to take advantage of legalized sports betting in the lucrative Pennsylvania market, Churchill Downs purchased Presque Isle Downs from Nevada-based gaming and hospitality company Eldorado Resorts for nearly $180 million last January.
The eight sportbooks already active in the Keystone State brought in a combined revenue of $3.1 million just in the month of June.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved Presque Isle’s license on February 19. The casino has entered into a partnership with SBTech/BetAmerica.
Because European provider SBTech powers Churchill Downs in other legal sports betting states, there was a delay of a few months before Presque Isle got the go-ahead from the PGCB.
Pennsylvania passed laws to allow online gambling before the US Supreme Court overturned the PASPA. Keystone state lawmakers quickly added legal sports betting, making it one of the first states to enter the market. Penn National’s Hollywood Casino took the state’s first legal bet on November 17.
Mount Airy Casino Resort and the Mohegan Sun Poconos are likely to launch the state’s 10th and 11th retail sportsbooks in the near future.
Location, location, location
Presque Isle Downs is located in Erie, in the northwest corner of the state. Its closest competitor, as far as retail sportsbooks, is Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, more than two hours away.
Situated on the scenic Lake Erie shoreline, Presque Isle Downs is a little less than two hours away from Cleveland, Ohio, where legal sports betting is still a ways off from being legalized.
The future looks bright for Pennsylvania’s online sports wagering market. Four mobile sports betting apps are currently active, with at least a fifth to launch in August.
SugarHouse Casino launched the commonwealth’s first mobile betting platform last May.
Presque Isle has plans to move into the online/mobile sports wagering market in the near future.
While the casino is already partnered with the SBTech-powered BetAmerica, the Keystone State’s regulatory agency requires a brick-and-mortar sportsbook to be fully operational before a mobile platform can be launched.