Northwestern Pennsylvania Will Soon Have A Sports Betting Presence, As Presque Isle Is Approved By Gaming Board

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania gaming regulators gave the OK to Churchill Downs for it to operate sports betting at its Erie casino.
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Sports betting will be inching closer to the untapped Northeast Ohio market with the approval of a sports betting certificate for Presque Isle Downs (PID) in Erie, Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board granted the casino’s petition for sports wagering, both for retail and online/mobile bets. The approval doesn’t give the casino a green light to kick off sports betting, as regulators still have the give the facility the final OK.

PID is partnered with SBTech for sports wagering.

The Churchill Downs Inc. casino is planning a 1,275-square-foot sportsbook adjacent to its seven-table poker room. It’s eyeing 50 self-service betting kiosks and a limited number of betting windows. The company said that kiosks are much more popular for sports bettors.

Churchill, which acquired PID last year, is a major player in the Mississippi sports betting market, telling Pennsylvania regulators that it has 50% of the Magnolia State market. “We are excited to start the process of bringing our sports wagering kiosks to PID, as we have done to our two properties in Mississippi,” a Churchill representative told the Board.

PID filed for a $10 mm sports betting certificate in December.

Currently, Pennsylvania has six operational sportsbooks, but no online/mobile platforms yet. Presque Isle Casino is the seventh b&m casino in Pennsylvania to receive approval from the PGCG.

In addition to internet-based sports betting, Presque Isle is also looking to offer online casino gambling (slots and table games), pending a green light from the state.

More options for PA/OH bettors

Ohio has indicated an interest in sports betting, but legislation for Buckeye State sportsbooks hasn’t yet emerged. PID will cater to a good chunk of the Northeast Ohio market. The racino is also within striking distance of Southwest New York. The NYS Gaming Commission recently proposed sports betting regulations for its four commercial casinos.

In addition to its upcoming sportsbook, PID has more than 1,500 slots and table games, thoroughbred racing, and amenities to draw people from Cleveland.

Sports betting is present in Pittsburgh thanks to the launch of the book at Rivers Casino late last year.

Other PA approvals

In addition to PID’s sports betting plans, the PGCB approved temporary regulations for airport gaming, which was authorized under the 2017 gambling expansion package. Online casino gambling could be coming to up to 15 of the state’s airports. This type of gambling will be permitted on tablets such as iPads and “other similar computer tablets and devices.”

Games could include slots, table games, and poker.

Additionally, regulators gave conditional approval for truck stop video gambling.

The PGCB also signed off on two new casino table games, Four Card Prime and Cajun Stud.

Last but not least, regulators approved a fine against Presque Isle for a bizarre incident at one of its poker tables recently. The casino agreed to a small, five-figure fine.


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