Presque Isle Racing Toward A BetAmerica Sportsbook Launch

Written By Grant Lucas on February 6, 2019

The era of sports betting expansion continues in Pennsylvania.

During a Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) hearing WednesdayPresque Isle Downs received conditional approval to move forward with opening a sportsbook at its Erie casino.

Located in the northwesternmost corner of the state, Presque Isle will leverage SBTech to power its PA sports betting operation. As a casino representative said at the hearing:

“We believe it’s a very robust sports betting market.”

Sneak peek into Presque Isle sportsbook

As part of its petition for a sports wagering certificate, Presque Isle provided insight into its retail sportsbook. The book will be branded BetAmerica. Presque Isle parent company Churchill Downs Incorporated already has the BetAmerica brand operational in other parts of the US as a horse racing betting app.

While the casino remained mum on a timeline, it will boast a brick-and-mortar operation stretching 1,275 square feet. The facility will be built within the existing casino space. It will be located adjacent to the poker room and simulcast area.

Additionally, Presque Isle will feature 317 square feet in sports betting kiosk space. There, 50 self-service kiosks will be available for bettors.

The casino also has plans to install 50 large HD televisions throughout the property that will show sporting events and customizable odds boards displaying pre-match and live wagering options.

Phase II of Presque Isle’s plan will involve launching online and mobile wagering.

The casino also expects to “enhance” three bars throughout the property.

Churchill takes over and moves forward

Based in Kentucky, Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) completed its acquisition of Presque Isle Downs last month. The new owner purchased the property for $178.9 million. More important, however, Presque Isle could finally continue its forward-looking plans.

Nearly a year after beginning the transaction, CDI gained a valuable entry point into Pennsylvania via Presque Isle, according to company CEO Bill Carstanjen.

“Presque Isle will give us a foothold in Pennsylvania and the opportunity to participate in the sports betting and online gaming market throughout the state. This acquisition is projected to be immediately accretive to our shareholders.”

Fortunately for both CDI and Presque Isle, the incoming owner already had a partnership in place to offer PA sports betting. Last spring, CDI partnered with SBTech, allowing Churchill Downs to compile a comprehensive iGaming portfolio.

PA sports betting building

Over the past month, the PA sports betting industry has exploded.

While only Hollywood SportsbookSugarHouse Sportsbook, and Rivers Sportsbook opened their operations before the end of 2018, another three sportsbooks have entered the fold:

Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, following the debut of South Philly TC, also noted the potential introduction of a sportsbook at Valley Forge Turf Club. The PGCB confirmed this week that it received a petition to offer wagering at the off-track betting parlor.

Within the next month, perhaps, Valley Forge Casino expects to join the PA sports betting industry, as well. The Prussia property, partnered with FanDuel Sportsbook, targeted a March opening during its PGCB hearing in December.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.

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