Presque Isle Pushing Sportsbook Launch Into The Summer

Written By Grant Lucas on May 22, 2019 - Last Updated on October 17, 2022
Presque Isle Downs sports betting

Presque Isle Downs & Casino will not be launching its sportsbook on June 1 after all.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) already conditionally approved the Erie property to offer legal sports betting in Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, Presque Isle Vice President and General Manager Kevin O’Sullivan told the Erie Times-News that the casino will not open its PA retail sportsbook by its projected timeline of June 1.

O’Sullivan said that Presque Isle “should have more details” about its sportsbook opening following a PGCB hearing June 12.

According to PGCB spokesman Doug Harbach, “there is no need” for Presque Isle to discuss their sports wagering certificate in Harrisburg. With that in mind, the question now is what is coming at the meeting that would change Presque Isle’s plans? Could it be a statement from PGCB itself about PA sports betting?

What is coming at the June 12 meeting?

Harbach told the Erie Times-News that “he knows of no other concerns” related to the casino’s sports betting plans that would necessitate a meeting with the board.

“There is no agenda compiled as of yet. There is no need for them to appear regarding the sports wagering certificate since Board already approved, and am not aware at this time of whether they have a separate matter that would bring them to Harrisburg.”

In an email to PlayPennsylvania, Harbach said the PGCB does “not know anything” about the hearing. All the board knows, he noted, is that it conditionally approved Presque Isle’s sports wagering certificate in February. After that, the casino targeted a June 1 launch.

Harbach added, “our staff who leads the sports wagering initiative has not talked with them about any date for testing.”

The state requires a two-day testing period before a sportsbook can go live.

A longer wait for Presque Isle sportsbook

The casino’s targeted June 1 opening was a date that was two months later than the standard timeline of other Pennsylvania sportsbooks.

At the time, O’Sullivan said that casino employees “have been hustling” to prep Presque Isle for legalized wagering.

That June launch would have come six months after the casino initially applied for a sports wagering certificate and five months after Churchill Downs finalized its acquisition of the property.

While Presque Isle did not include a timeline for opening during its February presentation to the PGCB, the launch timeline of other sportsbooks in the state provided a gauge. As such, an April opening at the Erie casino appeared appropriate. After all, no other retail sportsbook in the state needed longer than three months to launch.

PlayPennsylvania reached out to both Churchill Downs and Presque Isle Downs for comment, but did not receive a response.

PA sports betting plans already in place

Presque Isle’s original pitch to the PGCB in February planned incorporate the BetAmerica brand. Presque Isle Downs’ parent company Churchill Downs has already been using the brand for its online horse racing app.

The casino’s 1,275-square-foot sportsbook will go next to the existing poker room and simulcast area. Presque Isle also intends to feature 50 self-service kiosks comprising 315 square feet.

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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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