The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) met Wednesday to approve the sale of Presque Isle Downs to racing heavyweight Churchill Downs. This sale comes while Presque’s petition to offer sports wagering is currently being reviewed by the same agency.
Although the exact date of its sportsbook unveiling is hard to tell at this point, the approval is a step forward for the venue to become one of the next legal sports betting venues in PA.
“We hope to be on the February Docket of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to present our sports wagering format,” stated Kevin O’Sullivan, General Manager of Presque. “We’re looking at carving out space on the existing casino floor for a designated space.”
Along with renovations the owners also hope to offer online and mobile betting to all of its PA customers.
If the request is approved, the casino should be poised to start offering sports wagers soon after. Churchill Downs has proven experience in managing casinos with sportsbooks.
Why Churchill Is Equipped For Sports Betting In Pennsylvania
This would mark the first property owned by Churchill Downs in the Keystone State, but the company is no stranger when it comes to sports gambling operations. Two of the locations it owns in Mississippi have already offered the activity since it was first allowed last year.
More importantly, the company also owns the online betting platform TwinSpires.com. While this website is primarily used for legal horse race wagering, it is not hard to imagine them expanding to allow betting on traditional sports.
Why Churchill Downs Is Entering The PA Market
Last year Pennsylvania became the largest state to offer legal sports betting, besides of course Nevada. While many questioned the high price tag that comes with offering this gaming expansion, the numbers have proved to be worth it.
Last year, in just two weeks of Hollywood Casino’s sportsbook operations, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) showed more than half a million dollars in revenue on a $1.4 million handle.
Since then three other casinos have begun to accept sports wagers and more are looking to join in on the action. Pennsylvania sports betting laws required these establishments to pay a $10 million licensing fee and have their sportsbook operations ready within 60 days of approval.
Even though the short-term payment is hefty, the long-term value of offering PA sports betting is undeniable. Churchill and Presque realize this which is why they are hoping to start offering sports betting in Pennsylvania to their customers as soon as possible.