After being approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on March 6, 2019, Nasdaq-listed Churchill Downs Inc. has completed its previously announced transaction to assume management of Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
According to the Friday press release…
Reno-based Eldorado Resorts Inc. was paid a cash consideration of $100,000 by the Louisville, Kentucky-based gaming, racing and entertainment group to take over and acquire certain assets related to the management of the property that is located about a mile from Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington.
No change of ownership:
Eldorado Resorts will reportedly retain ownership of the gaming venue that of the state‘s 12 casinos generates the lowest revenue. In business since 2013, the casino has approximately 600 slot machines, 29 table games and a casual dining restaurant and lounge.
Presque Isle Downs deal:
The move by the parent company of Churchill Downs Racetrack, home of the Kentucky Derby, follows the finalization of its purchase of Presque Isle Downs & Casino, in Erie County from the Nevada-headquartered operator. The $178.9 million acquisition was unanimously approved by the state’s Gaming Control Board on January 16, 2019.
Commenting at the time on the completion of the Erie deal, Chief Executive Officer for Churchill Downs Incorporated, Bill Carstanjen communicated that Presque Isle will give the company a “foothold in Pennsylvania and the opportunity to participate in the sports betting and online gaming market throughout the state.”
Churchill Downs already owns and operates the largest legal online horse-racing wagering platform in the U.S., TwinSpires.com.
Category 3 license:
Lady Luck Nemacolin was opened in 2013 by Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Inc. and in 2017, the latter was acquired by Eldorado Resorts for $1.7 billion. Along with Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, the casino falls into the state’s “resort casino” category. Gaming operations for Category 3 licenses for resort casino properties are restricted to 600 slot machines and 50 tables. They are, however, the only gaming facilities that can have attached hotels.
Valley Forge investment:
The state’s gambling expansion in 2017 gave the Category 3 licensed facilities the opportunity to pay $1 million to add 15 tables games and $2.5 million to add up to 250 slots past the 600 machine restriction, which the Valley Forge casino chose to do. And just as the larger casinos in the state were able to do, Valley Forge paid $10 million to obtain a license for sports betting.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to date, Lady Luck Nemacolin has decided not to make any of the allowed additions. And in 2018, its $32.3 million in gambling revenue was the lowest in the state and represented a drop in both table game and slots play from the year prior.
Churchill Downs is a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with some 9,500 gaming positions in seven states. The company has launched its BetAmerica Sportsbook at its two Mississippi casino properties and has also announced plans to enter additional real money online gaming and sports betting markets in the U.S.