In Pennsylvania, Presque Isle Downs and Casino is reportedly eager to add a sportsbook to its current portfolio of approximately 2,000 slots and 32 gaming tables and hopes to be able to start the required licensing process as early as next month.

New owner plans:

According to a report from the local Erie Times-News newspaper, Presque Isle Downs and Casino is in the midst of being sold to American casino operator, Churchill Downs Incorporated, with this transaction set to be finalized as soon as Friday morning pending approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

‘March Madness’ target:

Should this deal come to pass, the Erie County venue’s general manager, Kevin O’Sullivan, reportedly stated that he wants to have a sportsbook up and running in time for the start of this year’s three-week NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, which is often colloquially referred to as ‘March Madness,’ from March 19.

O’Sullivan to the Erie Times-News…

“We hope to be on the February docket of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to present our sports wagering format. Right now we are looking at carving out space on the existing casino floor for a designated space. Our guests are excited about it.”

Online and mobile opportunities:

O’Sullivan reportedly told the newspaper that the casino, which is located just outside of the small city of Erie, is hoping to be given permission to replace its lower-performing slots with a sportsbook in order to be able to offer wagers on a range of professional and amateur sports covering everything from basketball and football to cricket and darts. He purportedly detailed that this provision would also permit the establishment to provide sportsbetting services online and via mobile apps to punters located anywhere in ‘The Keystone State.’

O’Sullivan to the Erie Times-News…

“While we don’t believe it will overtake slot or table revenue, we do have reason to believe that it will appeal to a strong niche and carry over to additional revenues for both slot and table games. Many properties are experiencing growth in other areas with the arrival of sports wagering and we believe there will be crossover benefits for all segments. Not only will this addition be beneficial to Presque Isle Downs [and Casino], it will be beneficial for our guests as well.”

PASPA products:

The Erie Times-News reported that Pennsylvania is one of only eight states alongside Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Mississippi and West Virginia to have legalized sportsbetting following May’s invalidation by the United States Supreme Court of the previous Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibition. The jurisdiction’s first licensed sportsbook purportedly opened inside the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in November with this facility going on to post revenues for its first two weeks of around $500,000.

The newspaper reported that this was later followed by similar sportsbetting authorizations for Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino while yesterday saw Parx Casino in the community of Bensalem begin a state-mandated two-day test that could see its sportsbook go fully live as soon as tomorrow.