In February, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) granted Presque Isle a conditional PA sports betting license. Initially, Presque Isle was aiming for a June 1 opening. Although the casino did not provide an exact timeline for the opening, players were hopeful for a quick start.
Now, not only has the June 1 date debunked, but there is conflicting information about the delay.
PGCB wants more details, or does it?
Kevin O’Sullivan, vice president and general manager for Presque Isle indicated to Erie Times-News the PGCB needed more information about the casino’s new sportsbook. He also said he would have additional details about when the sportsbook would open after the PGCB meeting.
However, PGCB spokesperson Douglas Harbach indicated otherwise. Apparently, there is no action for the board to take regarding the sportsbook opening, nor is there any other issue he was aware of that may affect the opening.
The next meeting of the PGCB is June 12. The agenda has not been set, so it is unclear how the next board meeting will impact the opening of Presque Isle.
The PGCB maintains that the timing for the opening of a sportsbook is primarily in the hands of the casino. Of course, that is following proper licensing and a mandatory two-day public testing period prior to opening to the public.
A look at the new PA sportsbook
When the new sportsbook venue does open, it will be located next to the popular PA poker room and simulcast area in a 1,275-square-foot space.
About 25% of the space will feature self-betting kiosks that are already proving extremely popular in PA. In fact, Kambi, the kiosk provider for SugarHouse, Rivers and Parx, contends about 75% of all bets at the properties come through a betting kiosk versus the betting counter.
A total of 50 of these self-serve betting kiosks will be installed. The kiosks will be located both within the nonsmoking sportsbook area and at both the Center Bar and Bar 90. Both bars allow smoking.
According to the plans, 50 large-screen HD televisions will be located throughout the casino. These monitors will display sporting events and odds boards with pre-match and live betting options.
And this is just the first phase of Presque Isle bringing sports betting to PA.
The second phase will feature the launch of an online sports betting app. PGCB regulations require a casino to open its retail sportsbook before it goes online.
Needless to say, estimating an online betting launch with so much confusion around the retail sportsbook launch is pointless.
The clock is ticking, though. The NFL preseason is just a few months away. With the popularity of NFL betting in PA, no sportsbook wants to be watching the action from the sidelines.