Following its nearly $180 million acquisition of Presque Isle Downs, Churchill Downs Inc. will no doubt be aggressive in creating an all-encompassing sports betting venue in northwest Pennsylvania.
These plans will include:
- The opening of a newly constructed physical sportsbook at its facility in Erie, PA.
- Online offerings that will be accessible to anyone across the Keystone State.
Sportsbook fact sheet:
|Land-based launch date:||2019 (estimated)|
|Online launch date:||2019 (estimated)|
New player incentives and bonuses
Because this is a new venture for Presque Isle and Churchill Downs, it’s hard to know what it plans to do to bring in new customers.
Because a few other PA sportsbooks are set to go online before Presque’s operations go live, it will need to be generous if it wants to bring in significant business.
We may see deposit matches, new registration bonuses or free bets, and promotions for referring friends. We also might see guaranteed bets, where a portion of losses gets refunded to a new account.
Whatever direction Presque Isle decides to go, in the end, it will be you, the customer, who wins.
A web-based Presque Isle Sportsbook is coming in 2019.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) requires that a brick-and-mortar sportsbook be up and running first. Thus, before the operation moves its business to include online betting, the website won’t be available to customers until after Presque Isle begins taking in-person bets.
When the website launches, it should be accessible on all updated web browsers operating with a valid Pennsylvania IP address.
In a partnership with BetAmerica, mobile app access to the Presque Isle sportsbook is also on the way.
Right now, mobile PA sports betting offerings from BetAmerica are horse racing-specific, so it will need to make a few tweaks to ensure the app is sportsbook-ready. However, the design and functionality won’t need to change much.
Currently, there are tabs for wagers, results, deposits, and events. You can also operate your entire account through the app, beginning with creating a new account.
When the Presque Isle mobile app goes online after a few cosmetic and sports-specific changes, you should be able to download it from both the iOS and Android app stores.
How will account registration work?
We expect that signing up on the website and mobile app will be quick and easy. All that will be required is your name, email address, physical address, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Then, you’ll need to select a unique username and password as a final step. There may also be additional levels of security that you can choose to activate.
If any suspicious activity on an account is detected, it may trigger a security review that will require photo ID and proof of address and ownership of any credit cards or bank accounts on the account. The purpose of such a review is ensuring the user’s security.
Anyone that is 21 years or older will be able to register for an account, regardless of his or her location. However, if you want to place bets, you will need to be physically located within the borders of Pennsylvania.
In fact, your location will need to be verified by your IP address or the geolocation services on your mobile device. You will not need to be a Pennsylvania resident.
As per the rules laid out by the PGCB, persons who are athletes, managers, coaches, referees, or other officials that hold influence over the outcomes of sporting events are eligible to open an account. Although, it is illegal for them to gamble on events that involve them or their affiliations.
Presque Isle Downs should offer its customers membership in its loyalty rewards program called One Club.
As a player, you will likely need to sign up for the card to instantly to earn a chance to win $1,000 in free plays.
As you place wagers, you will probably accrue reward points and advance through the levels of Bronze, Silver, Gold, and President. The top tier, Chairman, is set to be available by invitation only.
The higher the level, the more points you’ll accrue. Points will likely be redeemable for food and drink discounts, free bets and other possible bonuses and rewards, including hotel suites and complimentary steak dinners.
Again, it’s hard to know precisely what other promos will be available to customers of the new Presque Isle Downs sportsbook. To get a better idea, we can look at what the company offers its casino customers.
At the casino, there are birthday bonuses that include free plays. Guaranteed $100,000 blackjack tournaments are also available to casino customers. They can easily be converted into sportsbook pools that use a series of Saturday afternoon picks, for example, to create a tournament.
We might also see industry standard promotions, like halftime insurance, team- or sport-specific plays, bonus prop bets on specific players, or a variety of odds boosters and second-half plays.
Considering the cost of Churchill Downs’ investment, we expect it will want to create a customer experience that introduces new and exciting ways to wager on sports.
Account deposits and withdrawals
Based on what Pennsylvania currently has to offer, depositing into a new online sports betting account should be simple and include multiple options.
Along with credit and debit cards, you should be able to use PayPal, direct online bank transfer, or any of the hundreds of PayNearMe locations throughout the Keystone State.
If you use a deposit method like PayPal or bank transfer for withdrawals, the transactions will likely be instantaneous. You should be able to go from winning your bet to funding your bank account all in the matter of moments.
If you use a deposit method that doesn’t make for an easy electronic withdrawal, then the sportsbook will likely arrange electronic checks the player’s account. Checks by mail will result in processing delays. Large withdrawals may also take more time.
Available sports wagers
We expect win/loss bets, future plays, propositions, parlays, over/under plays and partial game bets to be on the standard betting menu.
Other sportsbooks in the area feature cash-out options and other means of paying your way out of bets that are still in progress. Presque Isle could offer similar wagers.
Regarding sports options, we expect the following offerings:
- Basketball: NBA and college
- Football: NFL and college
Also, most other sports from around the world should be available.
In-play wagering will also likely be offered through the Presque Isle website and on the new mobile app operated by BetAmerica.
The changing point spreads and odds (which are based on the current score and time remaining) are an ideal way to play for someone who wants to feel more engaged in an event from beginning to end.
Multiple halftime totals are also set to be available, as well as second-chance multipliers and several other new bets, all within the same sporting event.