Following the approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on March 6, 2019, Churchill Downs Incorporated has finally followed through with its plans to assume operations at the Fayette County-based Lady Luck Casino in Nemacolin. According to the Nasdaq-listed and Kentucky-based gaming, racing, and entertainment group’s Friday press release, they paid a cash consideration of $100,000 to Eldorado Resorts Inc., the Reno-based company that was previously operating Lady Luck Casino. Eldorado Resorts will, however, retain ownership of the property with Churchill Downs only assuming management operations of the casino along with certain specific assets that will also be related to management.
Opened back in 2013 by St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Inc. and Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, the Lady Luck casino came under the ownership of Eldorado Resorts in 2017 when Eldorado acquired Nemacolin Woodlands Resorts for a whopping $1.7 billion. The casino boasts of 27 table games and 600 slot machines which is a fairly small number – it remains to be one of the least profitable gaming facilities in the Pennsylvanian market. To put this into perspective, the casino had $28.2 million in slot winning in 2018 and this was a 6.2 percent decline from the slot winning recorded in the previous year.
Table games, on the other hand, generated a mere $4 million in 2018 which represented a larger 11.3 percent decline from 2017. These revenue figures were the worst among the 12 land-based casinos currently operating in Pennsylvania and this has been largely attributed that its gaming supply is reminiscent of a satellite casino instead of a full-fledged Vegas-style gaming establishment. Hopefully, things might finally change for the better with Churchill Downs at the helm of its operations.
Sports Betting Plans
While Lady Luck Casino does not have a sports betting license and is yet to apply for one, Churchill Downs has had its sights set on that particular sector for quite some time own. The company also owns and operates the Erie-based Presque Isle Downs & Casino which was granted a sports betting license by the Keystone State’s gaming control board in early February 2019. Now, the casino plans to construct a massive 1,275-square-foot sportsbook adjacent to its equally impressive seven-table poker room. This Presque Isle Downs sportsbook will feature 50 self-service betting kiosks and many more betting windows.
With both Presque Isle Downs and the Lady Luck Casino, Churchill Downs’ grand plan seems to be mobile and mobile betting services which are expected to go live in Pennsylvania sometime this year. Unfortunately, there are still a couple of issues that need to be ironed out first, especially with regards to the Wire Act before everything can get back on track.