Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI), in a move believed to be part of an overall strategy to gain a foothold in sports wagering, should the U.S. Supreme Court strike down the current law that prohibits it in most states, has acquired a casino/racetrack in Erie, Pennsylvania, Presque Isle, and the Lady Luck casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
CDI joins two other casino/racetrack companies recently planting a new or additional corporate flag in Pennsylvania with Penn National’s purchase of the Meadows Racetrack and Casino, near Pittsburgh and Boyd Gaming buying Valley Forge Casino, near Philadelphia. There is no racetrack component at Valley Forge, but Boyd for many years has owned several tracks in Louisiana, another state that is expected to quickly allow single-team sports betting, if legalized beyond Nevada
Late last year, Pennsylvania passed a gaming expansion law that significantly expands gambling in the state. Along with many other states, lawmakers in Mississippi and Pennsylvania are under extreme budget pressure and are hoping sports wagering is legalized to access additional tax revenue.
The sale of both the Lady Luck Casino for $50.6 million in cash and considerations and Presque Isle for $178.9 million in cash and considerations by current owner Reno-based Eldorado Resorts, Inc., remain subject to regulatory approval.