Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Farmington will not be joining the booming PA online casino market. It does, however, have a connection to the BetAmerica online brand through Churchill Downs, which operates the small Southwestern Pennsylvania hotel resort.
Churchill Downs (CDI) now owns Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie through which its iGaming licenses are approved.
Lady Luck, about 40 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh, offers casino games as well as resort and entertainment amenities for visitors. Previously, state law required casino visitors who were not hotel guests or resort members to pay a $10 amenity fee to gain access, but that fee is now a relic of the past. Now, patrons 21 and older can enjoy Lady Luck’s games and amenities with free admission.
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What Lady Luck Nemacolin will offer
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The Churchill Downs PA online gambling plan
Lady Luck is one of two Pennsylvania casinos that did not apply for a PA Interactive Gaming Certificate.
However, as a part of Eldorado Resorts‘ agreement to sell Presque Isle Downs & Casino to Louisville, Kentucky-based horse racing and casino company Churchill Downs Inc. for $178.9 million in 2018, Churchill Downs assumed management of Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved an operator change for Presque Isle Downs & Casino in August 2018 and Churchill Downs immediately applied for both a PA online slots and PA online table games license for the property.
Of course, Churchill Downs is a veteran of one part of the legal US online gambling industry. It has owned and operated the online horse race wagering service TwinSpires since 2007. TwinSpires accepts wagers on almost every thoroughbred, harness, and quarter horse race in the world online. The service is available in more than 30 states, including PA.
Additionally, Churchill Downs inked two deals related to US online gambling in 2018. Both were made prior to it finalizing its Presque Isle Downs and Lady Luck deal.
Churchill Downs, SBTech, and NetEnt
In May, the company agreed to terms with sports betting and iGaming software supplier SBTech with a plan to roll out SBTech’s online gambling and sports betting software platform Chameleon360 across the US together.
Churchill Downs then announced it would be targeting the New Jersey online gambling market first, striking a deal to launch under the Golden Nugget Atlantic City NJ internet gaming license.
Clearly, a move into the emerging PA online gambling market under the Presque Isle Downs banner will be next. That casino already has applications in for online gaming and sports betting.
Obviously, Churchill Downs sees no reason to launch a competing Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin PA online casino. There’s certainly no reason to pay an additional $10 million in licensing fees and the cost of launching a new online gambling operation when the Presque Isle Downs online casino will be available statewide and Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin can simply be used to advertise it.
Both brick and mortar casinos operate under separate loyalty programs. However, the seamless earning and redeeming of points for a single program across all Churchill Downs online and brick and mortar properties in PA could soon become a reality as well.
About Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin is the gaming facility at the popular Nemacolin Woodlands Resort about 40 miles from downtown Pittsburgh.
It is one of two casinos licensed to operate in PA in locations with existing hotel resorts. Therefore, it is subject to a few restrictions.
Firstly, Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin can only host a maximum of 600 slot machines and 50 table games. Additionally, as previously mentioned, the casino used to be restricted to members and guests of the resort, with others subjected to a $10 on resort amenities fee. As part of the 2017 PA gambling expansion legislation, that fee was erased with a one-time $1 million fee that Lady Luck paid in June 2019.
The Nemacolin Woodlands Resort first opened in 1987. The casino, which was first operated by St. Louis-based Isle of Capri. Then, Eldorado Resorts took over in 2013, and ultimately, Churchill Downs came aboard this year.
It’s a small casino, but the resort is anything but. It features 320 luxury rooms, suites, townhouses, and private homes. There are 15 restaurants and lounges on the property. Plus, a world-class spa, golf course, and its own transportation system. This is a shuttle bus that takes guests all around the sprawling 2,000-acre premier luxury resort.