|8199 Perry Hwy, Erie, PA 16509||(866)374-3386||presqueisledowns.com|
Northwest Pennsylvania’s hidden secret!
Located on the shores of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Downs & Casino is one of Pennsylvania’s six “racinos” It is two hours (by car) north of Pittsburgh, PA, 90 minutes east of Cleveland, OH, and 90 minutes southwest along the lakeshore from Buffalo, NY.
The property is a thoroughbred racetrack offering Vegas-style gaming. There is no hotel on-site, but several are nearby. Also nearby are several local attractions that, along with the casino, can add to the value of this location for family vacations. Specifically, Presque Isle is located near the Station Dinner Theater and the Millcreek Mall. Also nearby are Presque Isle State Park and the Erie Zoo as well as two water parks, Splash Lagoon and Waldameer Water World.
Most of Pennsylvania’s racinos have a long history as a racetrack, only adding a casino once games were legalized by the state in the 2000’s. Presque Isle is different in that regard. Here, the casino came first, opening in February of 2007 and offering first slots, then table games when they were legalized in 2010. The racetrack was added in September of 2007, replacing another relatively unsuccessful area racetrack called Erie Downs.
Presque Isle is one of Pennsylvania’s smaller casinos. It has 42 table games and over 1,500 slot machines along with a small poker room. The racetrack offers live racing half the year and simulcast races year round.
In recent years, Presque Isle has lost business due to competition from casinos that have opened next door in Ohio. Competition can be good for players though – Presque Isle frequently offers promotions to entice players to visit.
The casino has it all – just not a whole lot of it.
Presque Isle’s casino offerings aren’t quite as numerous as many of the state’s other operators, but they do have all the most popular table games and slots one would expect from a Vegas-style casino, just not quite as many. Despite this, they do offer a separate high limit room for the comfort and enjoyment of their high rollers.
Presque Isle has over 1,500 slot machines. It’s not a huge number, but it’s not tiny either. Machine players should have no problem finding their favorite reel, video or progressive varieties. Limits here range from penny machines to those that accept wagers as higher as $100 a pull.
One nice feature of Presque Isle’s slot machine offerings is the relatively large amount of progressive slots. Even better, many of these progressive slots are at the lower betting limits, giving smaller players a chance to hit it big.
Here’s some of the machines you can find here:
- One Cent Quick Hits Progressives
- Two Cent Hot Slots Progressives
- Five Cent Double Diamond Progressives
- $1 Double Dollars Progressives
- $1 Big Al’s Progressives
With only 42 table games, smaller limit players at Presque Isle might find their options somewhat restricted on busy nights and weekends as tables fill up and limits increase. This is partly due to the fact that the casino does offer a wide variety of games. When space is limited, variety of game choice tends to crowd out variety of limit choice.
Here’s a list of the games you can find here:
- Blackjack (featuring the Lucky Ladies, 21+3, and IN BETween side bets as well as the Blazing 7’s side bet with a progressive jackpot)
- Three Card Poker
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
- Let It Ride
- Spanish 21
- Mississippi Stud
Presque Isle’s live racing season runs from mid-May through early October. It is a thoroughbred track and (unusual for this type) runs its races in the evenings rather than afternoons. Most race evenings consist of eight races and begin at 5:25pm.
Whether the track is live or not, nationwide races are simulcast here year round, so bettors will have no problem getting action down on their favorite tracks.
The poker room
Presque Isle’s poker room isn’t large, but it is quite active. Cash games spread here include No Limit Hold’em and Limit Omaha hi/lo (8-or better). In addition, they also run weekly and monthly tournaments.
Regular promotions are offered here, with high-hand contests yielding players tickets for many different kinds of drawings and give-aways.
Playing for rewards: The One Club
Presque Isle uses a five-tiered, card-based player rewards system called One Club. Each tier confers certain benefits and perks. New players can pick up a card for free when they sign up at the player’s club booth in the casino. To earn reward dollars, simply insert your card into a machine when playing, or hand your card to the dealer when playing table games.
Players earn points (reward dollars) that can be accumulated and used to purchase food, beverages or merchandise at any Presque Isle restaurant, bar, or gift shop. Additionally, points can be converted into free play. Reward dollars are valid for 12 months after the day they have been earned.
One Club tier levels
Players at all levels earn reward dollars while playing and receive offers in the mail based on the level of their play. At the Silver level and beyond, players also receive additional benefits including:
- Tier-based promotions
- Bonus entries into drawings
- Discounts for the buffet and gift shop purchases
Players at the Gold, Producer, and Chairman levels also receive:
- One, two or three complimentary beverages daily (depending on level)
- Free valet service
- Free racing program
- Invitations to special events
Players who achieve the highest two levels (President and Chairman) receive a priority line pass for guest services and the buffet as well as a personal casino host. Chairman level players also receive:
- Priority parking
- Hotel suite upgrades
- Complimentary dinner for two at LBV Steak & Pasta every three months
- Daily complimentary lunch buffet for two or dinner buffet for one
Presque Isle has applied for and received a $10 million state license that allows them to offer online slots, table games, and peer-to-peer gaming (geek-speak for online poker). When they eventually launch an online gaming platform, they are likely to use the tech gaming services of SBTech, but this has not been confirmed.
For those Pennsylvanian’s who want to gamble online in the meantime, they should consider Pennsylvania’s online lottery. It’s quick, easy, fun, legal, and you can win real money playing it. Even better, new players get $5 free to play when they sign up.
Presque Isle is a smaller casino, and it’s dining options reflect this fact. Players won’t go hungry here, but there aren’t exactly a ton of choices and the options tend to focus on casual dining rather than high-end eateries.
Here’s what they’ve got to eat:
- LBV Steak & Pasta – Open for dinner Tue-Sat, this moderately priced restaurant focuses on steaks and Italian cuisine.
- Brew Brothers – Open daily for lunch and dinner, this brew pub focuses on burgers, pizzas, and comfort foods, and has a wide selection of beers including specialty craft brews.
- Backstretch Buffet – Open daily for lunch and dinner, this buffet features a wide variety of options, with specialty offerings on the weekends. One Club cardholders receive $1, $2, $3, or $4 dollars off with a Silver, Gold, President, or Chairman card.
- InCafe – Open 24/7 for a quick and casual meal any time you need it.
The bars and nightlife
Well, here pickings are somewhat slim. Presque Isle’s only real spot for nightlife is the above-mentioned sports bar, Brew Brothers. In the evenings, they open up their stage and present live entertainment featuring the best local area acts.
Where to stay?
Presque Isle has no attached hotel, but there are several nearby to choose from and most offer free shuttle service to and from the casino.
The newest and closest of these is Baymont Inn & Suites, located just 0.4 miles from the casino and offering the following amenities:
- Free shuttle service to and from Presque Isle Downs & Casino 24/7
- Free parking
- Free continental breakfast
- Refrigerator and microwave in all rooms
- Free Wi-Fi and Internet access
- Free airport shuttle
In addition to Baymont, Presque Isle has secured relationships with several partner hotels nearby. Each of these has special discounted rates for visitors to Presque Isle, so be sure to mention it when making reservations.
- Residence Inn & Suites*
- Holiday Inn Express*
- Courtyard Marriott
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Home 2 Suites by Hilton
- Comfort Inn & Suites*
- Days Inn*
- Quality Inn & Suites*
- Super 8
- Red Roof Inn
- Country Inn & Suites
*these offer free shuttle service to and from Presque Isle Downs & Casino