Following a two-day soft launch this week under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie is scheduled to officially open its BetAmerica-branded sportsbook on Friday. It will join Rivers Casino Pittsburgh as only the second retail sportsbook in the west of the state.

The BetAmerica sports betting operation comprises betting kiosks spread within the sportsbook and across the casino floor. Bettors can place wagers at 50 kiosks near the Hub center bar, Bar 90, the High-Limit Room, and the non-smoking area of the sportsbook.

While Friday sees business at the sportsbook finally get underway, the big launch party has been saved for August 8 when the first of the NFL preseason games are played. Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles will be in action.

What will be of interest is the potential draw that Presque Isles will have for customers from New York where legal sports betting is still in its infancy. Western New Yorkers may find its Erie location, a mere 30-minute drive from the border, particularly convenient.