Passed in 2004, the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act was designed to greatly benefit Pennsylvanians by ensuring gaming jobs and gaming revenue aid local organizations and residents. Just a few of the benefits are noted below. 

  • Across Pennsylvania, the gaming industry has created more than 16,000 living wage jobs.
  • For every dollar produced as revenue, slot machine play returns 54¢-55¢ to Pennsylvanians (see breakdown here)

In Erie County, Pa., a full 1% of the annual gross revenue of Presque Isle Downs and Casino returns to Erie residents. 

Erie County government receives the first ½% and uses it to underwrite bonds for transformational projects, such as the Erie International Airport, Tom Ridge Field runway extension and upgrades to Erie Insurance Arena.

The second half ½% of Erie County’s gaming revenue has been entrusted to the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority to invest in projects and initiatives that invigorate the Erie County, Pa., economy.



ECGRA was established in 2008 by forward-thinking members of Erie County Council and charged with administering municipal grants and serving as Erie County’s economic development authority, according to the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act.

Members of ECGRA’s first board of directors were key to creating a foundation for making a substantial economic impact in Erie with ECGRA’s ½%--approximately $5.7 million year.

The Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority has invested nearly $6 million to spur Erie County business growth and buttress Erie youth and education initiatives.

ECGRA’s Ignite Erie™ program improves Erie’s economic outlook through impact investments in three key areas: inner-city small business development; industry+university collaborations for business acceleration; and business financing. Ignite Erie partners are inspiring entrepreneurs, advancing business concepts, uncovering local and global market opportunities, creating jobs, renewing neighborhoods, and leveraging private investments. All the while, ECGRA’s Youth & Education grantees provide skills and job training for youth and displaced workers, connecting them with the Erie County, Pa. employers who need qualified employees most.

Whether you make Erie your home or vacation destination, Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority impact investments and grants have improved something you love in Erie County, Pa.



In 2011, economic development practitioner Perry Wood was hired by the ECGRA board of directors to serve as ECGRA executive director. Wood was charged with innovating and bringing to fruition a framework that uses gaming funds for impact investments in Erie County.

Following the lead of respected foundations across the U.S., including The Rockefeller, George Gund, and F.B. Heron foundations, Wood and the board of directors adopted an Impact Investing Policy in 2014 and began making impact investments with gaming funds to drive social, cultural, and environmental change, as well as reap financial returns that help ensure Erie County’s gaming revenue gives back to local residents in perpetuity.

Today, ECGRA is making impact investments in five key areas:

Quality of Place
Youth & Education
Small Business
Neighborhoods & Communities 



As of June 2016, ECGRA has made over $40 million in impact investments in 178 nonprofit organizations, small business lenders, and educational entities. Those gaming funds help empower Erie County nonprofits, boost the Erie County, Pa. economy, and inspire Erie residents and hundreds of thousands of tourists—one dollar at a time and all thanks to Erie County gaming revenue.

Have questions? Contact us.

Interested in learning more? View the 2015-16 ECGRA annual report here.

Looking for ECGRA grant money? Find out what ECGRA grants are available



In March 2017, ECGRA and Team Erie County hosts the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee to express the need to keep local share gaming revenue whole to continue to maintain local control of the funds for the purpose of economic development in Erie County.  In October 2017, the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee votes to keep local share gaming whole.

In 2018, ECGRA institutes two new programs, the Renaissance Block Program (based on a model from Jamestown, NY) and the Anchor Building Program in an effort to help prevent properties from becoming blighted.  This is in conjunction with $1 million of the ECGRA portion of gaming funds being given to start operation of an Erie County Land Bank.



 An impact investing organization, ECGRA's mission is to empower the nonprofit sector, municipal governments, and economic development agencies to revitalize Erie County.  ECGRA is endowed with local share gaming revenue from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania via the Horse Race Gaming Act.  Local share gaming revenue is an assessment of the licensed gambling industry in Pennsylvania.