Lady Luck Casino opens Monday at Nemacolin Woodlands

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The Nemacolin Woodlands Resort has long featured four-star accommodations, golf courses and even a private airplane landing strip. At noon Monday, Nemacolin will add a new amenity to the list: a casino.

The Lady Luck Casino -- Pennsylvania's 12th gaming destination -- resembles an overlarge log cabin from a distance. Inside, it features a sturdy and plush interior with 600 slot machines and 28 gaming tables. The games run the gamut from cheaper bets to high-stakes gambles.

On one end, there are slot machines that allow patrons to play with pennies; at the other, a walled-off room called the High-Limit Room, requires a $25 entrance fee to play its coveted black jack tables.

"They call it the High-Limit Room, but I call it the high-rollers room," Rich Kenes, a genial security guard from nearby Markleysburgh, said as he walked past.

St. Louis-based Isle of Capri, which designed and will manage the casino for Nemacolin, has added features to attract patrons not necessarily interested in gambling. The casino houses a cozy restaurant, Otis and Henry's (common to most Isle of Capri properties), complete with a giant wrought-iron fireplace and faux stained glass in the architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright.

In the next room, a long square-shaped marble bar with jumbo flat-screen televisions and poker machines built in will allow still others to watch the Steelers and sip cocktails while they gamble.

Jeff Nobers, vice president of marketing for Nemacolin, said the casino will both bring more business to Nemacolin and benefit the surrounding region.

"Bringing a casino here will help us from the standpoint of additional room nights, and it will be another amenity on a long list of amenities," he said. "It's exciting to finally walk in and see this place."

The state -- its coffer, anyway -- has benefited enormously since it first permitted casinos to be built. According to Kevin O'Toole, executive director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the state brought in nearly $1.5 billion in tax revenue last year from its 11 existing casinos.

Lady Luck will also enrich the region by way of new jobs -- Nemacolin has already hired 450 employees to staff the casino on its opening day.

"It's been a terrific new source of job creation," Mr. O'Toole said. Mr. Kenes, the security guard, has multiple stakes in Nemacolin. He left retirement to work at the casino, he said, and his granddaughter is employed just down the road at Nemacolin's hotel to book patrons.

Recently, his wife won a contest to stay in one of Nemacolin's priciest hotel rooms.

"She had the time of her life," he said. "We all love it here."

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Michelle Hackman: or 412-263-1969. First Published June 28, 2013 4:30 AM


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