Lady Luck hasn't been so lucky thus far.
Business has been "slower than expected" at the brand-new Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, forcing the Fayette County casino and its operator, St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., to lay off dozens of employees just two months after opening.
On opening day, July 1, the casino had about 450 employees. A spokesman for Isle of Capri said the casino had laid off 15 percent of its workforce, which would amount to about 70 employees.
"Business has been slower than expected, and we must make some changes to keep our expenses in line with business levels as we move into the slow winter season," said Jill Alexander, spokeswoman for Isle of Capri.
"As a result, a number of positions are being eliminated."
She said that the slow business is partly due to the fact that, unlike other casinos in the state, "resort" casinos cannot allow anyone and everyone in the door.
Instead, casino patrons must be a paying customer at the resort, either as an overnight guest; as a patron of the resort's other facilities (restaurants, spas, golf courses, wedding guest, and so on); by paying a $45 annual resort membership; or by buying a $10 resort gift card.
That gift card counts as a resort purchase, and gives buyers one-time access to the casino. The complicated access plans are by design of the state Legislature, which wanted resort casinos to be small, ancillary amenities, and not open-to-the-public attractions.
While the Lady Luck Casino has received high marks from the customers who have shown up, others "have been resistant to the access plan. We continue to work closely with the resort to establish admission procedures that conform to state regulations that are as customer-friendly as possible," Ms. Alexander said.
The $60 million casino, with 28 table games and about 600 slot machines, was more than nine years in the making, with the idea of a casino at Nemacolin first floated in 2004, the year casinos were legalized by the state. That law allowed for stand-alone casinos, racetrack casinos and resort casinos.
Bill Toland: email@example.com or 412-263-2625.