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Summer opening eyed for Nemacolin's Lady Luck Casino

| Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 12:16 a.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Tim Rush of Uniontown practices dealing blackjack during table game training held on Monday, April 29, 2013 for the new Lady Luck Casino being constructed at Nemacolin Woodlands in Farmington.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Construction is underway at the Lady Luck Casino in Farmington, photographed on Monday, April 29, 2013.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Construction is underway at the Lady Luck Casino in Farmington, photographed on Monday, April 29, 2013.

When Isle of Capri Inc. opens its $60 million Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin this summer, the company will debut a gambling facility in the state seven years after losing out on a gaming license in Pittsburgh.

“It will be water under the bridge. We do business the way we do business,” said Jill R. Alexander, a senior spokeswoman with the St. Louis-based company that bid on the state casino license that went to Majestic Star and became Rivers Casino on the North Shore.

“We're building a casino we can be proud of and the Hardys can be proud of,” Alexander said.

Joseph Hardy, who founded 84 Lumber Co., built Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in 1987. The resort that his daughter, Maggie Hardy Magerko, now owns is partnering with Isle of Capri to run the casino licensed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in 2011.

Their Class 3 license allows up to 600 slot machines and 28 table games — additions designed to bolster tourism at the resort.

Patrons must spend at least $10 at Nemacolin before being allowed into the casino, per state law governing that type of license.

Of the state's 11 casinos, only Valley Forge Casino Resort near King of Prussia has a similar license.

Valley Forge opened in March 2012 as the state's smallest casino with 600 slot machines and 50 table games. Rivers has nearly 3,000 slots machines and 116 table games. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Washington County has 3,300 slot machines and 80 table games.

Isle of Capri officials and Lady Luck staff members plan to meet on Tuesday to discuss the casino's grand opening. The facility could open in late June or early July, said Michael Giunti, the casino's marketing director.

About 400 people will get permanent jobs at the casino and its bars and restaurant. About half of the positions remain open, Giunti said. Isle of Capri will hold job fairs on Thursday and May 7 at the Holiday Inn Uniontown.

Isle of Capri at one time hoped to land the $50 million license to open Pittsburgh's casino. In a plan that Pittsburgh Penguins owners backed, Isle of Capri pledged to pay $290 million for construction of a multipurpose arena if selected.

In a contentious decision, gaming officials in 2006 awarded the license to Majestic Star Casino and the late Don Barden. That might have been a blessing for Isle of Capri, given the recession that followed, Alexander said.

“That's the nature of gaming. It's a competitive industry,” Alexander said.

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or jcato@tribweb.com.

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