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Gaming Control Board approves Nemacolin casino's entrance-fee plan

| Monday, May 20, 2013, 11:41 p.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Construction moves forward on the Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands in Farmington on Monday, May 20, 2013.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Construction moves forward on the Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands in Farmington on Monday, May 20, 2013.

Patrons of the soon-to-open Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Fayette County will have a way to gain year-round access to the gaming facility without first booking a room or spending at least $10 on other amenities at the resort, according to resort and Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board officials.

Nemacolin has a Category 3 resort casino license. Under such licenses, which are issued only to existing resorts, casino patrons must purchase at least $10 worth of amenities at the resort before they can enter the casino.

But with approval from the state gaming board, Nemacolin has come up with a plan that allows patrons to forgo the $10 in minimum purchases by instead buying a $45 annual membership into the “Nemacolin Experience,” said Chris Plummer, general manager of the luxury resort.

Nemacolin Experience members can show the card to gain access for themselves and one guest to the casino, Plummer said.

In addition, cardholders will be eligible for various discounts at the resort, including at the spa and two golf courses, even if they do not plan to visit the casino.

“If you use it just once or twice a year, it pays for itself,” Plummer said.

Isle of Capri is eyeing an early July opening for the $60 million casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, according to Jeff Nobers, resort spokesman. The cards will be available for purchase in the casino and chateau lobbies before the resort's opening, Plummer said.

Doug Harbach, gaming control board spokesman, said the board has given its approval to the Nemacolin Experience plan. Harbach said Nemacolin had proposed charging $25 for the annual memberships, but the board directed that they charge $45.

“The board looked at it, and they felt $25 was selling it for less than what the market value was,” Harbach said.

Nobers said the resort is in the process of hiring 35 people to work for the Nemacolin Experience program. In addition to selling the membership cards, employees will assist cardholders in setting up dining and other reservations at the resort, among other responsibilities.

“We're building a department to take guest service to the next level,” Plummer said. “It's like a concierge service on steroids, really ramped up.”

Other ways to gain access to the casino will include through memberships in the resort's other facilities, such as its golf courses or shooting range, or attendance at a wedding or conference, Nobers said.

For example, he said, wedding guests will be placed on a list that allows them to visit the casino once within 72 hours of the wedding.

Resort casino licenses allow for a maximum of 600 slot machines and 28 table games, compared with as many as 5,000 slot machines and 250 table games that are allowed at standalone casinos such as Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Harbach said.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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