Casino at Nemacolin welcomes crowd of 200, with good fortune for 2 as doors open
By Liz Zemba
Published: Monday, July 1, 2013, 11:36 p.m.
A Somerset County woman who arrived earlyon Monday for the grand opening of Pennsylvania's 12th casino found out she was a winner before she even walked through the front doors.
“I'm excited because I'm a winner already,” said Rosa Uphold, 62, of Confluence as she waited with about 200 others outside the entrance to Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Fayette County for its noon opening. “They gave me $20 for the first pull.”
Uphold found the $20 and one of two certificates that were hidden in T-shirts the casino gave away for its grand opening. Hers entitled her to make the first slots' pull at the $60 million casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort near Farmington.
Ernie Cruea, 69, of Waldorf, Md., found the second certificate. His entitled him to make the first dice toss at the craps table.
“I'm not a frequent winner, but I'm a frequent player,” said Cruea, who went on to roll a seven with the first toss of the dice. “My motto is, I lose responsibly.”
Uphold's first several pulls did not net her a cash payout, but she walked away with $17 in credits to play on other machines.
“It was pretty awesome,” Uphold said after a handful of news photographers caught her historic pull on camera.
The 24-hour casino, operated through a partnership between the resort and Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., has 600 slot machines, 28 table games and two restaurants. It opened to the public after conducting two successful test nights on Thursday and Saturday that generated $26,500 for five charities, according to Virginia McDowell, president and CEO of Isle of Capri.
More than 1,000 patrons visited the casino in its first 41⁄2 hours of operation, said resort spokesman Jeff Nobers.
“The line is still well out the door,” Nobers said at 5 p.m. “We expect it will peak around 9 p.m., after people get off work.”
Cruea said the casino is a nice addition to the resort, which he and his wife have visited more than 30 times during the past eight years. The couple booked their rooms in April to coincide with the casino's opening.
“I think it's great,” Cruea said. “Not that there isn't enough to do here already, but this gives a nice spin to it.”
Others, like Dave Moyemont, 54, of Mt. Pleasant Township, said the casino offers an indoors entertainment option for when he and his wife, Denise, 53, are boating on nearby Yough Lake.
“When we come up here in the summertime and it's a rainy day, we'll come here,” Moyemont said as he waited for the dealer to shuffle cards at the black jack table.
Nemacolin founder Joe Hardy and his daughter, Maggie Hardy Magerko, resort owner and president, joined McDowell for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“I'm floored when I go in there, with the way it came together,” Hardy said of the casino, which is in the resort's former Wildside entertaintment center. “It's beautiful. It's worth the wait and the work.”
Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board granted Nemacolin the last Category 3 resort gaming license in April 2011, but construction was delayed when Mason-Dixon resort near Gettysburg challenged that decision.
In affirming the gaming board's decision in August, the Supreme Court rejected Mason-Dixon's contention that Nemacolin was ineligible and its allegations the board was politically influenced.
Hardy said the casino should become the cornerstone of the county's tourism industry.
He said the jobs it created — 500 through Isle of Capri and 200 at the resort — are exactly what Fayette needs to help persuade young people not to move elsewhere for work.
“There are careers here,” Hardy said. “These are opportunities so young people don't move away.”
Hardy Magerko said more jobs are on the way with the planned construction next year of a 125-room hotel near the casino. It will feature rates that are less expensive than the current daily starting rate of $339 for rooms at the resort.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- UFO, Bigfoot encounters to be discussed at Connellsville library program
- Masontown girl pulls off heroic task at state farm show
- Connellsville community center enjoying rebirth
- Cause of Republic blaze under investigation
- Dawson mayor, CSX aim to repair railroad crossing at intersection
- South Connellsville accepts police chief’s resignation
- ‘Going downtown’ with dad, mom in ’50s among Connellsville native’s treasured memories
- Juveniles waive charges to Fayette court in Connellsville Township assault/robbery
- Knife incident on bus gives Connellsville Area School District pause
- Mt. Pleasant man charged in 2 Connellsville robberies
- Curfew concerns presented to Connellsville mayor