ShareThis Page
Home

Seven Springs seeks slots

Rich Cholodofsky
| Friday, Aug. 26, 2005

Seven Springs, the popular resort in the Laurel Mountains, wants to offer its guests more than just skiing in the winter and golf in the summer.

Scott Bender, president of Seven Springs Resort, confirmed Thursday that an application will be submitted to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board seeking a license for up to 500 slot machines.

"We're planning on that effort," Bender said. "We think that our chances are pretty good. We think we can be a very strong candidate with what the state expects to do with gambling."

Pennsylvania lawmakers last year approved the creation of up to 14 slots licenses throughout the state.

At least seven licenses would be earmarked for horse racing tracks, while five additional licenses could be granted to stand-alone slots parlors, including one guaranteed for Pittsburgh. Those licenses will cost $50 million and allow up to 3,000 slot machines at each location.

State lawmakers also designated that two licenses -- at a cost of $5 million each -- be made available for existing resorts with at least 275 guest rooms on the property. Resorts throughout Pennsylvania that meet the state's requirements are expected to apply for the limited slots licenses for up to 500 machines.

Two western Pennsylvania resorts are eligible for the limited slots licenses.

Seven Springs, a winter hot spot in the region, has guest 350 rooms in its hotel, as well as additional chalets and other accommodations. The resort averages about 1.2 million visitors a year.

"This would give us a substantial increase in visitors. This will help us grow our slower periods," Bender said.

The luxurious Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, founded by 84 Lumber Co. magnate Joe Hardy, is also eligible for the license. Officials there have suggested they also would seek a slots license.

Nemacolin spokeswoman Kay Magham said yesterday that no official announcement has been made about the resort's intentions, but that an application for a slots license was likely.

"It's pretty much common knowledge that Mr. Hardy is interested. I think (it is) pretty much known that he's thinking about it. He's said that if he's granted a license, he'll be open in 90 days," Magham said.

Annie Urban, executive director for the Laurel Highlands Visitor's Bureau, which serves as the tourism agency for Somerset, Fayette and Westmoreland counties, said she will lobby for both Seven Springs and Nemacolin Woodlands to receive the slots licenses.

"It will add another component of tourist amenities for people to come visit our region," Urban said.

Gaming Board spokesman Nick Hayes said that resort license applications won't be considered until later next year. Draft regulations for conditional licenses at the state's existing horse racing tracks are still being finalized. Applications for those licenses will not be accepted until early 2006.

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.

click me