By Ken Davison
After completing two days of trial runs to the satisfaction of state regulators this past weekend, the Mount Airy casino will open its doors to the public today.
A grand opening ceremony is scheduled for 11:00 this morning and the public will be admitted at noon. The casino´s four restaurants will also open today while the 188-room hotel is scheduled to open on November 15th.
The $412 million casino is the first of the five stand-alone casinos to open in Pennsylvania. The casino currently has 2,523 slot machines and is expected to increase that number to about 3,000 slot machines upon the completion of an expansion in 2008 when it will also add 212 more hotel rooms, a conference center and retail shops.
The casino´s owner, Louis A. DeNaples, still remains under investigation by a grand jury to determine whether he misled gaming regulators by denying ties to organized crime. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board last week approved an independent committee that will oversee the casino pending the outcome of the investigation.
Mount Airy casino´s opening is expected to reduce the slot machine win in the near term at the Mohegan´s Pocono Downs´casino, located about twenty miles away. The Mohegan´s Pocono Downs casino, which doesn´t have a hotel, opened last year with 1,099 slot machines and now has 1,203 slot machines. Two hotels in the Poconos that are seeking to install 500 slot machines made presentations to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week. If approved, the Poconos region would host a total of four casinos.
In related news, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced last Wednesday that it has revoked the licenses of two employees of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The revocations of the licenses for Brian Lee Baker and Frank Bergamino were effective October 2nd.
Note: Hours after the posting of this article, the Mount Airy Casino opened. A brief report can be found at:
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board publishes slot machine figures on a weekly basis and can be found at: http://www.pgcb.state.pa.us/gaming_revenue.HTM
Old postcards of the former Mount Airy Lodge, a popular resort destination in the 60's and 70´s and later purchased by DeNaples in 2004 for $25 million as the site for the Mount Airy Casino, can be fount at the following web address:
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