Luck be a lady?
Not at the Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.
Apparently, Pennsylvania’s newest resort casino, which is located about an hour and a half drive from Johnstown in Fayette County, has rolled snake eyes in its first two months of operation.
Lady Luck opened to much fanfare in July with about 450 employees, but St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., which operates the resort, said in statement Tuesday that it is laying off 15 percent of its employees.
“Business has been slower than expected, and we must make some changes to keep our expenses in line with business levels as we move into the slow winter season,” Isle of Capri said in a statement.
Is this a sign that Pennsylvania has finally busted when it comes to its appetite for gambling? The commonwealth already was the second-biggest gambling market in the nation, trailing only Las Vegas, before Lady Luck opened.
Combine that with the other gambling options available to southwestern Pennsylvanians – Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, The Meadows in Washington, Pa., Rocky Gap near Cumberland, Md., and Wheeling Island in Wheeling, W.Va., and it’s not all together surprising that business isn’t booming at Nemacolin.
While Fayette County seems like a shorter drive from Johnstown than Pittsburgh, it actually takes roughly the same amount of time to get to Rivers Casino as it does to Lady Luck. Throw in all of the additional entertainment options in Pittsburgh as opposed to Lady Luck and it’s no surprise that most Tribune-Democrat readers said in an online poll in July that they either would not be gambling at Nemacolin any time soon.
Lady Luck had more than just its location working against it. Unlike most of its competition, the casino is not open to the general public. Patrons must either be guests of the pricey resort (or its restaurant) or be willing to purchase a $10 gift card for the resort.
“We have received high marks from our customers related to their experience at Lady Luck Nemacolin,” Isle of Capri spokeswoman Jill Alexander said in the statement. “However, customers have been resistant to the access plan.”
Richard McGarvey, a spokesman with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that it’s not unusual that a casino has layoffs in its first year, often because the company hires more staff than is necessary.
So it’s possible that a better future is in the cards for Lady Luck. We just wouldn’t bet on it.
Luck be a lady?
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