Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board voted, 7-0, Tuesday to approve Valley Forge Casino Resort's access plan, setting guidelines for who can gamble in the new casino.
At a resort casino, the general public can use the gaming floor as long as certain criteria are met in accordance with state law. Under the approved plan, made public Tuesday, those allowed in the casino will include:
Daily visitors to the Valley Forge Convention Center who spend $10 or more at any of the seven new restaurants, five new bars, two retail outlets, or other amenities throughout the resort;
Patrons attending meetings, conventions, banquets, conferences, weddings, or other events, continuing for 24 hours after the events end.
Registered overnight guests at one of two hotels there, continuing until 11:59 p.m. the day the guests check out.
Guests who buy dining or entertainment memberships, ranging from seasonal (at least three months) for $20 and $30, to annual memberships for $59 and $69.
The access plan "is such a big part of who we are as a property and as a new type of casino in Pennsylvania," said Robert Carmignani, vice president of marketing for Valley Forge Casino Resort.
"We are a little bit different by virtue of our license," he said, ". . . and having our access plan approved now helps us to communicate . . . to the general public how easy it is to get in our casino."
The venue, the state's 11th casino, is scheduled to open in the spring with up to 600 slot machines and 50 table games. Management said it wanted to add 15 tables for monthly poker tournaments.
A significant portion of the exterior work has been completed, including parking lots, Carmignani said. Steel for the porte-cochere is being erected, and construction crews are reconstructing the casino floor. Crews will soon move inside to begin additional renovations to the new restaurants and bars, he said.
The access plan, which took months to complete, was a key part of convincing the gaming board that management will have control over who goes in and out of the gambling hall. Valley Forge will be the first of two casino resorts that require access plans. The second license was awarded in May to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in southwestern Pennsylvania.
"In addition to finalizing the access plan, board staff is working with Valley Forge Casino in other key areas, with a goal of opening Pennsylvania's first casino in the Category 3 resort classification," Doug Harbach, Gaming Control Board spokesman, said after Tuesday's vote in Harrisburg.
The Montgomery County casino will join three others in what has become a fiercely competitive market here: the state's top-grossing Parx, in Bensalem; Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, in Delaware County; and SugarHouse in Philadelphia.
They were among the top four generators of table-games revenue last month among the 10 casinos now open, and had more than one-third of the 946 table games statewide.
Valley Forge began an aggressive marketing and advertising campaign earlier this month. Billboards touting its spring opening and gaming, dining, and entertainment offerings went up two weeks ago.
One billboard on Interstate 95 heading south into the city reads: "VF Casino Resort: In fact, you can have it all." One on Interstate 76 just before 30th Street Station reads: "We're going all in. So you can go all out."