The Pennsylvania 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, members of the general public can access the gaming floor as long as certain criteria are met in accordance with the state's gambling 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, and continuing for a 24-hour period after the events end.
* Registered overnight guests at one of two hotels there, continuing until 11:59 p.m. on the days the guests check out.
* Guests who purchase dining or entertainment memberships, ranging from seasonal (at least three months) for $20 and $30, to annual memberships costing $59 and $69.
"All of these options allow our patrons to enjoy the amenities of our resort while providing easy access to our casino," said Robert Carmignani, vice president of marketing for Valley Forge Casino Resort.
The venue, Pennsylvania's 11th casino, is scheduled to open in early spring with up to 600 slot machines and 50 table games. Management said it wants to add 15 tables for monthly poker tournaments.
The casino's access plan, which took months to finalize, was a key part of convincing the state gaming board that management will have control over who goes into and out of the gambling hall.
Valley Forge will be the first of two casino resorts requiring an access plan to open. 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, spokesman for the Gaming Control Board, said after Tuesday's vote in Harrisburg.
The Montgomery County casino will join three others in what has become a fiercely competitive gaming market: the state's top-grossing Parx, in Bensalem; Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, in Delaware County, and SugarHouse on Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. Those casinos were among the top four table-games revenue generators last month among the 10 casinos currently open, and had more than one-third of the 946 table games statewide.
The Valley Forge casino began an aggressive marketing and advertising campaign earlier this month. Billboards touting its spring opening and its gaming, dining, nightlife and entertainment offerings were put 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 reads: "We're going all in. So you can go all out."