Guests visiting Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin in Farmington will now be able to enter the casino at no charge after Churchill Downs Inc., which manages the casino, paid $1 million to lift the $10 access fee.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board accepted the payment Monday. Vice President/general manager of the casino Gary Hendricks said he was pleased the fee had been lifted.
“I am excited that the barrier has been removed to allow guests to enter the casino at no charge,” said Hendricks. “In addition, I would like to thank our loyal guests who have stayed with us for almost six years in spite of this deterrent.”
This is just one of the changes since the casino, which opened in 2013 and is located one mile from Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, was acquired by Churchill Downs earlier this year.
“We encourage all guests to come back and check out all the ongoing changes that are occurring since our acquisition by Churchill Downs, Inc. from Eldorado Resorts, Inc. Many additional changes that will be part and parcel of Churchill Downs continued investment in Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin include new slots, new players club and benefits, and the return of valet services to the property,” Hendricks said.
State Sen. Pat Stefano, R-Bullskin Township, is vice chairman of the Senate Community and Economic Development Committee, which oversees the gaming board. Stefano said he fought long and hard to give Category 3 Casinos like Lady Luck the ability to remove the access fee, which deterred some guests.
“This is an exciting step forward for Lady Luck Casino,” said Stefano. “I have seen firsthand people come to the casino intending to play right here in our community only to turn around and walk out the door upon learning of the access fee.”
The legislation, which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf in October 2017, expanded gaming across Pennsylvania and removed requirements that limited casino customers to guests of the hotel, membership holders, and patrons of other resort amenities. Valley Forge, another Category 3 licensee, paid the $1 million fee on Nov. 1, 2017, and has seen continued revenue growth since then, officials said.
“This step will help generate more players and secure hundreds of jobs at Lady Luck Casino, while providing more revenue for local projects through the Local Share,” said Stefano. “I applaud Churchill Downs, the new operators of Lady Luck for demonstrating their commitment to Fayette County with this investment.”
In March the Gaming Control Board approved a change in management at Lady Luck, with Churchill Downs, operator of the Kentucky Derby, taking over from Eldorado Resorts.
Churchill Downs already manages Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie. In their petition to the board, the new management company noted Presque Isle Downs and Lady Luck generated a combined 6%of the state’s total slot machine revenue and 2% of its total table game revenue last year.
Lady Luck opened in July 2013 and has 600 slot machines and 27 table games in the 69,000-square foot resort casino.