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Valley Forge gets Casino Approval

13/4/2009
It was only a matter of time until the Valley Forge area, bursting with hotels and conference centers, locked down approval to open a casino there.

The news came yesterday as real estate titan Ira Lubert secured approval for the 500-slot-machine venue situated in the Valley Forge Convention Center. The license, the first of two resort permits to be issued by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, begins a $107 million spend that will come to fruition, from calculated estimates, in the first quarter of 2010.

Once open, the casino will be open for free to convention center guests as well as those staying at the two hotels. Customers who spend at least $10 at the spa or restaurants in the center will also have access. These conditions, unique to any other Pennsylvania casinos, will provide a form of crowd control, say local officials. In total, the township and county is estimated to gain more than $1 million in tax revenue.

"We are extremely pleased with the board's decision," said Rick Kelly, a Lubert group spokesman. "We are excited to create a first-class gaming experience inside the Valley Forge Convention Center."

But investors hope that because the slots parlor is planned to use part of the existing convention center space, the casino will be high-profile enough to passersby on a regular basis.

"This is a lot smaller than it seems like," said Scott Sibley, the chairman of the Upper Merion Board of Supervisors. "When we have a big convention in there, you have a lot of traffic and a lot of people there. We might have people there a little more frequently because of having the casino parlor there, but I think we can handle it."

But Sibley and Ronald Wagenmann, the township manager, assured sceptics that the center's developers promised help with getting people to flow through the casino.
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