Big day for 2 Pa. casinos

Today was a particularly good day for two eastern Pennsylvania gambling dens. The state's Gaming Control Board okayed table games for Mount Airy Casino Resort and Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. In addition, Las Vegas Sands Corp., the Bethlehem casino's corporate parent, announced it is resuming plans to erect a 300-room hotel on the property located on the site of the old Bethlehem Steel Works.

According to reports, the Sands has targeted May, 2011 for the facility's opening. The casino, which opened last May, was originally supposed to include the hotel and a retail and entertainment complex, but the sour economy put a hold on those plans.

There was no word about when the Sands expects to introduce poker, blackjack, craps and the like, but some time in July is a good bet. That, said a Mount Airy spokeswoman, is when her property hopes to start dealing cards and rolling the dice, and other gaming halls have also targeted early summer..

Of course, in this region, casino gaming is something of a zero-sum proposition. Table games in Pennsylvania is expected to take a heavy toll on Atlantic City's casinos which, until now, has held the tri-state area's table game monopoly.