Pennsylvania's 11th casino - Valley Forge Casino Resort in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County - will open its doors March 31, according to management, which made the announcement Tuesday.
Invitation-only test nights, to benefit local charities, will be held March 27 and 29, said Valley Forge Casino Resort president and CEO Saverio "Sal" R. Scheri III.
"We look forward to opening our doors to the community and creating more than 650 jobs for area working families," he said.
The casino will have up to 600 slot machines and 50 table games - including blackjack, craps, roulette, and Pai Gow Poker - with the option to add 15 tables for monthly poker tournaments.
But to gamble at the $132.5 million casino, patrons must meet criteria set forth in an access plan that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved in December. As the first of two "casino resorts" to open in the state, Valley Forge is required by law to have an access plan.
Gambling will be allowed by patrons of the Valley Forge Convention Center and its amenities, including restaurants, bars, and retail shops, who spend at least $10, stay at one of the center's two hotels, or use the spa.
Anyone attending a meeting, convention, or other event at the Convention Center could also gamble, as could those with dining and entertainment memberships there.
"We want to make sure the patrons know that we are a little different," Scheri said. "In order to get on the casino floor, there are some things they have to do."
The casino will join an already fiercely competitive local gaming market that includes Parx in Bensalem, Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, and SugarHouse on Penn's Landing.
"Everything is on schedule," Scheri said. "Construction is moving. Slots are being delivered. Table-game equipment and the technology system are being installed, and people are getting hired."
The regional gambling landscape will become even more crowded when the $2.4 billion Revel opens on the Atlantic City Boardwalk on May 25. The mega-casino announced last week that it plans to begin an eight-week preview for guests, starting April 2, two days after Valley Forge debuts.
"I think it's going to be interesting this summer," Scheri said. "The folks in Pennsylvania will have a lot more choices than in the past."
Scheri said his casino was still holding job fairs.
"We thought the difficulty would be in attracting people," he said. "But now, it's choosing from the thousands of applicants.
"We are very close on that."
Contact staff writer Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2594 or firstname.lastname@example.org.