Day At The Track

PITTSBURGH AREAS FIRST CASINO

06:47 PM 11 Jun 2007 NZST
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Fresh off two highly successful charity nights that attracted 10,000 visitors, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino today became the first casino to open in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

Casino officials were joined by elected officials, members of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and Meadows visitors to cut the ribbon and officially open the region’s first casino.

The opening comes after two highly successful test nights that generated $2.9 million in wagers and more than $100,000 in charitable contributions for the Greater Washington County Food Bank and The Washington Hospital.

“Today is the culmination of two years of hard work by so many people,” said Bill Paulos, a principal of Las Vegas-based Cannery Casino Resorts (CCR), which owns The Meadows. “We truly believe our temporary casino is already among the finest gaming facilities in Pennsylvania.

“Southwestern Pennsylvania has been looking forward to gaming for a long time. We’re excited to be the first venue open to provide that opportunity. Our visitors are going to love it, and they haven’t seen anything yet! We believe this facility will provide an exciting preview of the permanent casino, which will open in early 2009.”

Before the casino opened, nearly 25,000 people signed up to be members of the Meadows Rewards Players Club. Members will receive one point for every $1 of coin-in on any slot machine. Rewards points may be redeemed for goods and services throughout the casino, including logo merchandise, food and gift cards from local businesses.

Amazingly, the temporary casino was built in about seven months. In November, CCR and Meadows officials broke ground on the 82,000-square-foot temporary casino, which includes 1,738 slot machines, a 360-seat all-you-can-eat restaurant, a snack bar, and sports bar with 24 bar-top video poker games. The gaming floor includes a wide array of slot machines, including popular games such as Wheel of Fortune and Hot Hot Penny.

The Meadows is also the first casino in the state to offer several games, including Keno, video roulette and a version of Monopoly.

Visitors can play 880 slot machines that cost as little as a penny.

Machines range in playing price from one penny to as much as $25.

“I cannot say enough about the work our construction and design team did to build this incredible facility in such a short time,” said The Meadows Vice President and General Manager Mike Graninger. “There was nothing here in November. Now we have a state-of-the-art casino. Some people didn’t believe we could do it, but all our hard work has paid off, and our visitors love it!”

he vast majority of the construction and subsequent goods and services have come from area businesses. Close to 1,000 local jobs will be created for construction of the temporary and permanent casinos. The Meadows also hired area residents to fill 430 of the 450 jobs in the casino.

“We’re proud to be in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and we’re happy to create opportunities for local residents and companies,” Graninger said. “We really see the local community as our partner.”

A permanent 350,000-square-foot, two-story casino, which will hold 3,000 slot machines, will open in early 2009. It will fully integrate the horse racing and casino functions, making it a true destination entertainment experience.

The casino complex will have a covered grandstand area overlooking the racetrack, and a 200-seat simulcast area which connects to the outdoor grandstand seating.

Plans also include a premier steak house, an American-style all-you-can-eat restaurant, and a specialty restaurant, which overlooks the racetrack. A centrally located lounge and bar with terraced seating will feature panoramic views of the both the gaming floor and racetrack. A circular food court accessible from both the gaming floor and the grandstands will accommodate six different food outlets. VIP boxes will also be available and provide a select view of the racetrack.

CCR owns two highly regarded resorts in Las Vegas – the Rampart Casino and the Cannery Casino & Hotel. Construction began in March on a second Cannery branded casino in Las Vegas.

David La Torre, La Torre Communications

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