Making the News

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Originally Published:Sunday, April 22, 2012

Comfy in Valley Forge: Gamblers have it good where Washington's troops once froze

By Tom Barnes
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Joseph Weinert, who keeps tabs on casinos nationally from his post at Spectrum Gaming Group near Atlantic City, N.J., said the new Valley Forge casino will enhance Pennsylvania's already strong position in wagering.

"The growth of the Pennsylvania gaming industry is the envy of the whole U.S. gaming industry," he said.

Why so? Mr. Weinert said it's because Pennsylvania has casinos in "all the right markets," those with high populations and within easy reach of tourists.

"And yet the casinos are geographically separate enough to keep the cannibalization to a minimum," he added, meaning that newly opened casinos aren't eating too deeply into the profits of existing casinos.

Mr. Weinert said the casino is in "a demographically attractive area, with a lot of higher-earning people living nearby," an area called the Main Line, with upscale neighborhoods along a railroad line west of Philadelphia.

Mr. Weinert said he wants to see how well the smaller resort casino does in luring gamblers, especially because three larger casinos are each about 30 miles away the Parx racetrack/casino north of Philadelphia, Harrah's "racino" near Chester, south of Philly, and a stand-alone casino within the city itself.

"We will look to see how this membership model works," Mr. Weinert said. "It's quite possible that other states could emulate it, depending on its success."

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