he gaming board’s approval of the casino, built on the site of the famed Mount Airy Lodge, came after two successful dry runs over the weekend, board spokesman Doug Harbach said Sunday night.
"We can’t wait to go. It’s going to be a tremendous success," Mount Airy spokesman Kevin Feeley said Sunday. "We’re excited about opening the doors and having the public see the new Mount Airy Resort Casino."
The casino plans a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday, with the first patrons allowed in at noon to try the 2,523 slot machines and four restaurants. A 188-room hotel is scheduled to open next month and a nightclub and spa by the end of the year. Owner Louis A. DeNaples, a wealthy Scranton-area businessman, plans to an additional 212 hotel rooms, a pool and more slot machines by the end of next year. Retail shops and a conference center are also in the works.
Mount Airy Casino Resort will be the first of five freestanding casinos licensed by the gaming board to open in Pennsylvania. Five slot-machine casinos attached to horse racing tracks have already opened.
The gaming board gave unanimous approval last week to members of an independent panel that will monitor the casino’s finances and operations. The panel was suggested by a lawyer for DeNaples as a way to address concerns about DeNaples’ role as the project’s sole investor and top executive, as well as questions about his "suitability" as an applicant.
A Dauphin County grand jury has been investigating whether DeNaples misled the gaming board when he said he had no connections to organized crime. If the board learns that it was misled by a licensee, it can revoke the license.
The state plans to use gambling revenues to cut taxes for homeowners and workers who pay Philadelphia’s wage tax, increase horse racing purses, and to reduce rents for senior citizens.