he ballroom won't be open, neither will the sports bar, but the flashy machines beckon from an expansive open-floor plan with maroon, reds and earth tone carpeting and color schemes. "It's a wonderful place. It's exceeded my expectation immensely," Holdings Acquisition Co. CEO Greg Carlin said during a media tour Tuesday.
A massive translucent chandelier hangs from the atrium, ending above a bar. Its dozens of Plexiglas-type strips can be illuminated with colored lights to create a light show, said president Ed Fasulo. Outside, an amphitheater between the casino and the river offers seating for 1,200 and will host Motown band Rare Earth for a grand-opening concert and fireworks.
The casino gives a nod to the region. Its high-roller Club 446 takes its name from the number of bridges in Allegheny County. Its Andrew's Steak and Seafood honors famous Pittsburghers Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Mellon and Andy Warhol.
The casino boasts the first virtual roulette game in Pennsylvania, along with the state's only us$ 500 slot machine, Fasulo said. About 1,200 slots are one- and two-penny machines. The business eventually could have 5,000 slot machines or add table games if the state allows it, Fasulo said.
The restaurants, with seating for 1,100 diners, will offer pizza, hoagies and wings as well as European-style bistro fare and an upscale menu at Andrew's. The all-you-can-eat Grand View Buffet overlooking the river will be priced at about us$ 15 for lunch and us$ 25 for dinner and will offer barbecue, Asian, Mongolian, American and Italian fare.
The sports bar is expected to open this fall. Officials hope to open the ballroom next year and eventually open a night club. Carlin said officials decided to open on a Sunday because fewer people most likely will attend the event. "We want to make sure everyone has a good customer experience," Carlin said. "We want to sort of ease into the opening."
The Gaming Control Board has been testing machines and checking surveillance and other systems since early July, said Paul Resch, director of gaming operations. "We're pleased with what we see," he said.
The casino underwent an ownership change in November when the gaming board transferred the license to Holdings Acquisition after original license holder Don Barden was unable to get funding for the project.
It will employ 1,021 full time and about 60 part time workers. It is expected to generate between us$ 360 million to us$ 425 million in revenue annually once fully up and running, said gaming spokesman Doug Harbach. With 5,000 slots, revenues could top us$ 500 million. 45 % of the revenue will stay with the casino, minus state oversight costs, 55 % goes to the state of which two-thirds is for property tax relief, Harbach said.
The casino is still negotiating with the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority over when it must begin paying us$ 7.5 million toward a new arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The SEA says the money is due October 1; casino officials say that's too soon. Carlin said he hopes to reach an agreement soon.
Yogonet.com / Philly.com