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Coming Soon: AllentownTripping.com

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 15th November 2005 2:51pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 0


The promise of legalized gambling has spurred something of a gold rush in the Lehigh Valley, as the owner of the Tropicana casinos becomes the latest industry heavyweight to express an interest in building a slots parlor in the area.

Aztar Corp. announced Tuesday that it will apply for a license to install as many as 5,000 slot machines in Allentown on land owned by semiconductor maker Agere Systems, part of a $325 million entertainment complex dubbed the Lehigh Valley Tropicana.

Aztar's proposal, rumored for months, will compete with at least two other proposals for slots parlors in the Lehigh Valley, including one at the former Bethlehem Steel plant.

The Havana, Cuba-themed Tropicana resort would include a 250-room hotel, 100,000 square feet of casino space, an entertainment venue, a conference center and restaurants. Aztar predicted that it would draw 3.5 million visitors annually and create more than 1,300 jobs.

"We want to develop a destination entertainment facility, not just a slots parlor," Robert M. Haddock, Aztar's chairman, president and chief executive, told a news conference at Agere. Aztar owns Tropicana resorts in Atlantic City, N.J., and Las Vegas as well as three other casinos in the United States.

The state Legislature has authorized slots licenses at seven horse racing tracks, two resorts and five standalone slots parlors, including two in Philadelphia and one in Pittsburgh. The Lehigh Valley is vying for one of the other two standalone licenses.

Because of its proximity to Philadelphia and New York, the region has drawn interest from a number of casino giants. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns one of the world's largest casinos, Foxwoods in Connecticut; and Las Vegas Sands Inc., owner of the Venetian casino in Las Vegas, each have expressed interest in slots parlors in the Bethlehem area.

[ The big question is... will they hire Billy Joel to sing that stupid song at the grand opening - Ed ]



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