Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin Parts Ways with Churchill Downs

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In a bold move to revitalize falling revenues, Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin, Pennsylvania, is planning an array of changes.

Not least of those is the ending of its four-year partnership with Kentucky-based operator Churchill Downs, Inc.

The Lady Luck resort casino is situated in the luxury resort of Nemacolin in Western Pennsylvania. It has now chosen to self-manage the venue, marking a significant shift in its operational strategy.

As well as the change in management, the casino will be commencing a full upgrade of its exterior and expanding the gaming floor.

It revealed the ending of its contract with Churchill Downs and some of its future plans for the casino during a PA Gaming Control Board meeting last week.

The end result of the meeting was a five-year license renewal for the Lady Luck Casino, which opened in 2013.

Related: The best online casinos in Pennsylvania, rated and reviewed

Operational Assets

Maggie Hardy, the owner of the resort, has now decided to take matters into her own hands after a period of dissatisfaction with the casino’s performance under Churchill Downs.

Woodlands Fayette, LLC, Hardy’s company, will now take over complete operation of the venue.

Churchill Downs, Inc., has sold its operational assets to Woodlands for an undisclosed sum.

The casino’s workforce of 167 people has been retained by Woodlands. To assist with the transition, the resort has hired RRC Gaming Management, a Las Vegas-based casino consultant.

Churchill Downs partnered with Nemacolin in 2019 after previously working with Eldorado Resorts (now Caesars Entertainment). Eldorado bought out the Lucky Lady’s original gaming partner, Isle of Capri Casinos, in 2017.

As well as replacing the gaming operator, Woodlands has also hired a new general manager for the casino, John Gibboni. He has previously worked with Penn National Gaming on their Hollywood Casino brand, most recently as VP of finance at Hollywood Casino Toledo in Ohio, and before that, Hollywood Perryville.

Aiming for a Turnaround

Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin has been profitable since its opening in July 2013. It has generated $289 million from its slot machines and table games between then and the publishing of the most recent Pennsylvania casino revenue figures from May.

That equated to $140 million for the state in taxes over the decade.

However, the venue has not done so well in recent years. It reached a peak of $35.2 million in gross gaming revenue in 2015, before dropping below that every year since. In 2022, it took in $22.2 million – a 36.9% fall from seven years prior.

To put that in context, the top-performing Pennsylvania casino in May 2023 was Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. It earned $74.356 million in revenues, which was 18.3% better than May 2022.

Lucky Lady Nemacolin, however, earned just $1.69 million that month, which was also down 18% year-on-year.

The new management has ambitious plans to reverse this trend.

They have proposed a series of improvements to the casino property, including the creation of a new high-roller area, a reconfiguration of the gaming floor layout, and an upgrade to the casino’s entrance. The goal is to create an exclusive experience that aligns with the resort’s luxury offerings.

The Lady Luck Casino currently features 600 slot machines and 26 table games. It employs 167 people. With the new management and planned improvements, the casino aims to enhance its appeal to guests and increase its profitability.

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