Nightlife: Try Your Hand at Nemacolin's Lady Luck Casino

The acclaimed resort opened its casino in July and schedules a range of events, including live concerts.

Photo courtesy Nemacolin Woodlands Resort


The first thing you’ll notice at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort’s Lady Luck Casino is that it doesn’t look quite like a casino. Sure, there are the blinking lights of 600 slot machines and the white noise of groups playing around 28 tables of craps, roulette and blackjack. There’s the waft of cigarette smoke (in designated areas, of course) and the vague wave of vertigo from the ubiquitous geometric carpet.

But if you look up, you’ll see a maze of large clay-gray pipes, black iron beams and a wood-covered ceiling. Columns guard the doorways. Once you notice these details, it becomes easier to look past the machines’ lights and the carpet’s shapes to spot comforting earth tones.

“We took a lot of the architecture from [Nemacolin’s luxury hotel] Falling Rock, which was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright,” says Michael Giunti, the casino’s director of marketing and food and beverage.

Those familiar with Nemacolin, a lavish haven located about 40 miles from downtown Pittsburgh in Fayette County, should disregard “the stigma of the resort,” as Giunti puts it. While its five-star hotels, AAA Five-Diamond restaurants and plush amenities make Nemacolin famous, its 24-hour casino operation is more laid-back. For one thing, it doesn’t have a dress code. But Nemacolin and Lady Luck subscribe to the same philosophies of customer service by employing individuals who remain genuinely kind.

With access to the resort’s 2,000 acres and many activities, the casino “brings a lot of fun for our guests and vice versa,” says Giunti. Prospective visitors should keep Lady Luck’s entry policies in mind. The casino’s license classifies it as a resort amenity that must charge an access fee. That means there are some hoops to jump through if you wish to visit Lady Luck without taking a trip to Nemacolin:

How to get in:
» Be a registered overnight guest at the resort; all visitors must be at least 21 years old.
» Spend a minimum of $10 at Nemacolin’s restaurants, golf courses, spas and other establishments; save your receipt.
» Purchase a $10 gift card from the casino itself or in the lobby of the Chateau Lafayette on the resort grounds.
» Get a $45 annual Nemacolin Experience membership.

Buying a gift card is likely the easiest option because you can use it at Otis and Henry’s, the casino’s restaurant.

One possible outcome of the mandatory access fee is that business, though good, has been slower than expected; as a result, the casino laid off employees this fall. Its owners hope that as more people experience Lady Luck, they won’t see the fee as a hurdle.

The Nemacolin casino, which opened in July, is the newest of 16 locations in seven states owned and operated by Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. It debuted with daily live performances but  now offers evening entertainment Thursday through Saturday. Because Lady Luck is in its rookie season, it’s still experimenting with entertainment, food and the like. The bar hosts local bands, mostly of the country and classic-rock vintages.

In a corner of the casino is a high-end room with free cigars and privacy for those wishing to play table games with higher stakes. When gamblers aren’t making bets, the space is used for weekday classes because, as Giunti says, “[the games] can be intimidating.”

[4067 National Pike, Farmington; 888/LADY-LUCK,]

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