One of the most historic weeks in the history of legal gambling in this region kicks off Tuesday night as Valley Forge Casino Resort is scheduled to host the first of its two play-money casino tests.  Barring unforeseen developments, by this time next week both Valley Forge, located at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, and the $2.4 billion Revel in Atlantic City, which stages its casino test Wednesday evening, will both be open for business.

Earlier Tuesday, Valley Forge President and CEO, Saverio "Sal" Scheri III led a media tour of the $165 million casino, the state's 11th gambling den and the first to hold a "resort" license, which keeps it to a maximum 600 slot machines and 50 gaming tables.

Because of its designation, admission to the casino--which is scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. Saturday--is limited to those who are registered at either of the Convention Center's hotels, spend at least $10 at any of the complex's retail or dining outlets or purchase either three-month or annual memberships.

"We expect to attract…both local [residents] and those coming from a distance," said Scheri. He added the best-case scenario would be an even split between commuter and overnight business.

Gamblers will be greeted by a compact casino floor roughly the shape of a semi-circle. It's brightly lit and decorated with an emphasis on primary colors. Among the main floor's features are a three-station (American, Italian and Chinese) food court, a bar and a high-limit enclave boasting its own bar and restrooms.

Located a floor below is a new disco, Seven The Nightclub. Late April is expected to see the debut of two high-end restaurants, Pacific Prime, a steak house and Viviano, an Italian eatery. Already open in the Raddison Hotel are Nosh Deli and Valley Tavern.

While offered by all Atlantic City casinos, free drinks for gamblers are not provided in all Pennsylvania betting parlors. However, booze will be available gratis at Valley Forge. "If you're playin'," proudly announced Scheri, "you're drinkin' for free."

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