For the past couple years we've all been hearing about the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem opening in Lehigh Valley. Well, on Monday I was among those invited to attend their first of two test-run openings. I felt like I scored a golden ticket to see Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory!

I'm not one to frequent Atlantic City's casinos and only went to Vegas once. Until the other day, playing slot machines brought to mind crowded aisles, rolls of quarters, dizzying carpet patterns and dirty hands from handling coins. Not any more - "My Sands" is different!

The artist renderings and newspaper pictures cannot possibly convey the sophisticated vibe that hits you the second you open the door to the Sands Casino. I felt giddy just walking around exploring the various restaurants and lounges, and I can't wait to bring friends and family to see their first reactions.

After joining the "My Sands" player's club, I hit the floor and found lots of penny, two cent and nickel machines to play (I'm cheap). For this preview event, the casino donated what would have been their profit to 15 local non-profit organizations so I didn't feel bad that others were having better luck than me. I watched one lady carry a stack of vouchers to the redemption station ... much more convenient than carrying a heavy bucket of coins!

The sense of greatness once inspired by Bethlehem Steel has found a new home in the Sands Casino. I had a wonderful time on my first visit and with a $.05 credit on my account I'll be sure to return soon. 

Will you be attending the grand opening of Lehigh Valley's brand new Sands Casino on Friday?