Hollywood Casino Online PA

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Hollywood Casino Online PA Summary

A racino located in central Pennsylvania near Harrisburg, Hershey and Lancaster, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is a full-service casino offering 24/7 facility. The only one of a kind in central Pennsylvania, it features a small poker room and a thoroughbred horse racing track apart from a casino. Racing enthusiasts can bet on and watch races from many tracks around the country and in Australia.

This is one of the six licensed racinos in Pennsylvania and its most prominent feature includes betting on both live and simulcast races. Penn National Race Course started operations on August 30, 1972 and unlike other racetracks, it is open year-round. Another prominent feature is that here races take place in the evenings rather than in the daytime.

Four years after casino slots gambling became legal in Pennsylvania, came Hollywood Casino in February 2008. Table games commenced in July 2010 post its legalization in Pennsylvania.

Presently, this racino is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and operated by Penn National Gaming.    

RESORT OVERVIEW

DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT

A wide range of restaurants await visitors to Hollywood and Penn National race course. Final Cut Stake is one of the fine dining places that is open Wednesday – Sunday. Epic Buffet is yet another popular choice featuring American, Italian and Asian cuisine. In addition, it also features a carving station, fresh veggies and decadent desserts. Prices are subject to change as per the hour of the day to the day of the week. For instance, $14 from Wednesday to Thursday while $32 for Friday’ dinner buffets.

Skybox Sports Bar is a unique experience with premium beverages and food items available for you to enjoy your favorite game. 50 LCD monitors have been installed in the bar. For race day events, people who like to watch the track closely have a choice of eateries amongst - the Mountain View Dining and Terrace Lounge for trackside dining or the Home Stretch Pub & Deli or Paddock Grill adjacent to the track.

Apart from these, dining options also include eateries like Glitterati’ Pizza, Celebrity Grill and Main Event (for simulcast racing in Simulcast Theatre).

On the contrary, Hollywood Casino, as compared to other casinos in Pennsylvania, offers very little in the name of entertainment. Just Fridays and Saturdays, H Lounge offers free live performances by top regional bands. This said it is not a place to let loose and party. 

 

HOTELS

The premises do not provide overnight stay hotels. Hence, people must look out for nearby / closest hotels in Grantville (2-3 miles away)–

  • Holiday Inn
  • Comfort Suites
  • Hampton Inn
  • MainStay Suites
  • Days Inn

 

Other than the ones listed above, you can stay in Harrisburg (approx. 4 miles) or Hershey (approx. 7 miles). A perfect outing to Hollywood Casino, for visitors, is to stay at Hotel Hershey, which is a full-service luxury hotel (rated ‘Excellent’ in TripAdvisor).

 

CASINO OVERVIEW

WHO CAN PLAY IN THE CASINO?

The legal age to gamble is set at 21 for all licensed casinos by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Minimum age to wager on horse races is only 18 in Pennsylvania. Hence, young people if accompanied by adults can at least enter the racing areas.

SECURITY AND FAIRNESS

Presently, all brick and mortar casinos in Pennsylvania, including Hollywood Casino, are licensed and regulated by PGCB. The agency has high standards for security and fair play at all these casinos.

Furthermore, taking into consideration that the racetrack at Hollywood Casino is doing business for over four decades now and people have always appreciated this place (online appreciation), makes this place more trustworthy than the lot.

CASINO GAMES

Hollywood Casino is the perfect place for first timers to gamble in Penn National. You can find all types of gamblers, with all levels of action at slot machines, video poker and live and simulcast racing too. Fun is inevitable at Hollywood Casino and Penn National Racecourse.

 

 

SLOTS

If you’re in for slot playing, then you have reached the right place at Hollywood Casino. A total of 2,450 slots and video poker machines, the description includes everything from classic reel slots to the hottest new video slots. Denominations range from one cent to $100.

Some featured slots at Hollywood Casino includes –

  • Big Bang Bucks
  • Cash Explosion
  • Cash Spin
  • Hot Hot Super Jackpot
  • Kitty Glitter
  • Lobstermania
  • Sabertooth
  • Sex and the City
  • Sphinx 3D
  • Titanic

 

There are different rooms or areas in different casinos. For instance, some offer separate high limit room for high-end slot players (not offered in Hollywood Casino). Also, there are areas specifically allocated for smoking and non-smoking visitors. Though a mixed feedback is received when asked about the air quality in non-smoking areas.

 

SLOT RETURNS ARE LOW

More than hygiene, players at Hollywood Casino are more concerned about the rate of return on the machines. It’s a majority consensus as to this opinion for slots at Pennsylvania casinos – slots are too tight. The average return to the player (RTP) is only 88-90 percent, hence, players are liable to feel that way.

Reasons for this situation is due to –

  • Regulations under PGCB allow for at least 85 percent return on slots and casinos are assessed a tax rate of 55 percent on slots. This equation makes it tougher for casinos in Pennsylvania to provide a better return than other casinos.
  • Many players have turned to table games like blackjack, where house edge is lower. Hence, slot games offer high edge to preserve casino’s bottom line.

If you are going to play slots at Hollywood Casino, if you can afford to play a higher denomination than penny slots, you should do so since the RTP is higher. But win or lose, keep your sessions short. If you’re winning, make sure you walk away from a winner before all your winnings and more wind up back into the machine.

TABLE GAMES

Since Hollywood Casino is a full-service casino, there are many table games which players are looking forward to. These include -

  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Craps
  • Mini-baccarat
  • Spanish 21
  • Ultimate Texas Hold’ Em
  • Three card poker
  • Four card poker
  • Pai gow poker
  • Fortune pai gow poker (with an optional bonus game)
  • Let It Ride
  • Big Six Wheel

Between European roulette and American roulette, players should prefer and limit themselves to the former. The house edge offered with only a single zero on the wheel, is 2.70 percent for European roulette, whereas, American roulette offers 5.26 percent, with both a single zero and a double zero on the wheel. The Big Six wheel, the highest house edge game in the casino, is best avoided altogether.

BLACKJACK

Undoubtedly, Blackjack is one of the favorite table games at Hollywood Casino. Here is why –

  • Offers one of the best odds in the house
  • It becomes equally a skill game as opposed to being a total luck game
  • Many rule variations are possible which favor the player as well as the house
  • Rules set by PGCB, hence, fair play is assured.
  • House edge of only about 0.40 percent (one of the best in the country)

Important rules of the game are as follows -

  • Blackjack pays 3:2
  • Dealer stands on soft 17
  • Doubling down permitted on any two cards
  • Doubling down after splits
  • Splits up to three hands (except aces)
  • Late surrender (the dealer does not have a blackjack, players who don’t like their hand can surrender it prior to playing it out and give up half their bet.)

LUCKY LADIES SIDE BET

Lucky Ladies is an optional side bet, at the start of each game at Hollywood Casino. The minimum bet is $1 and is in addition to regular bets (hit, stand, double, split and surrender). You win in this additional bet if the first 2 cards add up to 20. There can be higher payouts on certain combinations of 20 - 

  • Any 20 vs. any dealer upcard: 4 to 1
  • Suited 20 vs. any dealer upcard: 10 to 1
  • Matched 20 (two identical cards): 25 to 1
  • Two queens of hearts vs. any dealer upcard 100 to 1
  • Two queens of hearts vs. a dealer blackjack 1,000 to 1

Since the house edge on this bet is higher than regular ones, this should not be placed regularly rather should be played as a fun bet for $1.

Majority complaints are in concern with a lack of low bet minimum tables. With no $5 minimum tables and $15 being the usual blackjack table (rather than $10). Many players feel that the casinos could be a tad generous.

POKER

A small room for poker with 16 tables in Hollywood Casino offers the following cash games –

  • Limit and no-limit hold ’em
  • Omaha and Omaha hi-lo
  • Stud and Stud hi-lo

There are no regular scheduled tournaments as such but poker rooms offer a Bad Beat Jackpot on all hold’em cash games. This happens when quad tens or better is beaten by a higher four-of-a-kind or Royal Flush / Straight Flush. A few conditions must be considered too –

  • Both players must use both hole cards to make the hand.
  • There must be at least $20 in the pot.
  • A minimum of four players must be dealt in the hand.

 

If all the above conditions are met, 50% goes to the losing player, while 25% to the player with the best hand. The remaining is shared equally with other active players at the table.

 

RACING

One of the only tracks in the country, Penn National Race Course, offers live thoroughbred racing on a year-round basis. Racing event nights are majorly held from Thursday-Saturday and most Wednesdays post 6 p.m. There is an afternoon event on Mother’s Day too. Few of the prestigious race events are –

  • The Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup
  • Preakness Stakes
  • Belmont Stakes
  • Breeder’s Cup

 

MARQUEE REWARDS PROGRAM

Marquee Rewards are player rewards at Hollywood Casino. You can sign up at the service desk and avail your marquee card. This card allows you to earn rewards at all slots and table games throughout the country casinos (like Tropicana in Las Vegas), and not just restricted to Hollywood Casino only. You can also use your earned comps at any participating casino. 

MARQUEE REWARDS TIER LEVELS

In addition to comp points and other special offers and promotions, Marquee Rewards cardholders may be eligible for:

  • Sweepstakes entries
  • Free slot play
  • Discounts on dining and hotel accommodations
  • Invitations to special events based on their level of play

The Marquee Rewards program consists of five tiers. Status is determined by the number of tier points earned during the first six months or last six months of the year. Here are the number of points required to qualify for each tier:

The rewards include five tiers. The status is determined by the points you earned in the first six or last six months of the year. Here is how you move up the tiers -

  • Marquee Rewards: 0-9,999
  • Celebrity: 10,000-29,999
  • Producer: 30,000-124,999
  • Executive Producer: 125-399,999
  • Icon: 400,000+

There are many comps and special offers for players as well as free slots and promotions. Moreover, celebrity visitors can take advantage of discounted rates on Norwegian Cruise Line while players at the producer level and above receive preferred treatment at select restaurants and player services.

Certain benefits received by Executive producers and Icons are -

  • Personal host
  • Preferred parking and complimentary valet parking
  • VIP lounge access for player and guest
  • Two complimentary Norwegian Cruise Line cruises of up to seven days each, annually
  • Annual renewal gift

Icon level players are also rewarded with:

  • An annual celebration dinner
  • Annual $500 airfare reimbursement towards a cruise or casino trip
  • Complimentary annual three-night trip to any Marquee Rewards Casino, along with a $250 dining credit

 

SUMMARY

All said and reviewed, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is a recommended place for those who favor slots, blackjack, horse racing among different forms of gambling. For visitors on weekdays, it is a pleasant affair. For weekend visitors, the experience might turn a bit sour with long queues, higher table minimums, and many other non-favored conditions.

Although, the casino has received positive reviews majorly, on TripAdvisor and Yelp. Standout features as told by visitors include good hygiene and brightly lit casino with excellent food and a friendly staff.

Yet, certain areas to improve upon are –

  • Table games with lower minimums
  • Faster beverage service
  • Better comps
  • Looser slots
  • Less smoke smell
  • Better nightlife options

 

 

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