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.
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.
The premises do not provide overnight stay hotels. Hence, people must look out for nearby / closest hotels in Grantville (2-3 miles away)–
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).
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.
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.
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 –
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 –
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.
Since Hollywood Casino is a full-service casino, there are many table games which players are looking forward to. These include -
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.
Undoubtedly, Blackjack is one of the favorite table games at Hollywood Casino. Here is why –
Important rules of the game are as follows -
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 -
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.
A small room for poker with 16 tables in Hollywood Casino offers the following cash games –
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 –
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.
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 –
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:
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 -
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 -
Icon level players are also rewarded with:
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 –