The May 22, 2009, opening of the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA, on the site formerly occupied by the Bethlehem Steel Company. The news of the opening of new casino bought a charm to the area, which was otherwise the miserable area along the Lehigh River in the region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Currently, there are 12 land-based casinos operating in Pennsylvania. Sand Casino Resort is one of them. It has immense local players as well as visitors from neighboring regions. Talking about the location of the casino, it is situated 82 miles away from New York, near about 50 miles from the city of Philadelphia, merely 10 miles from The Wildwater Kingdom and Dorney Park and 6.7 miles from Lehigh Valley International Airport.
Rooms and suites
Visitors, who wish to tour the casino for more than a day, can choose 4 Diamond hotel as the stay option. It is placed on the same property. In totality, it has 302 number of rooms and suites, with a size of 400 square-foot Deluxe King Room. The Executive Suite and the Presidential Suite are also available for those looking for more space. Where the Executive Suite is about 800 square feet in size, the Presidential Suite is approximately 1,200 square feet in size. The facilities provided by all rooms and suites are mentioned below:
Free continental breakfast
42-inch flat screen LCD HD Television
In-room remote checkout
Single-cup coffee maker
Media hub and free wireless high-speed Internet
The suites also take into account the following:
Separate living room and dining area
Queen-size sofa sleeper
Separate powder room
With two refrigerators, two 4-inch flat screen TVs, an elective next-door Deluxe King room as well as dining amenities for up to eight number of guests, the Presidential Suite provides a deluxe array of facilities.
The booking of the room can be done online or via phone. You have to request for the accessible rooms. Moreover, each hotel room and suite is non-smoking, distinct from casinos.
The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem provide its guests with an array of other facilities, in addition to the hotel and the casino, that too without departure from the property. The amenities appear in the form of entertainment, restaurants, salon, spa and shopping and numerous other options. Above all, the special features of Kids Quest and Cyber Quest make this place ideal for families with kids. Those hoping for the pool at the site will be disappointed.
The website contains various special packages in the context of savings. The guests can save a little over the cost only if each part is separately paid. With the availability of room for two guests for one night together with the given below surplus, the package is truly effective for the purpose of savings:
Outlets at Sands Bethlehem package
Sunday to Thursday $186 per night, Friday $239 per night
$50 gift card for the Outlets of Sands Bethlehem
$10 free slot play/person
$10 voucher for purchase at Tommy Hilfiger
Steelworks Buffet & grill package
Sunday to Thursday $169 per night
Lunch or dinner buffet for two individuals
$10 free slot play/person
Stay & game Package
Sunday to Thursday $158 per night, Friday $199 per night
$10 free slot play/person
Stay, game & dine package
Apart from the food vouchers of $50 or $100, the rest is same as stated above. The cost associated with these vouchers along with the day when they are available are:
$50 food voucher for $194 Sunday to Thursday, $234 on Friday
$100 food voucher for $224 Sunday to Thursday, $274 on Friday.
There is also the availability of golf packages, featuring a day out to a Lehigh Valley golf course.
Outlets at Sands Bethlehem
Often we undergo that the different Pennsylvania casinos are alike in game offerings. One of the distinctive features of Sands Casino Resort that makes it dissimilar from other casinos is the Outlets at Sands Bethlehem. Where the minimum age at the casinos is 21 years, the guests of all ages can enjoy hullabaloo of activity at the close by family mall placed steps away.
The stores that you can find at the mall are:
Bass Pro Shops
Right from clothing, shoes, and accessories to housewares, specialty gifts and jewelry on the left, you can shop a lot of things, that too from a sole place. It remains open from Sunday to Thursday, the timings being 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and for Friday and Saturday, the timings are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem boast restaurants, which include right from fast food places and buffet to upscale restaurants like Emeril’s Chop House and Emeril’s Fish House and full-service casual restaurants like Carnegie Deli and Burgers and More on the left. The latest trend at a lot of casinos is reflected by the attendance of the top celebrity chefs, Emeril Lagasse and “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro.
If you’re in search of world-class entertainment, this is definitely not the place to be. Undoubtedly, the same is offered in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Nevertheless, you can take pleasure in concerts, comedy shows and lounge acts presented at the place.
Cyber Quest and Kids Quest
Multiple casino resorts round about the country offers Cyber Quest as well as Kids Quest. Cyber Quest is a family-friendly mall. With an ample array of games, it lets children of all ages to be entertained. Kids can win great prizes like iPads, plush toys, and more. An adult must escort children under the age of 12. The player need not carry cash; cards can be obtained beforehand, which can be used to swipe at the selected games. Furthermore, guests are provided with the opportunity to participate in special Cyber Quest competitions every Saturday night, whereby each hour the top three scorers win prizes.
Cyber Quest offers youngsters safe and clean entertainment.
Consequently, exposure of children to inappropriate content and violent games is not something to worry upon by the parents.
Conversely, if you are in the casino, shopping, or doing something else, Kids Quest assures the safety of your kids. The vigilant professionally skilled personnel play a key role in maintaining security, thereby ensuring kids roam around happily. Children aged 6 weeks to 12 years can participate in this supervised childcare and entertainment program. It accepts children throughout the year. The grouping of your kids will be with the same age bracket children. The grown-up children have the option to select from the following activities:
Arts and crafts
The tiny tot space is inclusive of age-appropriate toys for newborn and kid.
The rates charged by Kids Quest are reasonable. It charges for its services by the hour. Visitors opting for kid-friendly meals and snacks at the Quest Cafe, have to pay an additional fee. The parents can bring their kids to the Kids Quest at a time between 10 a.m. and 12 a.m. on weekdays. This will provide an opportunity to the parents to be with their kids for “Playtime” before they leave them in the center of care.
Who can play in the casino?
The Sands Casino alike all other Pennsylvania casinos allow only guests aged 21 years and more. There is a strict enforcement of this rule. Children are not permitted at the Sands Casino.
Security and fairness
The casino must strictly adhere to the regulations concerning rules, payouts and permissible games set by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). PGCB licenses and regulates all Pennsylvania land-based casinos, including the Sands Casino.
It is the only PGCB, which gives authorization to Pennsylvania casinos about the addition of a new game on a new twist on an existing game. Hence, there is an assurance to the players that all the games on the floor will be as per the PGCB standards and fair.
The Sands Casino located in Bethlehem, PA remains open 24/7. It is quite a large casino. It accommodates near about 3,000 slot machines, approximately 200 table games and a separate 30-table poker room. When we talk about the game with the biggest options, slots strike our mind. The summary of what this casino offers its slot players are given hereunder:
The variety of slot games offered at the Sands Casino is the most remarkable attribute of these games. The slot players consist of a varied group of individuals, hence, the casino provides you with enough of the alternatives in order to aid you in finding the type of games that are best suited to your own personal flavor and finance. By doing so, it is clear that it doesn’t assume that the same slots fit all.
The range of denominations is one cent to $100. That means, right from the penny players to high rollers in the left, this casino offers apposite games for all. All of the slot machines come equipped with bill acceptors.
The slots at the Sands Casino have many unique themes when it comes to playing your familiar favorites. If you want to explore something new, just look for the slots at the casino. Those desiring for more of action and excitement, you can come across manifold coin machines with lots of pay lines and interactive bonus screens. All of them offer extra chances to win. Some of the newer slot games you can try at the Sands Casino include:
Wheel of Fortune Triple Spin Extreme
Payouts could be better
Players at the Sands Casino generally complain about the slots, being too tight. The average return to the player (RTP) is only 89-90 percent, making these complaints reasonable. Those who indulge in playing too long and are careless will face shrinking in their bank balance.
As per the article of Post Gazette in 2014, if we see back in the year 2008, the slot machines offered more than 91 percent rate. This was the scenario before the availability of better paying table games in Pennsylvania casinos. Now the situation has changed, with many players switching to table games, that too with the quite high tax rate of 55 percent on Pennsylvania slots. This has resulted in lower rate of return on slot games. According to the Pennsylvania regulations, there is a requirement of only 85 percent slot payouts. And, if we look at the Sands and other casinos, they offer average payouts of 89 to 90 percent on their slots, which is in compliance.
The recurrent, small payouts initially give a number of players a false impression that they are on the winning side, but in the end, they get the feeling of abridged payment. This leads to their absenteeism from the slots at the Sands Casino. Don’t forget to note that the $10 free slot play is included in all the room packages deals mentioned in this review. Though it looks like it is free of cost, the truth is it is built into the cost. Additionally, the casino is aware that more than 50 percent of the players will carry on the play and lose their own currency, subsequent to losing their original $10.
The Sands Casino offers not just slots but also a wide range of other games. The following is the inclusive list of games:
Caribbean stud poker
Mini and midi baccarat
Criss Cross Poker (alike hold ‘em but with the community cards dealt in the shape of a cross and supplementary betting options)
Let It Ride
Texas Hold ‘Em Bonus Poker
Three cards progressive poker
If your choice of option is roulette, make sure you play the European version with just a single zero on the wheel. Don’t fall for the American version of the game with includes both single and double zero.
Where the European Roulette has a house edge of merely 2.71 percent, the American Roulette has a considerably higher house edge of 5.2 percent.
The game offering the best rules for the player is Blackjack. Hence, the need to discuss the game in detail. A special version of blackjack offered at the Sands Casino is called Switch Hands Blackjack. In addition, we shall also include Live Dealer Stadium Games, particularly designed for lower stakes players and the separate poker room as part of our discussion.
Blackjack is played worldwide. But some of the rules vary from casino to casino. The differences in the rules can result in making the game either more or less favorable to the blackjack player. Blackjack is known for best rules for the player. The uniform rules for licensed casinos in the state of Pennsylvania are given below:
Blackjack pays 3:2
Six decks, machine shuffled
Dealer stands on soft 17
Doubling down after splits
Doubling down permitted on any 2 cards
Splits up to three hands with the exception of aces
The game of blackjack is equally luck and skill oriented. Also, knowledge and exercise of right basic strategy are crucial. Under those conditions, the house edge for this game is only about .4 percent.
Side bets are also offered, which are given under. Limit their usage to occasional small bets. The reason quoted, they have a higher house edge compared to the standard blackjack bets.
21 + 3 XTREME
You can win 5 to 30x your bet by making this optional bet. Your two cards and the dealer’s upcard create certain types of 3 card poker hands, and you’re done with your assured win.
Free bet blackjack
If you select this option, then double downs and splits (including doubling down after splits and resplits) are free of cost. But, you can only double down on 9, 10 and 11. Additionally, if the dealer busts with precisely 22, blackjack is the only hand that will beat it. If not, your own live bets thrust rather than succeeding. The exception is in case you made a Push 22 side bet.
Side bets that your first two cards would have a sum of 20. A player hand of two Kings of Spades vs. a dealer blackjack pays the jackpot.
The players whose first two cards are either straight flush, AK suited, a straight, or pair, win the side bet. They can either add their winning amount to the original bet or collect them. In short, you can play the hand to a certain extent with the money of the house.
The players of Blackjack in quest of low stakes table may face an issue at this casino. The lowest minimums at any time are $10 and only on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, while there are some $15 tables, they fill up quickly.
Live dealer stadium games
Players who are in the search for a smaller bet can try this separate space designed with stadium-style seating. It offers low-limit, live dealer electronic baccarat, and roulette betting workstation. Currently, blackjack is not a part of the offering of the terminals, but it looks it would form part of them in near future.
Prior to selection of table(s), the players place in either ready money or a ticket into a machine. Thereafter, they place their bets similar to the regular table. The participant who wins, their winning amount is transferred to the terminal via automatic mode. The excitement of the game play is same as at a regular table due to the availability of live dealer. But what makes the difference is the fact that it is less daunting for those at the initial step of the ladder. Moreover, the room will have similar bets by the players taking place alongside the identical dealers, so you can expect deafening cheer when many individuals win at the same time.
Just like the other casinos, the poker room remains open 24/7. But where all casinos are smoking, it is completely non-smoking. Plasma TVs and tableside dining make the room’s ambiance pleasing. The limit games are $3 to $6 and higher, thereby not taking into consideration the players of very small stakes. It is apparently easy to beat $1 to $2 no-limit games.
My Sands Club is the loyalty rewards program offered by the Sands Casino. You can become a member of the program free of cost. The moment you join, you become eligible for special discounts, additional rewards based on play and exciting promotions. Self-parking is free together with free online access to their account. Free bonus benefit can also be availed by the cardholders at the time of slot machines play. Further, in the case of any queries in connection with the program, you can visit the My Sands Casino Center on the casino floor. The center remains open every day from 9 a.m.-2 a.m.
Based on a play, comp dollars receive the award. Their usage is not only restricted to shops or hotels, but entertainment, restaurants, services, valet parking as well as Kids Quest and Cyber Quest fall under their long list. Though, the website is tight-lipped as to the amount of play required to get a given number of comp dollars, the remark by the players is that the casino is tighter with its comps than they were looking forward to.
People who are looking for a visit to a place, which is family-friendly, as well as there is no restriction as to the particular period of the year to visit, Sands Casino is the place to be. In the past, many guests have registered complaints in respect to the superseding smell of smoke in the casino as well as hotel vestibule. No doubt, the casino provides separate areas for smoking and non-smoking, but the rise in complaints by guests makes it clear that there is no strict enforcement of the same. Obviously, the demand of the situation is a permanent solution to it.
The players sense slots’ being too tight. In addition, they expect the comps system to be more kind. Besides, there is no clarity as to whether high rollers are given special VIP benefits or not.
The offerings of the resort include great features. These are:
Great blackjack games
Cyber Quest and Kids Quest