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A guide to some of the best casinos in the Keystone State

By Karrie L. Zukowski

 

The past year has been a rough road for casinos and gamblers alike. With the spread of COVID-19, casinos everywhere shuttered their doors in an effort to slow the rising threat. But things are starting to change. Restrictions have been eased, vaccines are rolling out and the public is finally being given the chance to venture back out to gatherings, restaurants, and, of course, casinos.

Since legalization of gaming in 2006, Pennsylvania has become one of the nation’s biggest, busiest, most successful casino states. There are more than a dozen gambling properties across the state— some giants with up to 5,000 slots gracing the floor.

Pennsylvania’s casinos are major attractions in their own right, set in areas that already gave visitors plenty of reasons to come. Take, for example, newcomer Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, which opened in February within the Stadium District of South Philly. This state-of-the-art facility, developed by the Cordish Companies, transformed the area into an integrated sports, entertainment and casino-resort destination and is the only place in the country where you can experience big-league action from four major professional sports teams, best-in-class dining and entertainment, world-class gaming and luxury hotel accommodations.

For fans who love a little pony action, Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre combines a casino with a racetrack long known as Pocono Downs, but now called Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs, and offers live harness racing through November. There are more than a dozen dining options, shopping, a luxury hotel with 218 rooms and 20 suites and a spa, which makes it a perfect destination to visit in the near future.

And although things have been a bit more depressed than usual due to the Coronavirus, the state’s casinos are rebounding and drawing in players thanks to their strict adherence to safety measures. So, if you’re planning on visiting a Pennsylvania casino sometime in the near future, here’s a sample of some of the top properties in the state.

Parx Casino, Bensalem

Parx Casino is owned and operated by Greenwood Racing Inc. and offers state-of-the-art gaming, thoroughbred racing, live entertainment, thrilling promotions and exciting events. Both the 260,000- square-foot Parx Casino and the 280,000-square-foot Parx East (adjacent property— home to Parx Racing) are conveniently located 20 minutes north of Center City Philadelphia.

With over 150,000 square feet of gaming, Parx Casino offers 3,330 of the hottest slots, including Wonka, Wheel of Fortune, Lightning Link and over 60 electronic Blackjack and Roulette games. It also offers 199 world-class table games including Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Baccarat and live stadium blackjack. Be sure to visit the new Parx Poker Room, open 24 hours, featuring over 48 action-packed tables with beautifully appointed high-end finishes.

Whether you’re craving an on-the-go snack or luxurious fine dining, Parx Casino hosts an array of mouthwatering dining options, including Parxgrill, an upscale signature steakhouse featuring a unique menu of classic cuisine alongside chef-inspired seasonal specialties; Liberty Bell Gastropub, a farm-to-fork-inspired menu with a wide selection of items such as gourmet burgers and chef- inspired comfort foods made from locally sourced ingredients; Bambu Noodle House, offering innovative appetizers, dumpling dishes, impeccably prepared classic noodle soups and wonderfully executed wok favorites designed by Chef Joe Zhou; The Liberty Bell Beer Garden, serving all- American craft beers, wines, specialty cocktails and signature chef-inspired dishes and pub fare; Chickie’s & Pete’s, a Philly favorite and offering fresh seafood, Crabfries, ice-cold beer towers and PLAY² interactive gaming; and so much more. For more information, visit www.parxcasino.com.

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono

Mount Airy Casino Resort, situated on 1,056 acres, will get your heart racing with a world-class casino and then relax you like never before with luxurious amenities, including an extensive array of services at The Spa and salon.

Every minute is a thrill at Mount Airy—with over 70 table games, ranging from blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, Baccarat, a 12-table poker room and over 1,800 of the hottest slots, you have several chances to try your luck and hopefully get lucky. With the ever-changing promotions and tournaments, you can be sure to get your adrenaline pumping and your heart racing every time.

Whether you favor penny classics or prefer cutting-edge high-limit games, Mount Airy Casino has the excitement you crave. Current games include Wheel of Fortune, Jackpot Party, 88 Fortunes, Buffalo, Dancing Drums, Lightning Link and Walking Dead, to name just a few.

The dining options at Mount Airy range from bar to buffet, and cover everything in between. Sample America’s biggest and boldest flavors at Guy Fieri’s Mt. Pocono Kitchen. Taste hand-crafted pasta, local seafood and farm-fresh vegetables at Bistecca by IL MULINO. Experience Asian cuisine in a modern setting at Lucky 8 Noodle + Sushi Bar. Enjoy your favorites prepared fresh and served in ready-to-eat containers at The Market at Mount Airy. Choose from house-made soups, fresh salads, pizza, entrees and desserts. The menu will change daily but you can expect to find buffet staples such as fried chicken, spare ribs, fried shrimp, cheesecake, a pasta station and much more every day. For more information about all that Mount Airy has to offer, visit www.mountairycasino.com.

Wind Creek Bethlehem, Bethlehem

Wind Creek Bethlehem is situated on the site of the historic Bethlehem Steel plant. This one-of-a- kind casino and resort destination features hundreds of tables, plus slots, dining, shopping and more.

Every room and suite at Wind Creek is designed to provide you with a luxurious escape. The AAA Four-Diamond hotel features 282 rooms with premier bedding, personalized toiletries, FREE high-speed internet and concierge services.

Find your winning moment with over 150 table games, state-of-the-art slot machines, live dealer stadium gaming and more. The casino offers the latest, greatest and most sought-after slot machines—otherwise known as a slot players’ paradise. And whether you’re a high-roller or a novice, you’ll always have a place at the table, featuring blackjack, roulette, Baccarat, Three Card Poker and Caribbean Stud poker. The newest way to find your #WinningMoment is at Wind Creek Bethlehem’s Sportsbook, powered by Betfred Sports. It is now on-property and online!

For quick bites, signature culinary creations, and celebrity chefs, Wind Creek’s dining scene really hits the spot. Savor Chef Emeril’s creative, upscale twist on the American Steakhouse at Emeril’s Chop House, or hand-crafted burgers and shakes served with mouthwatering sides at Burgers and More by Emeril. If you are looking for fresh, delicious Asian food with classics including fried rice, dumplings, noodles and spring rolls, try Chopstick. For more traditional fare, Steelworks is serving up Reuben sandwiches, applewood-smoked bacon mac & cheese, ribs and other classics. When you can’t decide, The Market has all your favorites in one spot. Burgers, hot dogs, sushi, pizza and salads, and top it off with dessert and coffee. Visit www.windcreek.com/bethlehem for more information.

Rivers Casino Philadelphia, Philadelphia

Take Philadelphia’s best selection of casino slots for a spin at Rivers Casino Philadelphia. Enjoy huge payouts and an even bigger selection of games, from old-school classics to hot, new favorites, and penny machines to High Rollers. You can always find your perfect game.

And with choices like blackjack, craps, Spanish 21 and everything in between, it’s no wonder Rivers Casino is Philadelphia’s gaming destination of choice. Step up the action with exciting side bets or check out the Stadium Gaming.

In addition to its standard table-game offerings, Rivers features Asian-inspired electronic table games, including baccarat on the Dynasty platform. Electronic table games offer faster game play in a more personal setting. Dynasty offers multi-game choice, multi-game action and integrated customer service. And just a few steps from Rivers’ Asian gaming is Mian, an authentic quick-service Asian restaurant. As you enjoy a fun night with your favorite games, indulge in Mian’s flavorful made-to-order cuisine, including thick, rich broths; fresh dishes, including seafood, beef and chicken; and daily chef’s specials.

Rivers launched its brand-new, state-of-the-art permanent sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook. Take in the action with new club seating and place your bets with one of the ticket writers or at an Express Kiosk. Keep the game going at the SportsBook Bar with electronic poker and first-class service. The 5,700-square-foot space features a luxury viewing area with a massive HD video wall capable of showing more than a dozen games at once, comfortable seating and an electrifying game-day atmosphere. With 22 self-service betting kiosks and six betting windows, the BetRivers SportsBook offers betting on a wide array of professional sporting events including football, basketball, hockey, boxing, soccer and more.

Dig in to delicious dinner options and enjoy riverfront views—Jack s Bar + Grill features classic American fare with a unique twist. Treat yourself to an authentic Chicago dining experience at Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House. As part of its extensive menu, Hugo’s serves USDA Gibsons Prime Angus Beef as well as other favorites such as fresh fish and seafood, salads and sandwiches to decadent desserts. Don’t miss the Rivers Casino Philadelphia exclusive “Philly Cut”—a 16-ounce bone-in filet mignon, served only at Hugo’s Philadelphia location. Visit Rivers Casino Philadelphia online at www.riverscasino.com/philadelphia for more information.

Mohegan Sun Pocono, Wilkes-Barre

Mohegan Sun Pocono offers an escape of unsurpassed fun, relaxation and excitement. Located on 400 acres in Plains, Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun Pocono is within easy access of New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. There is always something to do for everyone – from the ultimate gaming experience, renowned restaurants and a variety of retailers plus a convention center with flexible meeting space for groups.

Mohegan Sun Pocono has something for everyone. For the sports fanatic, the state-of-the-art Unibet Sportsbook features a 28-foot wide, high-def video wall that is fully customizable, allowing it to be transformed into two giant TV screens or modified to accommodate up to 16 sporting events at once. The betting lounge also has six betting terminals, beverage service, two teller booths and an impressive range of betting options. When hunger strikes, guests who dine with Molly O’Sheas will enjoy the best in Irish flair, authentic Irish cuisine and one of the best beer and whiskey menus in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Known worldwide for searing the finest cuts of USDA Prime beef at 1800 degrees, Ruth’s Chris Steak House is regarded by many as the best steak house in the country! Or, visit the Tuscan villa-themed Rustic Kitchen Bistro & Bar for a unique Italian Mediterranean- influenced menu. When you’re ready to get in on the action, hit the gaming floor for the newest slots and hottest table games, including over 1,900 machines and 50 tables, or take in the excitement of a heart pounding evening at the race track.

Beginning on Thursday, April 1st, guests can play their favorite games all month long for a chance to win their share of $50,000 in Cash and Free Slot Play prizes! Additionally, the grand prize winner will walk away with $20,000 Cash!

Feeling competitive? During Mohegan Sun Pocono’s $100,000 Maximum Momentum Challenge, guests using their Momentum card while playing their favorite games will compete against other guests within the same tier to see who can earn the most Status Points. The earning period begins on Thursday, April 1st and runs through Monday, May 31st. The top 40 Status Point earners from each Status level will receive a share of $100,000 in prizes!

Live! Casino Pittsburgh, Greensburg

Live! Casino Pittsburgh is a first-class gaming and entertainment destination located in Hempfield Township, approximately 30 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. Conveniently situated directly off Route 30 at the popular Westmoreland Mall, the 100,000-square-foot facility features 750 slots and approximately 30 live-action table games; a FanDuel Sportsbook; plus, nationally recognized restaurants and live entertainment venues, including Sports & Social Steel City, a one-of-a-kind sports restaurant that offers guests the ultimate sports-fan experience.

From the minute you pull into the free parking garage at Live! Casino Pittsburgh, you can feel the electricity in the air. The lights. . .the sounds… the heart-pounding excitement of hitting another jackpot at one of its many slot machines. Play Wheel of Fortune, Double Diamond, Blazing 7s or other classic favorites. Try out the latest state-of-the-art 3-D games, including Game of Thrones and Sphinx. The lineup of games is ever-changing, but one thing that doesn’t change is the dizzying array of choices and the pulse-racing fun of Live!

More than 30 live-action table games give you more ways to play and more ways to win, with a wide variety of table limits that offer heartpounding excitement at every level. And with 24/7/365 gaming, any day could be your lucky day. Try your hand at blackjack, craps, roulette, Spanish 21, Mississippi Stud, Three Card Poker, Let it Ride, Fortune Pai Gow Poker and more.

In addition to great gaming is great food. Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen + Bar, from national award- winning chef and TV personality Guy Fieri, offers a casual dining experience that features “Real Deal” Guy signature recipes, including award-winning burgers, championship BBQ and serious Big Eat dishes. Guy’s scratch-made recipes extend out into the bar with “Off da Hook” hand-crafted cocktails and craft beers.

Raising the sports bar is Sports & Social Steel City, a one-of-a-kind sports bar, gaming parlor and social lounge. This two-level space features a 40-foot diagonal high-definition LED TV showcasing the top sporting events year-round and is equipped with bowling, foosball, darts, bubble hockey, pop-a-shot, shuffleboard, cruise ship shuffleboard, Skee-Ball and a golf simulator. Sports & Social serves made-from-scratch American classic items perfect for sharing and pairing with a cold beer or a signature cocktail.

Born out of the toughest sport on dirt, PBR Pittsburgh lives up to its legendary namesake. The Professional Bull Riders, PBR, is the fastest growing spectator sport in the country, embodying toughness and a true spirit of independence. PBR Pittsburgh fuses that spirit with nightlife and unrivaled entertainment to create the ultimate night out. It’s bold…it’s sexy…it’s fun. This magnificent venue includes 4,560 square feet of space. Throw in cold beer, hard drinks and a little bull ridin’ and it’s every cowboy and cowgirl’s nighttime oasis. Check out what Live! Casino Pittsburgh is all about—visit www.pittsburgh.livecasinohotel.com.

Valley Forge Casino Resort, King of Prussia

As the region’s full-amenity gaming resort, Valley Forge features a 40,000- square-foot gaming floor, plus 100,000 square feet of meeting, conference and banquet facilities and two luxury hotel towers. They also offer eight dining options, live entertainment and an exciting nightlife scene. Every Valley Forge employee is dedicated to a culture of impeccable service that is conceived, nurtured, and supported by the theme “The House Is Yours.”

Valley Forge Casino Resort offers live table games and all the latest and greatest slot machines. The luxurious and exciting casino floor features 850 of the hottest and most popular slot machines, along with 50 table games, including blackjack, craps, roulette, Pai Gow Poker, and Baccarat.

The accommodations are perfect for a wide variety of stays. There’s nothing better than being able to stay where you play after a thrilling night in the casino. At Valley Forge Casino Resort, you can take in a show, dine at one of several delicious restaurants, or attend a corporate event. Stay the night at one of the two amazing, newly renovated hotel options. Get the full Valley Forge Casino Resort experience in one of the 442 guest rooms and suites, just steps from the excitement and action of the casino.

Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin, Farmington

Looking to live it up in Southwestern Pennsylvania’s beautiful Laurel Highlands region? Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin is calling. The good times are waiting right on the premises of the five-star Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Try your luck at any of nearly 600 gaming machines, at any of 27 hot tables or at the high-limit gaming area if that’s the way you roll.

Nemacolin is a family vacation destination situated on 2,000 mountain acres in the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania – and also where the Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin is conveniently located. Each of the premium accommodations offers a unique guest experience, tailored to your travel tastes and style. From European-inspired elegance to adventure-ready comfort to your own secluded, private oasis—at Nemacolin, the choice is yours.

The Chateau has iconic rooms and suites that pair perfectly with gourmet dining. Falling Rock hotel is inspired by the renowned architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Falling Rock is a bespoke oasis unlike any other. Relax, refresh, and be inspired. The Lodge harmonizes exploration with relaxation, a quintessential woodsy escape where adventure awaits. Start your new family tradition! The Homes have the best of both worlds and experience the full-service offerings of Nemacolin while enjoying the seclusion of your own spacious residence.

The Estates are extraordinary accommodations with premier private estates, each offering the perfect escape for large groups and families.

Excitement abounds with every spin of your favorite games. Enjoy the excitement of 300 of the latest and greatest slot machines. Choose from nearly 600 slot, keno and video poker machines in a wide range of denominations – and find your new favorite. Some great slots include: Stacked 7S, Sunset King, Voodoo Brew, Lion Carnival, Triple Double Diamond, Gold Win just to name a few. The action gets even better when you take all the advantages of Players Club, making you eligible for great promotions, amazing rewards, and exciting mail offers based on your play.

Take advantage of guaranteed $10 Blackjack table Monday— Thursday during table game operational hours. Enjoy hot action with your choice of everything from Craps and Roulette to Blackjack and Mississippi Stud.

Whether you’re a high roller or just someone who’s ready to take your gaming experience up a notch, you’ll find even bigger thrills waiting in the high limit gaming area. Lady Luck has the ideal games for both casual and seasoned players. If you’re ready to play with the high rollers, you have to experience the high limit gaming area. It offers exclusive high limit black jack tables, situated in a private setting away from the casual crowd. Try your luck and skill in a comfortable room with a flat screen TV, exclusive amenities and experienced dealers 24/7.

And when it’s time to unwind, stop by The Lone Wolf to enjoy the casual ambiance, cold drinks, and pub style dining options. Whether you’re there to relax or watch the big game, you’ll feel welcome the moment you step inside.

For more information, visit www.ladylucknemacolin.com.

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh

Rivers Casino Pittsburgh features 2,823 slots, 124 table games (including nine Interblock games and a 30-table poker room), nine restaurants and bars, a riverside amphitheater, a multi-purpose event space, live music performances, free parking and multiple promotions and giveaways daily. For more information, visit RiversCasino.com.