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Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 1
2 Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine
From the Cover Asian Gaming:
This month’s Featured Casino:
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10 Asian Gaming at parx casino 12 Pai Gow Poker. 13 Pai Gow Poker House Way. 15 Pai Gow Poker Fundamentals. 16 Sushi
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www.pagaming.us Advertising: I want to thank everyone who contacted Pennsylvania Gaming™ in the recent past for their good wishes after they got their inaugural edition of our magazine. Pennsylvania’s first ever Gaming Magazine was published in December 2011. It featured many great articles of interest and most particularly it celebrated 5 years of gaming in Pennsylvania. We distributed this first edition primarily in the Northeast and Southeast areas of our State. Magazine sales began to really pick up as we got further into December. Once again we are pleased to say that the Mohegan Sun Casino and the Parx Casino are participating in this January 2012 edition with gaming and other discount coupons. Our goal is to bring superb value to our readers, by way of rich and meaningful articles as well as many special offers and discounts. This value will be increasing in the months ahead as more Pennsylvania Casinos come on board with gaming coupons, restaurant discounts and other special offers. As everyone knows the cold weather is now here. With snow on the ground and signs of winter all around us, indoor entertainment is a great idea! While we all have many options and ways to have fun as we stay out of the cold, snow and ice, few things can give us the thrills and excitement of a Casino. Perhaps your visit begins in one of the superb Casino restaurants where you and your friends can enjoy fine dining with a glass of wine. You could end your dinner with a dreamy dessert while you all discuss what each person will be doing once out on the Casino floor. After dinner a couple of you might head to the slot machines. Others may make their way to various gaming tables. Your afternoon or evening of indoor entertainment should bring you much pleasure day or night. Only in a Casino can you find a lively and energetic atmosphere to make your experience both delightful and enchanting. While I once again urge our readers to gamble responsibly, I am also saying have an enjoyable time: I know you will… it’s in the cards!
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t: 570.455.7000 f: 570.454.2523 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Coupon System: Plurality of Perforated Coupons per Sheet; Casino ID Consecutive Numbering; Bar Coding; Casino Redemption Method; Magazine Value-Added Advantages and other Inherent Coupon Features all have Multiple Method and Utility Patents Pending. ©2011 Pennsylvania Gaming Magazine, Printmark Industries, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication can be reproduced or used in any way without expressed written permission of the publisher.Not responsible for typographical errors. The views and opinions expressed by the writers and columnists of this magazine are not necessarily representative of the views of its management and employees.
Alexander Sloot Publisher
4 Pennsylvania Gaming Magazine ™
Readers Advisory: All readers are advised to carefully consider all risks associated with wagering and gaming, prior to participating in any event, promotion, advertisement, article, column, feature or any other item printed in PGM. PGM shall not be liable to any person for loss or damage incurred or suffered as a result of their taking part in same.
Gambling Problem? Call: 1-800-GAMBLER
Maybe it already has. Problem gamblers stand to lose a lot more than just their money. Gambling can cost them their home, their job, their familyâ€Ś even their freedom. If you think you or someone you love has a gambling problem, help is available. Visit PAProblemGambling.com to learn the warning signs, or call 1-877-565-2112.
PAPROBLEMGAMBLING.COM January 2012
Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine 5
www.pagaming.us PRESIDENT, Publisher
Happy New Year to everyone! The start of a new year always brings excitement and anticipation. January represents the chance to start over. Many people will resolve to learn something new; others to become better at what they already do. Here at Pennsylvania Gaming Magazine, we hope to help with that. 2011 was exciting for us to be able to launch the inaugural magazine but if you liked how we started in 2011, you will love us in 2012! As theyear heats up we will be adding more columns written by top notch experts in their fields. Slots, Poker, Technology are just a few in the works. We will also get the details from Pennsylvania based gaming companies on how their products are made and how their services are provided. We have a casino opening to cover in spring 2012. Pennsylvania Gaming Magazine hopes to catch up with the CEO as well as the VP of Marketing of Valley Forge Casino and get a detailed view of what it takes to open a casino in Pennsylvania. As you may or may not be aware, gaming was brought to Pennsylvania to infuse money into the Horse and Harness Racing industry. 2012 will be the fifth full operating year since the opening of the first casino in 2006. Since then, racetrack owners have spent millions of dollars refurbishing, remodeling, renovating and revitalizing this fabulous industry. In 2012 Pennsylvania Gaming Magazine will show you just how the industry is hitting its stride. Look for articles and columns on Horse and Harness racing plus interviews on some of the nations greatest in the sport. One of Pennsylvania’s world class resorts, Nemacolin Woodlands, has partnered with Isle of Capri Gaming and will be opening the Lady Luck Casino in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Gaming will be following the construction and keep you up to date with the progress as well as the job opportunities that the gaming industry always brings with it. And who could forget all of the other casinos currently operating in Pennsylvania? Certainly not Pennsylvania Gaming. In 2012 we will be bringing you hot stories on all of the casino happenings and up close and personal interviews with the executives who run them. The gaming industry in Pennsylvania is thriving and in 2012 we will take you places and show you things no other magazine has done before. I would personally like to wish every one of our readers a very safe, happy and prosperous New Year. Game-On!
Frank V. DeAndrea, Jr.
Frank V. DeAndrea, Jr.
Frank is a decorated veteran of both the US Army and the Pennsylvania State Police. He retired from the PSP after twenty five years of distinguished service. He is a Court Certified Expert in many areas. Frank was the first Sergeant in the history of the Pennsylvania State Police to command a Gaming Enforcement Office within a Pennsylvania Casino. While serving as office commander, Frank became the first member of the Pennsylvania State Police to be trained and certified as a Black Jack Dealer as well as a novelty games dealer. Frank is the first member of the Pennsylvania State Police to be certified in the Pennsylvania Court System as a certified Gaming Expert having testified countless times against Gambling “cheats” both foreign and domestic. Frank’s law enforcement background in Gaming has allowed him to work on international investigations on the national security level. Through his years of working in Law enforcement and aiding in the design of the Pennsylvania Gaming Industry, Frank has amassed hundreds of contacts and close relationships with many of the Gaming Industry Icons. He is a well respected member of the Law Enforcement and Gaming Community. Frank is married and is a father of six. He has been a resident of Pennsylvania all of his life.
Director of Operations
6 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
Gambling Problem? Call: 1-800-GAMBLER
George Joseph George Joseph has been the expert witness and consulting investigator on countless casino scams throughout the gaming world involving all casino games for over 25 years.
George Joseph puts his expertise to work, enlightening and empowering others through various media: 400+ MEMORIE S, JOKE and
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For information on his books, DVDs, TV appearances or to submit a booking request, visit: www.gjlv.com
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PHONE: (702) 499-3280
MAIL: 6130 W Flamingo Rd #421 Las Vegas, NV 89103 January 2012
Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine 7
Maureen is a well-respected attorney, regulator, prosecutor, and operational consultant to both national and international entities in the gaming industry, including many Pennsylvania casinos. In her former role as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, she designed and developed much of Pennsylvania's regulatory scheme. In addition, she instructed PGCB’s audit, compliance and legal staff in gaming best practices, and coordinated efforts associated with the opening of Pennsylvania's first three casinos.
Mike has served as Security Director for the Trump Castle and Taj Mahal casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Primm Valley Resort & Casino in Southern Nevada, and the Sands Resort & Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Michael brings impressive credentials to every position he holds. He is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP), having earned certification from the American Society for Industrial Security. Mike is also a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). He holds a Master of Science Degree in Crisis and Emergency Management and an MBA, both from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Floss J Barber
Floss is an esteemed graduate of Drexel University, with a BS in Design and is a member of Antoinette Westphal College Hall of Fame. She has been the CEO of Floss Barber Inc for 25 years. Floss Barber Inc. has a distinguished portfolio of casino clients from Sands Hotel & Casino, Revel Casino, Valley Forge Casino, Hialeah Casino & Resort. The firm also designs for corporate clients such as The University of Pennsylvania, Saul Ewing LLP, Zarwin Baum Law firm Brandywine Global, and Signature Chef Emeril Lagasse.
George is court-qualified as the casino industry’s leading expert in surveillance and casino cheating. He has testified and demonstrated scam methods in major casino cheating cases worldwide. Witty and armed with street sense, George regularly lectures and consults for police agencies as well as gaming regulators, both in the States and on foreign shores. He has been the Director of Surveillance at major Las Vegas casinos and was on the Board of Directors and Ethics Committee of the Nevada Polygraph Association. Author of four books as well as producer of videos on DVD and computer programs, George is often asked to appear on major network television shows.
Dave Brown is the CEO of Cigar Row. He has been in the cigar industry for 10 years. Before that he was a professional tennis player. Now he has devoted his life to bringing cigars to the people, wherever they may be gaming, playing, or staying.
Chef Kate is a native of Mountain Top Pennsylvania and can be found Friday nights at the Rustic Kitchen, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs where she hosts the dinner show: Cooking with Kate. For more information on the show or ticket information go to: www.mohegansunpocono.com Chef Kate simply loves to cook and while her travels have taken her across the pond and to all points across America, home is where her heart is and for Chef Kate, that's right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania! Currently working on “The Military Cookbook Project” seeking submissions from Military Personnel, past and present, and what they special meals they missed while serving.
Ed (via email) Dear Ed, Thanks for pointing that out! You are absolutely correct. We've fixed the error in this edition. Thanks for helping to make our publication stronger. -PGM
Three years is a long time in the making but it was worth it! What a masterpiece, I loved every page! A good read and amazing quality. Congratulations to you and the team! Darlene (via email)
I can't wait to take these coupons to the casinos! When you get to be my age, you either gamble or have sex. I gamble. Barb (overheard)
Let us know what YOU think!
email@example.com or post on:
www.pagaming.us 8 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
image credit: depositphotos.com/Laurent Renault
Maureen D. Williamson
Excellent job with the magazine! Got my copy today and it far exceeded my expectations. The only error I saw was in your casino directory. Mohegan Sun is listed as a thoroughbred track instead of harness. Other than that, terrific magazine!
Elegantly designed, decadently grilled, flawlessly paired…experience parx grill. Reservations suggested.
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must be 21. gambling problem? call 1-800-gambler. January 2012
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 9
a 60-table poker room, slots, live tables, Winner’s Circle bar, Paddock Grill Since the launch of live table games in July 2010, and a custom Asian gaming pit and an upscale noodle bar. Pennsylvania casinos have been attracting guests from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Leading the The custom-built Asian gaming area at parx east was way to the casino floor are Asian cuscreated as a supreme amenity. Asian themed table tomers. Crowding tables such as games offered include midi baccarat, pai gow baccarat, sic bo, pai gow and poker, pai gow tiles and sic bo. Positioned Horse racing positioned next to blackjack, Asian guests are an next to the pit is the Sangkee Noodle table games is very special and lucky to important market segment to atHouse. An authentic Asian style Asian customers. Parx is perfectly positioned tract and retain for PA casinos. noodle bar operated by renowned for Asian customers to play. Chef Michael Chow of Sangkee in One casino hitting the mark Asian customers are considered superstitious: Philadelphia's Chinatown. is parx casino in Bensalem. Since its debut in December In addition to the actual gamThe color white The numbers 2009, parx has been the ing and other amenities specifisignifies death 4 and 14 which number one casino descally for Asian customers, parx and despair. mean death tination in the state. casino’s communication to Therefore the color are strictly Opening with 3500 slot these guests is top notch. Parx white is avoided in avoided machines and 100 elecemploys the most bilingual the casino in the casinos tronic table games, parx staff of any PA casino, many immediately attracted avid with Chinese and Vietnamese slot players. With the addiWhile an Asian guest is playing a live table game, as their first language. This helps tion of live tables to the gamstaff are taught never tap their shoulder from tremendously with greeting the ing mix, many new customers behind or touch their head. daily motor coach guests from of diverse ethnic backgrounds Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. Cleaning up or sweeping of the floor around visit this suburban gaming mecUnderstanding their cultural habits the table with Asian guests is considered ca daily. and providing superior customer serunlucky. This is avoided during live vice is vital in attracting and keeping these Two separate buildings make up the gaming action at parx. guests. Parx “talks” directly with the customer parx complex. There is the main parx cavia advertising in Chinese speaking publications in sino property which offers slots, live tables, Philadelphia and New York to promote bus packages, speparxgrill, Chickie’s & Pete’s, Jax, Foodies, and 360. cial events, exclusive promotions, tournaments and entertainment. Adjacent to that building is parx east which houses parx racing,
10 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
Image Credits: parx casino depositphotos.com/ Iryna Rusavina/ Flavia Morlachett
Asian guests are an important market segment to attract and retain for all PA casinos. Find out how parx casino in Bensalem is rising to meet the demand.
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Beginners often have the impression that the game is difficult to understand and even more difficult to play. The truth is, the game of Pai Gow Poker is simple (not to mention fun).
Pai Gow Poker is dealt with a standard 52 card deck and one joker. Each player is dealt seven cards. The object of the game is to make two poker hands. One of the two hands is made up of five cards (called the high hand), the other is the two card hand (called the low hand). The five card hand must be better than the two card hand. For instance, let’s assume that in the seven cards there are two pairs — a pair of 10’s and a pair of 9’s. You can play both pairs in the high hand if you wish or you can split the pairs. You cannot, however, put the pair of 10’s in the low hand because your high hand must be better than the low hand.
Poker by george Joseph
12 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
The dealer is spot number one and will receive the first set of cards if the dice total 8 or 15. The spot to the dealer’s extreme right is number two and the extreme left is number seven. If the dice total more than 7 you simply subtract 7 from the total. For example, if the dice total 11 then the player in spot four gets the first set of cards. If the three dice total is 15 or greater, you subtract 14 from the total to determine the first hand. Most Pai Gow Poker tables are now using an automatic shuffler that deals cards and uses a random number generator to decide who gets the first set of cards.
image credits: depositphotos/ zhang zhiwei/ Natalia Lukiyanova/ Johnny Dao
The joker is counted as either an ace, or to complete a flush, or to complete a straight. The joker is not a universal wild card. You will see the dealer shake a dice cup with three dice in it. The total of the three dice will tell the dealer which spot (counting himself) will receive the first set of cards.
NO PAIR: Use the highest card in the high hand. Use the second and third highest ranked cards for the 2nd highest hand. ONE PAIR: Always use the pair as the high hand and use the highest ranked cards for the 2nd highest hand.
TWO PAIRS: LOW = 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
MED = 7, 8, 9, 10
HIGH = Jack, Queen, King, Ace
LOW + LOW / LOW + MED = Always split unless there is an Ace or King to play in the 2nd highest hand.
LOW + HIGH / MED + MED = Always split unless there is an
MED + HIGH / HIGH + HIGH = Always split.
Ace to play in the 2nd highest hand.
THREE PAIRS: Always play the highest pair in the 2nd highest hand. THREE OF A KIND: Always keep together unless Aces then play one of the Aces in the 2nd highest hand.
(TWO) THREE OF A KIND: Play a pair of the highest three of a kind in the 2nd highest hand.
ALL STRAIGHTS, FLUSHES, STRAIGHT FLUSHES, AND ROYAL FLUSHES:
When you win a hand, the house will pay you even money minus a 5% commission i.e., $95.00 on a $100.00 bet. On every other hand, the house will offer the bank to a player on the game. If you accept the bank, you are then playing against the house and banking against all other players on the game (You will need a good sized bankroll to bank the game). The house will still take a 5% vig on the winning bets. If the player does not want the bank, it reverts back to the house. Approximately 41.5% of the hands in a Pai Gow Poker game are tie bets, so a player can last a long time on a relaGeorge Joseph tively small bankroll.
In many casinos worldwide, a House Way chart is allowed to be used at the playing table. This should be verified in advance at the casino you chose to play. When requesting to know if you can use a chart, you may be asked to show the dealer or floor supervisor the specific chart to be used.
✁ cut along line to remove
Also the bank has one additional advantage—the bank wins all exactly matching hands, known as Copy or Mirrored hands. Suppose the player and the bank both have an Ace/ Queen (or whatever) in the low hand. Even though the card values match, the bank would win the low hand. The bank would also need to win the high hand to win the bet. In some California card rooms and private games, the joker is used as a universal wild card. It would be to your advantage to bank the game because of the additional tie hands created by the universal joker. In order to play the game well, you need to learn when to split up the two pair, full house and four-of-a-kind hands. If you have trouble deciding how to play the cards, the dealer will help you set the hand according to the house rules known as house way. (The dealer has no decision and must play House Way)
In order to win a Pai Gow Poker hand, you must beat the dealer by winning both the high and low hands. To lose, you must lose both hands. Winning one hand and losing one hand is a tie.
Note: When choosing whether to play any Straight, Flush, Straight Flush or Royal Flush, play whichever category that will allow the highest two cards to be played in the 2nd highest hand.
WITH NO PAIR: Keep the Straight or Flush and play the other 2 cards for the 2nd highest hand.
WITH 6TH OR 7TH CARD: Play the lower Straight or Flush in the high hand in order to place the highest two cards in the 2nd highest hand.
WITH ONE PAIR: Only keep the pair if you can play the pair in the 2nd highest hand and keep the Straight or Flush. WITH TWO PAIR: Break up the Straight or Flush and use the two pair rule. WITH THREE PAIR: Break up the Straight or Flush and use the three pair rule. WITH THREE OF A KIND: Play a pair of the three of a kind in the 2nd highest hand. WITH FULL HOUSE: Use the Full House Rule (see below).
FULL HOUSE: Always Split and play the pair in the 2nd highest hand. THREE OF A KIND & TWO PAIR: Play the higher pair in the 2nd highest hand. George Joseph has been the expert FOUR OF A KIND: Keep together if 6’s or below, split if 7’s or higher.
witness and consulting investigator Exceptions: Keep 7’s or higher together if an Ace and a Face card can be played in on countless casino scams throughout the 2nd highest hand. Always Split Aces, unless accompanied by additional pair. the gaming world involving all casino Forgames info onfor over 25 years.
FOUR OF A KIND & A PAIR: Play the pair in the 2nd highest hand. George Joseph, George Joseph puts his OF A KIND & THREE OF A KIND: Play the pair his books, FOUR expertise to work, DVDs, TVenlightening andthat would make the 2nd highest hand as high as possible. empowering others appearances through various media: FIVE ACES: Always split, playing a pair of Aces in the or to submit 2nd highest hand. Exception: Keep five Aces in the high a booking hand if two Kings can be played in the 2nd highest hand VEGAS request, *A, 2, 3, 4, 5 is the 2nd Highest Straight LOUNGE
For information on his books, DVDs, TV appearances House way chart courtesy of or to submit a booking request, visit: www.gjlv.com Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Dynamic. Revealing. Proven.
PHONE: (702) 499-3280
MAIL: 6130 W Flamingo Rd #421 Las Vegas, NV 89103
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 13
Ok, so you read George Joseph’s Article on how to play Pai Gow Poker and you are excited to try your luck. Here are a few more things to know about Pai Gow Poker that will add to your comfort level of what is going on in the game and how it is played.
Pai Gow Poker is a great way to get out, have fun and play cards. The slower pace allows small bet placement and the propensity to tie 41.5% of the time allows Pai Gow Poker players to enjoy a casino and the gaming experience without having to lose a large bank roll quickly.
Background: Pai Gow Poker, also called Double-hand poker, is an American version of Pai Gow. It is played with playing cards using poker hand values instead of Chinese dominoes. It was developed in California by Sam Torosian and Fred Wolf.
With the possibility of being allowed to use the House Way chart and with the Dealer trained to assist you with every hand if you desire, there is no reason not to give it a try.
The table has positions for six players plus the dealer. Each player's hand is individual from the others and the winning or losing of any one player has no bearing on the others. Each player attempts to defeat the banker. Objective: The two card hand is called the Low hand, Top hand, Little hand or Front hand because of its position on the table. It is placed on top of the five card hand closer to the dealer and further away from the player. The five card hand is called the High hand, Bottom hand, Big hand or Back hand. These names come from the position the cards are placed in from the player once the hands are set.
The Deal: The cards are dealt face down in seven piles of seven cards with four cards unused every hand no matter how many people are playing.
14 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
image credits: depositphotos/ zhang zhiwei/ Natalia Lukiyanova/ Johnny Dao/ NG YEW KEONG
Definition: The word Pai Gow means “Make Nine” and is the original version of both Baccarat and Chemin de Fer. Pai Gow however; should not be confused with Pai Gow poker.
Pai gow poker fundamentals Hand Ranks: The two card hand can only have a ranking of either a pair or a high card. Whatever cards are set in the two card hand, the cards cannot beat the cards of the five card hand or either hand is fouled. The five-card hands use the standard poker hand rankings with one exception. In many casinos, several in PA included, the hand A-2-3-4-5 is the second highest straight ranking above K-Q-J-10-9 and only below A-KQ-J-10. At other casinos this rule does not apply and A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest straight. When the Jokers is used as an Ace or to complete a flush or a straight the Joker can be used as any card to make the highest ranking hand. For example a person is dealt 2 2 8 9 10 J Joker. The hand would be set with the pair of 2â€™s in the low hand and the 8 9 10 J Joker in the high hand with the Joker being used as a Q and not a 7.
(Not the banker) to decide if the hand shall be reset to house way or if the hand is forfeited. Usually, if the dealer feels it was an accident or done unintentionally, it shall simply be reset to house way. If, however the dealer feels the person is intentionally setting the hand incorrectly in an attempt to win illegally, the hand shall be forfeit. The house maintains the privilege of setting that players hand house way each time. Player Banking: A player has the opportunity to be the banker for the hand. Because there is a slight advantage to being the banker,
Players can only be the bank every other hand. The casino will be the bank at least every other hand, hence the house advantage. When the Dealer is the bank, the cards must be set house way. When a player is the bank, the cards can be set any way the player would like as long as the low hand ranks less than the high hand. Players also have the option of "co-banking" with the house. When a player co-banks their hand must be set house way and then the other players hands are compared to it. General Rule: It is usually best for a
Fouls: When a player sets their hand and the five card hand does not beat the two card hand the hand is considered foul. If a hand is fouled it is up to the dealer
player to set their hand house way. That is because much time and mathematical computation has been done to formulate house way. The highest possible two card hand that can legally be set should be selected that still leaves a higher five card hand. Asking for assistance: When a player does ask for assistance, the dealer will wait until all other hands are set, then the dealer will set the players hand and then, the dealer will turn their cards over and set their hand house way. Since the Dealer is required to set their hand house way no matter what, there is no possibility of the dealer setting their hand a different way because they saw the other hands first. For that same reason, if a player is going to play 2 hands, the player will have to set the hand with the higher bet first and then set the second hand. Once the first hand is set, it cannot be reset. That is because there are only 53 cards used per game and knowing 7 of them can greatly manipulate the odds of winning.
Poker January 2012
Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine 15
Named for the state in which it was founded, The California Roll, which combines avocado, crab, cucumber, and tobiko, was one of the first examples of sushi in what has become it’s most popular form among American consumers. Of course, many also enjoy sashimi, which are simply pieces of (usually raw) fish without the traditional rice accompaniment.
16 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
The American Dream combines three types of fish – crab, smoked salmon, and shrimp – with asparagus and cream cheese. It’s then deep fried before finally being topped with tobiko and served hot. Even someone who might be shy about trying sushi will enjoy The American Dream as it combines some classic sushi elements with some classic American ingredients and cooking techniques.
Pearl features over 100 menu items ranging from salads, soup and sushi, to authentic Japanese hibachi, noodle dishes and desserts (do yourself a favor and try the fried cheesecake). Add to that an impressive selection of specialty martinis, and you’re sure to leave satisfied. Image Credit: depositphotos.com/ Dave Crombeen
It wasn’t until the 1960’s when Japanese sushi chefs began coming to California to bring sushi westward, that the contemporary “roll” (or makisushi) that we’re most familiar with today came to be. The first versions of “sushi” (narezushi), which date back to the 15th century and can still be ordered in certain areas of Japan, in fact bear little resemblance to one of the hippest American foodie trends.
Any visit to your favorite sushi restaurant is likely to lead to you being presented with a wide variety of options and ingredients. This month, we’re heading to Pearl, the sushi and martini bar inside Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, to sample an East meets West concept called The American Dream.
Reduce your risk of problem gambling
If you choose to gamble, use these tips to help avoid the pitfalls of problem gambling:
01 02 03 04 05 06
Don't think of gambling as a way to make money
Gaming services are provided to make money. This means that over time, you will probably lose more than you win. Many problem gamblers share the mistaken belief that they will be the ones to come out ahead.
Always set a limit on money and time.
Decide how much money and time you are willing to lose before you start gambling. When you reach your limit, walk away. Gamble with a friend who will help you to stop when it's time.
Only gamble with money you set aside for entertainment Problem gamblers will often neglect personal needs and suffer from poor nutrition, personal hygiene and lack of sleep.
Never chase loses
When you gamble, be prepared to accept losing, because you could lose. Trying to win your money back usually leads to bigger losses.
Avoid gambling when you're feeling down
Depression and gambling don't mix because you're less likely to make good decisions.
Do other things.
Problem gambling is a lack of balance. Play a sport, read, spend time with friends. Take part in other activities you enjoy so that gambling doesn't occupy too much of your life.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS A GAMBLING PROBLEM, HELP IS AVAILABLE.
CALL THE PENNSYLVANIA PROBLEM GAMBLING HELPLINE 877.565.2112 OR VISIT PAPROBLEMGAMBLING.COM. January 2012
Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine 17
epic what it means to be
interview with darlene monzo
epÂˇic [ep-ik] adjective
1. majestic; impressively great: 2. of unusually great size or extent: a casino of epic proportions.
18 Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine
Image Credits: depositphotos.com/ Sergii Teplov
By F ra nk V. De An d r ea Jr
One of the advertising campaigns for parx casino is Step Into Epic. In this case, not only does it perfectly describe the entire parx casino atmosphere, it also perfectly describes Darlene Monzo, parx casino’s Vice President of Marketing.
c Images courtesy of parx casino
Darlene Monzo, VP Marketing, Parx Casino
This Vice President is nothing short of impressively great and her vision for parx as well as her “out of the box” visionary thinking is helping make parx a casino of epic proportions. I have worked in the Pennsylvania Gaming Industry since it was only an idea on paper. No matter who I speak with whenever parx casino and Marketing come up, it becomes apparent Darlene is both feared and revered in the industry. Darlene will be the first one to tell you “Love me or hate me I am going to tell you it like it is.” And that she does.
To some, her honest approach to what she thinks of a topic is intimidating. Meeting her is equally as intimidating. She is always perfectly put together from head to toe. The epitome of a professional executive, Darlene commands respect. When she speaks of the industry it becomes immediately apparent she knows her stuff. Her knowledge and insightfulness tell you that listening and taking notes is a much better idea than speaking. I was fortunate enough to interview Darlene in an attempt to gain some insight into how she climbed to the top of the casino corporate ladder, how she amassed all of her industry knowledge and have her share some insider tips.
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 19
"I went to Atlantic City and the casino offered me a choice of either bus greeter or valet parker."
Darlene with actor Kevin Dillon (from HBO's Entourage) at the opening of parx casino's poker room How did you get started? DM: I grew up in the casino industry. In the 1980’s there were many people from my town that made a career in the industry. I went to Atlantic City and the casino offered me a choice of either bus greeter or valet parker. I took my first position as a bus greeter. I always loved the entertainment industry and I wanted to be a performer. I took the bus greeter position because I loved getting in front of the customer and giving my speech. I worked in most positions a casino has. If I did not hold the specific position, during casino strikes I worked it. I have been a bus greeter, airplane greeter, hotel desk clerk, as well as a cocktail waitress and bed maker. I have also done all of the front line positions to include being a host, an entertainment director and database marketing. I can honestly say I have worked the job of every director who reports to me. Director of Promotions, Players Card Manager, I have worked my way through the ranks.
What is your industry experience? DM: As far as casinos that I have worked at, I am afraid I am showing my age by telling you there are too many to count. Some of the casinos I have worked at or consulted for are Tropicana, Caesars Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Trump Marina, Trump 29, Trump Taj Mahal, Venetian, Trump Indiana, Planet Hollywood, Fitzgerald’s and of course parx. “Who” is parx?
Where are you from? DM: I was raised in Hammonton NJ. A town in Atlantic County NJ approximately 30 miles from Atlantic City. How is parx different to Atlantic City?
DM: At parx, we take a different approach. We do not look to see what someone does right and try to copy it. We look to see what other casinos are doing wrong and we try to do that perfectly. An example of this is in Atlantic City, casinos are notorious for horrible valet service. At parx we strive to return your car from valet in 4 minutes or less. 20 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
DM: Bob Green was the visionary for parx. Bob owned Philadelphia Park Race Track. Parx came from the name Philadelphia Park. Bob had vision enough to purchase 450 acres and now parx casino is part of that complex. (To put that into perspective, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is 107 Acres. Disney World’s Epcot is 300 acres.) Bob got the bill signed for table games to be allowed in Pennsylvania. Bob Green is the reason I left what I was doing and came here.
What is parx planning with the current construction phase and beyond? DM: At parx Phase 2 is currently under construction. This will add an additional 150 thousand square feet of casino space. Within this space we will add three additional restaurants an additional outside bar and a multi purpose entertainment space. Phase 2 is on schedule to open the end of 2012. Immediately upon completion of Phase 2, we will begin Phase 3. This will include a hotel. We have 450 acres here. We will be a campus for all gaming amenities and beyond.
What does it take to be a Table Dealer at parx? DM: Table Game Dealers need to have a high school diploma. At parx we do things different than Atlantic City. In Atlantic City, the person pays for dealer school themselves and once completed, applies to work in a casino. Here you apply online. If you get hired parx provides in-house training. We always have openings for dealers.
Does parx have any special table games or gaming areas? DM: Parx main casino houses our expansive table game floor. I believe parx has the largest table game floor of any Pennsylvania casino. Within parx East we have an Asian Gaming room and additional table games. We launched the custom-designed, Las Vegas-style high limit area in June. It features eight blackjack tables, one craps, one roulette and four midi baccarat tables, along with a private lounge. Do you have any tips or suggestions for someone playing table games at parx? DM: If you are a brand new table game customer, parx east is the place for you to hone your skill. The table game area is a little bit slower and limits are a little bit lower. Parx east is a great place for someone who is unfamiliar with a particular table game to start. The table game area there is a little less intimidating. It is a much more comfortable environment for someone brand new to play. Parx east allows you to get a feel for the game. All of the dealers at parx are customer friendly. You will find the dealers and floor people are always willing to assist you should you need until you are comfortable with the game. You can stay a regular at parx east or you can move to the main casino and experience the fast pace of the big action. What type of amenities does parx currently offer? DM: parx is truly a total entertainment experience. We offer 3500 slots and 200 table games to include 60 poker tables. Within parx, we have the 360 Night Club where the Philadelphia nightlife comes alive. 360 features the best live bands, the hottest djs and sensational tribute acts. Five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday. We offer dining and Sports Bars to meet anyone’s desires from high end to sandwiches. Parxgrill is an elegant steakhouse featuring sumptuous classic cuisine and contemporary signature dishes. Chickie's & Pete's is Philly's favorite crab house and sports bar. The innovative play2 interactive sports bar is where patrons can play interactive video games and guitar hero in their own private pod areas. Sangkee noodle house offers authentic Asian style noodle bar created by renowned chef Michael Chow of Sangkee in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. Sangkee has a community table seating thirty people. Foodies is a high end food court that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and focuses on quality, freshness and the finest ingredients. The Paddock grill features all your fast food favorites, and is located at parx east. Jax is a sports bar with over thirty hot video games. Parx also has a poker room, live and simulcast racing, Asian gaming, and more table games at parx east.
Parx launched a high Limit area in June, 2011 When you hire a table game dealer, what do you look for in a person / resume? DM: We live in an electronic world. The first step to a career with parx casino is to apply online. This shows us you have an interest and are willing to make an effort. When you come to get a job at parx you need to bring personality and your best appearance. You must have an outgoing personality and present a good appearance. You are performing a service in front of customers and are representing the property. We take into consideration education, personality, willingness to work, and being able to perform for our customers. At parx we hire differently. We have an audition processes where we ask candidates words that best describe themselves. We ask applicants to dance, to sing or to play a blow up electric guitar. It shows and sets apart the people who have an outgoing personality vs. a stick in the mud. We don’t hire ‘Sticks in the mud” here regardless of their education or background. What is your vision for parx casino? DM: My overall vision for parx is to remain the #1 casino in PA and on the entire east coast. Should you ever meet Darlene and have the opportunity to have a conversation pertaining to the gaming industry, you will have an immediate understanding of why the word “Epic” is a perfect description of her. "So Vegas You’ll Think You’re In Vegas" is parx casino’s new advertising campaign. Thanks to Darlene, when you visit parx you will say, “Who needs Vegas?”
"My overall "My vision overall for parx vision for is to is to parx remain remain the #1 #1 the casino casino in PA PA in and and on the the on entire entire east east coast." coast."
VALLEY FORGE CASINO RESORT
25 years of designing spaces that enrich lives www.flossbarber.com T 215.557.0700
22 Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine
For those who make their own l u c k, pull up a s e a t. for our most serious players. parx introduces a room crafted just for you. with crystal chandeliers. mahogany tables. and a full array of high stakes tables. the felt is green. the players are anything but.
must be 21. gambling problem? call 1.800.gambler.
There are competing stories of where the cookie originated. First, David Jung, a Chinese immigrant living in Los Angeles founded the Hong Kong Noodle Company. It is said in 1918 he also invented the fortune cookie. It is told that Jung, was upset and worried about all the poor he saw in the streets near his shop. Jung created a cookie to be passed out to each of them for free. The cookies all had an inspirational verse inside of them that was written by a local Presbyterian minister. It is more readily believed Jung was not concerned about the poor and was more concerned with a marketing tool to promote his noodle company by passing out free cookies to the poor with an advertisement cleverly tucked inside each. Second, in 1914 in San Francisco, Makoto Hagiwara, a Japanese immigrant invented the fortune cookie. Hagiwara designed the famous Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. It is told that an Anti-Japanese mayor fired Hagiwara and that Hagiwara suffered much hardship. He was then rehired by a later mayor. Hagiwara created a cookie that contained a "thank-you" note to show his thanks to all of his supporters. After he saw how popular the cookies were, he started to serve them regularly in his Tea Room. Then in 1915 he displayed them at the Worlds Fair in San Francisco. Third, In 13th and 14th Century China, the Mongols had taken control. Chu Yuan Chang, created a plan to
rise up against the Mongols. He figured out a way to spread his plan to all of the Chinese people without the Mongols learning of it by hiding the messages in Moon Cakes. Mongols did not like Moon Cakes because they contained yolk of Lotus paste. The yolk was replaced with rice paper messages. This uprising was successful and the Ming Dynasty was born. Hence the tradition of giving Moon cakes with messages inside was born and the Moon Festival regularly celebrated. Fourth, the Chinese immigrants who constructed the great American Railway system in the 1840’s 1850’s from California through the Sierra Nevada’s. During the Moon festival, lacking rice cakes, they used biscuits so the fortune cookie was born out of necessity and improvisation. We may never know for sure what the real beginning of the Fortune Cookie is but we do know the first ones were made by chopsticks. It was not until 1964, over 100 years later, that Edward Louie of San Francisco's Lotus Fortune Cookie Company invented a machine to make the cookies. In today’s world it is rare to complete a Chinese meal and not have a fortune cookie. And no matter if you eat it or not, it is the fortune inside that matters to everyone. It was not until the 1990’s that the Chinese fortune cookie was introduced to China. It was advertised as “Genuine American Fortune Cookie.” Whether you actually eat it or not, is not important. It's the “fortune” inside that matters. The success of these cookies is good fortune to the Fortune Cookie Industry. One company alone makes 60 million Chinese Fortune Cookies a month. That is 720 Million per year. Most popular in the United States, the cookies continue to lift spirits and provide hope with the promise of great success, love, health and good fortune.
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Image Credits: depositphotos.com/ Hans Slegers// Matthew Benoit
The Chinese fortune cookie is as much a tradition with a Chinese meal as Fireworks are on the fourth of July. Most Americans assume that the Fortune cookie was brought over to America by Chinese immigrants and that its origins are deeply rooted in the Chinese culture. The fact is, the Chinese fortune cookie is not Chinese at all. It was invented right here in the United States of America. Its specific inventor is as unknown as the fortune inside the cookie itself.
Where the BLACKJACK TABLE becomes YOUR TABLE.
We’ve got 82 action-packed table games, including Blackjack, Poker, Craps and Roulette, along with more than 2,300 of the most popular slot machines. Plus exciting nightlife, live entertainment and more! 1280 Highway 315 • Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702 1.888.WIN IN PA • mohegansunpocono.com
Gambling Problem? Call 1.800.GAMBLER. January 2012
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 25
c r e at i n g
Casino design is a unique discipline. It requires a basic understanding of the owner. Most casino owners or CEO’s are entrepreneurs and are willing to make changes up to and including opening day to increase potential revenue. The process is very organic and evolving. In today’s economy it is more important to understand this process and anticipate the need
How does this relate to the patron? There are many myths that the design of a casino is to manipulate the player’s response, by having a windowless space to lose track of time or a carpet to make you dizzy. All good casino owners I have worked with want the customer to feel at home with its creature comforts. Customers want a clean bathroom, excellent air quality and proper
There are many myths that the design of a casino is to manipulate the player’s response, by having a windowless space to lose track of time or a carpet to make you dizzy. for change early in the process. This means building into the design options that will respond to change. This is especially true with hard costs of Audio- Visual, Heating /Air conditioning, electrical and soft costs such as movable furniture and lighting versus built-in.
26 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
lighting which importantly differs for slots, table games and dining. In addition, the customer wants casino floor that is easy to move through and a safe well lit parking lot.
The owner wants a spectacular experience; the best their budget will allow. There is a conscious effort to produce the right mix of amenities. I will be discussing in upcoming columns the variety of amenity packages, what is coming in the future for casino, how color affects the interior, and many other insider tips. Our challenge as designers is to create the right environment that is loyal to the brand, is fresh and within an ever tightening budget. Inspiration can come from many places. The New Des Plaines near Chicago is channeling Frank Lloyd Wright. In Las Vegas, the new Cosmopolitan Casino caters to the 30 year old crowd. With crystal layers over the main floor and center bar, the energy of the space feels young. Other examples of inspiration from different sources include the Italian theme of the Bellagio and Venetian which were designed for the patrons of all ages.
By interior Designer, Floss Barber Sugarhouse casino images courtesy of Floss Barber, Inc.
Images: ©Floss Barber Inc.
Let’s look at Inspiration for some of the Pennsylvania local Casinos. Sands Las Vegas Corporation revived the old steel mills in Bethlehem. The town has been totally energized with an arts center, a music venue Center at the Steel Stacks, a full casino, retail mall and hotel. The theme is “Industrial chic”. The lighting within the casino looks like dripping molten steel; the coil bar takes its name from the steel industry. Sugarhouse Casino is on the land vacated by the Jack Frost Sugar Refinery. The interior is urban with a Refinery Bar with large sugar sticks hanging in the window of the river’s edge. Harrah Chester is not themed. It is an example of what it means to be first .Harrah’s was one of the first slot casinos opened so all it had to do is function. The inspiration was speed. Casino interiors are constantly changing as owners better understand what their customers want. What works for one might work for all but not always.
I like to play in various parts of the casino. Why are the table games generally in one spot? -Margie from Cedarville NJ The layout of a gaming floor is very specific and months are spent on the right combination of table games, and number of slot machines in a row, as well as, the location of the rows. The person who plays a table game is generally more social than a slot player. This player likes the crowd and being seen. In addition, if he/she is not doing well at one table they might jump to another table. It is good to provide options of table games within a certain area.
Why are all blackjack table tops either red or green? -Robert from Villanova, Pa It is about the play of one color on another and it is really important to be able to read the chips quickly and accurately. If the color of the felt is not definite and clear the dealer could make a mistake. Actually the best colors are red, tan or green. The counter tops for the cage are also closely monitored so that a fancy or decorative granite or marble doesn’t blur the vision of the cashier in reading chips.
Send your design questions to Floss: AskFloss@pagaming.us
The Valley Forge Convention Center complex currently features three restaurants and a nightclub. Thatâ€™s going to change in a big way. 28 Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine
Photo composite: depositphotos.com/Michele Piacquadio/ Comaniciu Dan Dumitru/ Piotr Pawinski/ Andrejs Pidjass/ Denis Raev
Is it possible to introduce a venue to the Philadelphia region’s extensive collection of dining and nightlife offerings that could be considered fresh and exciting? Sal Scheri says, “Absolutely!” President and CEO of the new Valley Forge Casino Resort, Saverio R. “Sal” Scheri said southeastern Pennsylvania is ready for a dynamic new entry, as he prepares to open the resort in the spring of 2012. “We’re going to provide a sophisticated gaming experience, but we certainly know that our guests will be interested in more than what they’ll find on our casino floor,” Scheri said. “That’s why we’re creating the area’s only full-amenity gaming resort. When our doors open, our guests will walk into an unmatched casino resort that will be unlike anything seen before in this area. The changes we have in store for the property are incredible.” The Valley Forge Convention Center complex currently features three restaurants and a nightclub, but that’s going to change in a big way. Set to satisfy the most discerning palates, the resort is ambitiously reimagining all three restaurants and adding four more. Guests will have their choice of several premier dining options: a steak and seafood house serving the freshest seafood and succulent prime-cut meats; a world-class Italian restaurant preparing a variety of authentic
Old World dishes; a New York style deli offering overstuffed sandwiches, made-to-order omelets, and an assortment of delicious quick and easy fare; and a European style pub with an exciting new menu of classic pub favorites, a variety of premiere whiskeys and beers, live acoustic entertainment, and plenty of flat screen TVs for sports fans to cheer on their favorite teams. In addition to these four dining options, there will be three more smaller dining outlets immediately adjacent to the casino floor offering burgers, pizza, and authentic Asian noodles. In all, seven new restaurants are being created. In addition to promoting its dining options and Pennsylvania’s newest casino floor, featuring 50 table games and 600 of the newest and most popular slot machines, Valley Forge’s marketing efforts will focus heavily on an assortment of exciting bars and nightclubs that will be unveiled in the coming months. Come spring, the resort will have five new bars, including a dramatic bar at the center of the gaming floor; a new nightclub; a piano bar; a sensational bar for gathering between the new steak and seafood house and the Italian restaurant; and the previously mentioned European pub. “I’m excited to say the hardest part for our guests will be deciding which restaurant or nightlife venue to visit first,” said Valley Forge Casino Resort Vice President of Marketing January 2012
Robert Carmignani. “If you want to enjoy conversation and a drink at one of the resort’s stylish lounges, we’ll have that. If you want to dance all night at our thrilling new nightclub featuring the hottest deejays and signature bottle service, we’ll have that, too. And if you just want to sit back and relax in a sophisticated yet cozy environment, we’ll have a new piano bar as well.” Scheri said the vision being constructed will take all types of guests into account. “Whether you’re here to try your luck at our exciting new casino, planning a weekend of dancing with your closest friends, attending a conference, or just sitting back and unwinding after a long day of work, Valley Forge Casino Resort will have something for everyone,” he said. “This resort will become a place our guests will want to visit again and again. When we envisioned Valley Forge we didn’t see a casino, we saw an entertainment experience.” Valley Forge Casino Resort intends to introduce the specifics of its dining and entertainment offerings in the coming months. Details will be available on its website at www.vfcasino.com and through its social media platform on Facebook (Facebook.com/ VFCasinoResort), Twitter (@VFCasinoResort), YouTube (YouTube.com/vfcasino) and Flickr (Flickr.com/photos/vfcasinoresort).
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 29
This month, Pennsylvania Gaming sat down with Art Blanda, Poker Room Shift Manager at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, to learn a little more about one of the most popular games in the casino. 30 Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine
With the passage of legislation in January 2010, and to the delight of gamers and casino operators alike, Pennsylvania took the biggest step toward adding table games to the list of available amenities at each of the Commonwealth’s ten casinos. It wasn’t long after in July 2010 that gaming tables opened to the public, allowing guests to enjoy all of the classic casino games such as Blackjack, Roulette, Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, and more. Besides these casino favorites, approval was also given to casino operators to open the very first poker rooms in the state. These areas would offer traditional poker games like Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha, and 7-Card Stud, where instead of playing against the house, you’re matching wits with the other players at your table. Since coming into the mainstream in the early 2000’s, poker has become enormously popular among millions of gamers world wide. What led you to being the poker room manager at MSPD? AB: I came over from the Poker Room at the Mohegan Sun property in Connecticut. I’ve been around Poker either as a player, Dealer or Supervisor for about 15 years. When table games came to Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to come down and become the Poker Room Shift Manager at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
Images courtesy of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
What do you think makes people prefer poker to other traditional casino games? AB: Most recreational players enjoy poker because they can get a lot more play for their money. Also, there is more skill and strategy involved because you are playing against other players and not the “house”. A skilled poker player can then have an advantage over other players which allows them to win more often than on games where there’s a house advantage and the outcomes are based more upon luck than skill. Tell us about the poker room at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs AB: Our Poker Room is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is located on the bottom level of the Phase 1 facility. We currently have 18 full size poker tables, 13 large screen TV’s and our own bar where you can get food and drinks 24 hrs a day. I’m a little biased, but I also think we have the most friendly and talented dealers around, which definitely adds to the experience.
What are the most popular games your poker room offers?
What kinds of promotions have you run for poker players?
AB: We offer both Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha High/Low, as well as 7-Card Stud. We’re actually the only Poker Room in Pennsylvania to run 7-Card Stud on a daily basis which our guests definitely appreciate. We also run Pot-Limit Omaha games as well as mixed games, such as 15-30 H.O.S.E. All of our games are available with different limits so there’s really something for everyone.
AB: We recently offered a $10,000 free roll to our most loyal customers. We also pay out a High Hand Jackpot four times per day. Just have the highest poker hand during the qualifying period and you’ll win the jackpot. Often times it’s upwards of $1,000. We have also been looking to implement some other offers and promotions for our players and hope to announce some of those things in the very near future.
What kinds of tournaments do you run? AB: Most recently, we have been running two $60 buy-in tournaments per day which are held at 12pm and 7pm on Monday through Friday and at 10am and 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. On Mondays we also have a $35 turbo tournament that’s been very popular. On Wednesdays at 7pm, we have a $50 Rebuy Tournament. On Fridays at 7pm we offer a $120 “Bounty” tournament. Saturdays at 7pm we have a $120 No-Limit Tournament where each player receives 10,000 in tournament chips. On the last Saturday of every month we have either a $280 or $550 tournament. Our largest 1st place prize was over $20,000. We are frequently updating our tournament schedule to suit the needs of our players. All Poker Tournament info can be found at http://www.mohegansunpocono. com/playing/poker.html What do you think the recent crack down on online poker has done for poker and casino poker rooms? AB: We have seen a lot of new faces since the recent crack down. A lot of players have had to adjust their game from playing online to playing “live” poker. There’s a certain degree of anonymity you have by playing online and not being able to see the other players which leads to different strategies. With a live game, you have to constantly be aware of how you’re acting, the faces you’re making, or any gestures that might give away your hand. Also, online players used to be able to play in several games at the same time on their computer. In a live setting, you can only play one game at a time which is obviously a huge difference. You can certainly win (or lose) a lot more and play a significantly higher number of hands per hour or per day online than you can in a live setting. Ultimately though, the harder it is for poker players to play online, the better it will be for the “brick and mortar” poker rooms. When and if online poker resumes, I think we’re going to see a lot of casino companies try to get in on the action since it was such a huge industry.
Are there many professional poker players in the area? AB: Brian Hastings, who is best known for winning over $4 million dollars in a single session against online poker player “Isildur1” and appearing on the “Poker after Dark” television series is from Luzerne County and has frequented this poker room. We also have a number of players that make poker their living, so we see them quite often. You wouldn’t think this area has many poker pros, but they’re out there. Can someone who’s not very experienced still play in the poker room? AB: Absolutely. Poker is one of those things that is very easy to learn, but can take a lifetime to truly master. We have the most popular games running all the time and at very reasonable limits. We often see players come down and are nervous because you can tell it’s the first time they’ve sat down at a poker table. Our dealers and supervisors are there to help and make new players feel very comfortable. Poker is a game of patience, so the other players are usually pretty accommodating as well.
Art Blanda, Poker Room Shift Manager, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 31
Where the LUCKY MACHINE becomes YOUR MACHINE.
We’ve got more than 2,300 slot machines, including the most popular names like Wheel of Fortune, Triple Red Hot 7’s and Monopoly, along with 82 action-packed tables. Plus exciting nightlife, live entertainment and more! 1280 Highway 315 • Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702 1.888.WIN IN PA • mohegansunpocono.com
Gambling Problem? Call 1.800.GAMBLER. 32 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
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Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 33
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34 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
e l b i d u A n a call
Image Credits: ©Frank DeAndrea depositphotos.com/ Valentyn_Volkov/ Stephen Rees/ Anna Tihhomirova/ David Lee/ Sandra Cunningham
Join Kate Friday evenings for “Cooking with Kate” her weekly live cooking show at Rustic Kitchen Bistro&Bar located at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs.
starting lineup pulled beef or pork 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce 1 cup barbecue sauce 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced 1/4 cup chili powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 or 3 cups cubed chicken (uncooked) 1/2 stick of butter-to saute chicken 2 stalks of celery 1-2 Tbs flour 4 cups milk 1 cup heavy cream 2 (10.75 ounces) cans condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 boneless pork loin roast or beef pot roast or chuck cut (2-1/2 to 3 pounds) 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained Flour tortillas Toppings: sour cream, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes, (optional)
Your favorite hot sauce to tasteusually 1/2 of a bottle of Frank's works well just adjust it to how hot you like it....not everyone likes it spicy like me. Bleu Cheese crumbles for garnish Green onions for garnish
In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine the chilies, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, onion, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Add pork or beef. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat is tender. Remove pork or beef. When cool enough to handle, shred meat using two forks. Return to slow cooker. Stir in black beans; heat through. Serve on tortillas; top with sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes if desired.
chicken wing soup Saute cubed chicken in butter until well cooked. Add celery and saute until tender. If you need more butter to saute celerygo for it. Then add flour and cook for a minute or two. Add milk, heavy cream, and condensed soup. Mix together well. Bring to a gentle boil-then add hot sauce to taste. If the soup is too thick add more milk. Cook for about 15-20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with your choice of garnishes.
BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALAD 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained 2 stalks of celery 2 green onions, sliced 1 corn cob, grilled or roasted. Remove kernels with a knife 1 green pepper, chopped 1 can pimentos, chopped 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped 1/4 cup canola oil 1 lime, juiced Dressing: 1/2 cup of water 1/4 cup sugar
5 pounds baby bliss potatoessliced in half 1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 cup garlic, chopped 8 ounces bacon-cooked until crispysave the bacon grease 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup chopped garlic
1/2 cup olive oil 1 medium red onion, sliced in half moons 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 bunch parsley, rinsed and chopped 2 stalks of celery-diced Sea salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste
roasted potato salad with bacon Preheat oven to 350Â°F degrees Toss potatoes with 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup garlic and bake in the oven on a cookie sheet until tender. After they are cooked, cool them until easy to handle. Next in a mason jar, place olive oil, balsamic, garlic, and 1/4 cup of bacon grease. Shake until it is all mixed together. In a bowl mix the potatoes, onions, red peppers, parsley, and celery. Toss with dressing and season to taste. Let this chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.
2 Tbsp white vinegar Salt and pepper-to taste In a sauce pan, mix water, sugar, vinegar and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, let cool. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour dressing over the top and let it marinate overnight. Serve when well chilled.
Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine 35
When she’s not working as a sports anchor for northeastern Pennsylvania’s top-rated TV news station, Sharla McBride is reporting on harness racing for PA HarnessWeek.
Two of harness racing’s top TV personalities talk horses, heroes and their determination to succeed in a male-dominated industry.
Many fans of the weekly TV horse racing show PA HarnessWeek have never even been to the track. So why do they tune in? Credit must go, at least in part, to the program’s charismatic female on-air personalities: Heather Moffett, who co-hosts alongside Steve Ross, and Sharla McBride, who reports what happens on the track and beyond at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack. The unexpectedly popular show, which recently wrapped its fourth season on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, features recaps of the week’s most exciting races plus interviews with top trainers and drivers. Thanks in part to a loyal fan base, it has even beaten World Series games in the ratings. Bruce Casella, the show’s producer and an Emmy-winning ESPN alum, said, “Hardcore racing fans will always be the majority of our audience, but it’s true, there’s something engaging about the way we present racing that makes even non-fans tune in.” As a young girl, Heather Moffett was far from a racing fan even though her family owned and trained racehorses. “You couldn’t get me near a barn at first,” she said. “I never even imagined myself in this game. Then I fell in love with a horse named Spots N Dots and the rest is history. It’s that love of horses that draws people into this sport.” Today, along with her husband, Bill, she’s a third generation owner and trainer.
36 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
A graduate of Monmouth University with a degree in communications, Moffett didn’t set out to be a TV personality either. “My mom was one of the first hosts of Racing from the Meadowlands. I remember driving to the track and watching her, who I idolized, rehearsing her lines.” Just as harness racing got into her blood, so did broadcasting. Over the years, she’s appeared on Fox Sports, ESPN2 and most recently, on Canada’s The Score Network. She also produces and hosts Post Time, a show dedicated to Delaware harness racing.
depositphotos.com/ Sandra Cunningham/ Adam Golabek
Sharla McBride, on the other hand, was always certain she wanted a career in broadcasting. A die-hard sports fan and athlete (her cell phone ringtone is the theme to Monday Night Football), the proud University of Georgia grad (her English bulldog is named Herschel Walker) worked her way through TV gigs in Georgia and her native Texas before finding her way to the highest-rated news show in northeastern Pennsylvania as a fulltime sports anchor. McBride never had much exposure to harness racing before moving to the area. “It was basically nonexistent in Texas and Georgia,” she said. Naturally, her love of sports eventually drew her to the local track, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, for live harness racing. She’s been a fan ever since. Now, she devotes one day a week to reporting on the sport. “Getting to work on PA HarnessWeek has been a lot of fun because I’m learning new things with every story I do,” she said. “As a show, we try to cover racing in a way that satisfies diehard fans but doesn’t exclude novices. I think that’s one of the reasons people like us.”
Though the 2011 season of PA HarnessWeek is over, fans can connect with Moffett and McBride all year long on the show’s website, HarnessWeek.com or on Facebook. They can even watch every episode ever produced at YouTube.com/HarnessWeek. And though both ‘horsecasters’ (as they call themselves) shrugged off any suggestion that people tune in specifically to see them, Moffett did mention that she gets fan mail from every conceivable demographic – even inmates! “I thought you had to be, like, a movie star before you started getting letters from jail,” she said, laughing. “When my co-host Steve gets mail from a women’s prison, then I’ll know we truly made it!”
Resources: HarnessWeek.com Covers harness horse racing in Pennsylvania and worldwide. DownsOTW.com Live racing and off-track wagering in northeastern PA, Poconos and Lehigh Valley. HarrahsChester.com Live racing and off-track wagering in southeastern PA. MeadowsGaming.com Live racing and off-Track wagering in western PA, Pittsburgh suburbs.
Moffett co-hosts PA HarnessWeek, a weekly show dedicated to the best of Pennsylvania harness horse racing.
“It’s an interesting phenomenon,” said Steve Ross, PA HarnessWeek’s co-host. “Not a week goes by that we don’t get emails from people who stumbled on the show and love it.” A veteran of the racing scene, he’s also a fixture on Philadelphia’s airwaves and currently hosts Remember When with Jim Murray, former Philadelphia Eagles general manager, on CBS Radio’s WPHT Philadelphia. What’s his take on the show’s popularity? “We have fun doing the program and I think that comes through to the audience. We take it seriously from a journalistic perspective, but the audience seems to like the back-andforth between Heather and I, and Sharla’s definitely a fresh face in a sport that, let’s face it, is still mostly male dominated.” Both Moffett and McBride acknowledge some gender-related hurdles, none of which put the brakes on their careers. “Rejection has always motivated me to work harder,” said McBride. “My family taught me never to give up and here I am, doing what I love every day.” Moffett, meanwhile, faced the doubly daunting task of gaining acceptance as a horse owner and trainer and as a sports TV personality. “To do what I’m doing now, covering racing on TV, I really had to succeed at both racing and reporting. Let’s face it, you don’t see lousy former football players holding microphones. Credibility counts.”
Heather Moffett January 2012
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 37
38 Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine
Standing with Giants By Frank V. DeAndrea Jr.
In November 2006, at the grand opening of the first ever casino in Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs, I was conversing with Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll. Lt. Governor Knoll described taking a lot of heat about why it took so long for Pennsylvania to open the first casino since it was now over 16 months between the enactment of the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, the law that permitted slot machine casinos, and the opening of this first facility. As then-Sergeant in the Pennsylvania State Police, I had helped write the regulations for Police Operations within the casinos, as well as opening the first ever State Police Barracks within a casino. I therefore had detailed knowledge of the extensive work required within a relatively short period by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to create the extensive regulations necessary to properly oversee casino gambling. I was also very proud of the efforts the Pennsylvania State Police put forth to ensure the regulations for Gaming Enforcement were thorough, and well prepared. I smiled at Lt. Governor Knoll and said to her, “The next time someone asks you what took so long, tell them, 'Pennsylvania did not want to just do gaming, we wanted to do gaming right.'” One of my fondest memories of Lt. Governor Knoll was the smile that inched across her face and her reply to me: “Frankie that is very profound and so true. If it is OK with you, I am going to use that exact statement in the future.” Lt. Governor Knoll went on to use that statement in many addresses she made across the Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 39
Roll forward to October 2011, the heading from the International Association of Gaming Regulators reads: "INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GAMING REGULATORS NAMES FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT, POSTS RECORD ATTENDANCE AT FIRST INDEPENDENT CONFERENCE"
The press release stated: The International Association of Gaming Regulators, Inc. (IAGR) named Susan Hensel of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania president during its first conference since reorganizing as an independent nonprofit corporation earlier this year. Hensel, who is the Director of Licensing for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, succeeds Serobi Maja, Chief Executive Officer, Limpopo Gambling Board, South Africa. She is the first female elected to oversee the association. Maja commented, “I am pleased to hand over the Presidency to Susan who is a very capable leader and knowledgeable gaming regulator. I know that Susan is the ideal person to continue IAGR’s growth as an independent association.” Other gaming regulators in both the United States and other parts of the world also praised Hensel’s dedication to casino regulation and her leadership.
40 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
“Director Hensel has provided great leadership and commitment in an important transition period for our organization,” says Mark Lipparelli, Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and Treasurer of the IAGR Board of Trustees. “This independent group of regulators has established itself as the new forum for worldwide cooperation and education at a time when it is more relevant than ever and we look forward to Susan’s leading role at IAGR .” André Wilsenach, Executive Director of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission in the Channel Islands says Hensel has been a long-standing and highly valued member of the Association and brings not only her knowledge of gaming regulation to the position, but also her experience of working with regulators around the world. “Having worked with Susan, I am convinced she will lead the Association to higher heights in building much valued
relationships amongst regulators and various interest groups around the world,” Wilsenach says. It is no mistake that Susan Hensel was elected to this position. As indicated in the news release, Susan is highly respected by her peers from AROUND THE WORLD. This position and recognition reflects highly not only on Susan, but on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and Pennsylvania as a whole. Susan is world renowned as a Gaming Regulator and her background and credentials are beyond reproach. There is no doubt she could work for any Gaming Industry in the world and they would welcome her with open arms. So why does she work in Pennsylvania? It is no coincidence. She is one of over a dozen administrators whose dossiers are second to none. Susan is surrounded by quality professionals within the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
Image Credits: Susan Hensel Photo courtesy of PGCB. Depositphotos.com/ Michele Piacquadio/ Sandra Cunningham
That female is Susan Hensel, and I would like you to take one guess at where Susan works. If you said the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, you are correct.
The saying “It is easy to be seen when you are Standing on the shoulder of Giants has been around for many years. In the case of Susan and the PGCB, I like to say; “Standing with Giants” because wherever you look in the PGCB, you find individuals who are incredibly qualified. William H. Ryan, Jr. – Chairman PGCB. Served for 14 years with the Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General including four months as Acting Attorney General beginning on January 18, 2011. Earlier, Ryan served as First Deputy to both Attorneys General Corbett and Jerry Pappert, a role in which he oversaw legal and administrative matters for the agency. Ryan began his legal career with the Delaware County District Attorney's Office in 1972, working as a legal intern while in law school, then rising to the position of first assistant district attorney in 1981. In 1987, Ryan was elected District Attorney of Delaware County, then re-elected to that position in 1991. During his tenure as District Attorney, Ryan also served President of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association in 1993-94. Kevin F. O’Toole – Executive Director PGCB. Served as both Commissioner and Executive Director of the Oneida Indian Nation Gaming Commission. Previously, Kevin was a Deputy Attorney General with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement from 1981 to 1997. Kenneth I. Trujillo – Commissioner PGCB. Served as the City Solicitor of Philadelphia and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. In 2008 was appointed to President-Elect Barack Obama’s Presidential Transition Team. In 2005, the Mexican government presented Trujillo with the Ohtli Award, one of the highest awards given to non-Mexican citizens by the Mexican government. Mr. Trujillo serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Gary A. Sojka – Commissioner PGCB. Served as both President of Bucknell University in Lewisburg and a faculty member and an administrator at the university from 1984 to 2006. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude from Coe College, and both Master of Science and Doctoral degrees from Purdue University. Anthony C. Moscato – Commissioner PGCB. Served in public office as a County Commissioner for 16 years. Just prior to joining the Board, he served as Special Assistant to the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, and was the outreach coordinator for the Keystone Rural Health Consortia, Inc. Keith R. McCall – Commissioner PGCB. Served 28 years in the House of Representatives, including serving as Speaker during his final term in 20092010. Additionally, he served several terms as Democratic chairman of the House Transportation Committee before being elected Majority Whip for the 2007-08 session. James B. Ginty – Commissioner PGCB. Mr. Ginty is currently Senior Vice President for Key Executive Services for Right Management. Prior to that, he was President of AT&T Pennsylvania and held various other positions within that organization. Mr. Ginty has also served as Senior Counsel for the Supreme Court of the United States, as a Trial Attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement in Washington, D.C., and as an officer in the U. S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Gregory C. Fajt – Commissioner PGCB. served as Chief of Staff to Governor Rendell, the top advisor to the Governor and manager of the day-to-day activities of the executive branch of state government, including 18 cabinet agencies and the Governor’s Office. Fajt originally joined Governor Rendell's Administration in January 2003 as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, a position he held until February 2007 when he moved into the Governor’s Administrative Offices. Gerald E. Stoll – Director of Casino Compliance PGCB has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement and casino regulation. The Compliance Bureau maintains a twenty four hour/ seven day a week onsite presence at all casinos. Mr. Stoll was previously employed by the New Jersey State Police. He was assigned to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Casino Enforcement Bureau. While assigned to the Division of Gaming Enforcement he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and assigned to the Special Investigation Unit. He was responsible for all criminal investigations originating within the Atlantic City casino industry. Congratulations Pennsylvania! It is truly wonderful and reassuring to have such high caliber people running the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Congratulations Susan. You have done us all proud. Rest in peace Lt. Governor Knoll knowing your efforts to “Do Gaming Right” were not in vain. Your legacy lives on and you are sadly missed.
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 41
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Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 43
In the inaugural issue of Pennsylvania Gaming we introduced a regular feature entitled By the Book as your source for unbiased answers to questions frequently asked by players. Let's see if we can open the floor by debunking a few myths and legends about just how random game results are.
Bythe book Maureen D. Williamson QUESTION: Can I calculate the odds of winning on a slot machine by counting the number of symbols on each reel?
For you technical folks, here is a more detailed example. Say a particular three reel game has twenty physical stops per reel. If you multiply the number of reel stops by the number of reels you can calculate the cycle of the game which in our case is 8000 plays (20 x 20 x 20 = 8000). This means that there are 8000 different possible reel strip combinations. Assuming 777 is the top award and that there is only one 7 on each reel, your probability of three sevens appearing on the winning line is 1 in 8000. By using virtual reel strips in a microprocessor, the game designer is not restricted by the physical size of the reel strips. Each virtual reel strip can have, for instance, 100 reel stops. The game cycle is now 1,000,000 plays (100 x 100 x 100 = 1,000,000). If it remains true that there is only one 7 on each virtual reel, the probability of hitting 777 is now 1 in a 1,000,000. A casino can offer a much larger top jackpot on this game because it will be awarded less often. Remember, however, even though the odds of hitting the top award are higher, it is the increased number of virtual reel combinations that also allows the casino to offer the higher frequency of awards and bonuses over the game cycle demanded by players to maintain their interest in a slot machine.
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
ANSWER: NO. Today's slot machines use a technology that is commonly known as virtual reels. Slot manufacturers always knew that bigger jackpots were a sure way to stimulate slot play. They were stymied, however, because the only way a casino could realistically afford to offer really large jackpots was if those same jackpots were harder to hit. Before virtual reels there were only two ways to make a jackpot harder to hit: add additional physical reels to a slot machine or make each physical reel larger by adding more stops. Neither solution was particularly attractive because players were keyed in to the decreased likelihood of winning by an obvious increase in the number or size of reels. Luckily, in 1984 Inge Telnaes was awarded a patent that solved this challenge for reel based slot machines by formalizing a methodology that dramatically increases the number of stops on a reel through the use of microprocessors. These “virtual” reel strips are created by using a computer program that matches the symbols on the virtual reel strip to the physical reel stops visible to the player. Using this technology, game designers are able to offer very large jackpots without impacting the availability of the much easier to hit lower value jackpots that are essential to the excitement of game play.
QUESTION: Will a slot machine result be affected by whether or not I am playing with my player's club card? ANSWER: NO. Every slot machine contains a computer functionality known as a random number generator that ensures the unpredictability and absence of pattern in the game result. There is no link between a slot machine's random number generator selection and any aspect of a casino operator's slot accounting or player rating system. This is why the game result is not impacted by the amount you wager, whether or not you play max coin or are posting activity to your player's club account. Each play of a slot machine causes its random number generator to select an outcome that corresponds to a particular combination of reel stops that may or may not be a winning combination on that game. The independence of these reel stop selections from any other aspect of the game, and from any previous reel stop selection, is key to both the fairness and broad appeal of slot machines. As a result, the operability and independence of random number generators are tested and securitized by game manufacturers as well as regulators to ensure that play is as much a matter of chance as intended.
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QUESTION: I buy Pennsylvania Lottery scratch off tickets. The overall odds of winning are printed on the back of the ticket. If the ticket represents that the overall odds are 1 : 4.57 does this mean there is an automatic winner within every five consecutive tickets? ANSWER: No. There is no pattern as to winning tickets, the winning tickets are distributed randomly throughout the entire population of tickets comprising the game. This random distribution is why so many of us have purchased multiple tickets that are either all winners, all losers or a combination thereof. What is disclosed on the back of a scratch off ticket - the overall odds of winning - is the simple ratio between winning and non-winning tickets for the total number of tickets comprising the game.
QUESTION: Unpredictability and absence of pattern in the game result seem to be key in casino gaming and lottery, what ensures this in horseracing? ANSWER: Anyone who has ever watched a horse race can tell you that the horses ensure unpredictability in the race result all by themselves! At the track, the horses are the random number generator.
If you've ever had questions about slot machines, table games, horse racing or lottery, write to Maureen at ByTheBook@pagaming.us.
or see 40% off coupon in the center spread Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine 45
Although casinos are one of the safest places to go for an evening of entertainment, no one can guarantee your safety 100% of the time. Things happen that are unexpected, but can be avoided by following a few simple rules.
Mike Burke After many years of running security in casinos in various places, I am here to tell you that casinos are one of the safest places to go for an evening of entertainment. Generally speaking, I believe that they are safer than sporting events or local taverns. This is especially true in Pennsylvania for three very important reasons:
First, they all have a staff of trained Security Department representatives, whose numbers and positioning are approved by gaming authorities and must be maintained 24 hours a day. Second, they have Surveillance Departments with cameras that can read the second hand on your watch and third, the Pennsylvania State Police have a barracks in EVERY casino and they are very good at what they do.
For example, as the weather gets cooler you may decide to wear a jacket. In this case, do not put your car keys in your jacket and then put the jacket on a chair behind you. Some have done this only to find that the jacket is gone along with the car keys. Unfortunately, this day and age when we like the convenience of having a fob on the key ring that helps you to locate your car in a crowded parking lot, it helps the car thief do the same thing, sometimes before the owner is even aware that the keys are missing.
The Chair Lift
One very unfortunate aspect of this type of event is that if the thief actually gets into your car, he can open the glove compartment and find your address on the registrationâ€Ś..and in most cases, the key to your house is also on the key ring. Gentlemen, keep your car keys in your pants pocket. Ladies, you already know not to put a purse on the back of a chair, but do not let it out of your sight either.
46 Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine
Image Credits: depositphoto.com/ Timur Arbaev Sergii Popov
Ok, having said that, it is also fair to say that no one can guarantee your safety 100% of the time. Not in a shopping mall or even in church. Things happen that are unexpected, but can be avoided by following a few simple rules.
If you are planning to spend New Year’s Eve or for that matter any other evening at a casino, you will find great gaming, world class restaurants (if you get a reservation early enough) and if you are a “player”, you might get invited to a party or a show. As always, drink responsibly or have a designated driver. Also remember that in a Pennsylvania casino, you are not permitted to gamble if you are showing signs of intoxication. This is strictly enforced, even if you are not driving. So if a Security Officer approaches you and tells you that you can no longer play, understand that he/she is not trying to be difficult, it’s the law.
It is also very important to be careful with new people who attempt to insert themselves into your life. They might be good Samaritans, who want to help you with something or maybe just seem to be friendly. I’m sure that many people have met new friends at a casino and remained friends for life, but initially, a little bit of healthy skepticism is a good thing. I remember an event a few years ago where two ladies became friendly while sitting next to each other at slot machines in a Nevada casino. After the usual discussion about family and children, one lady remarked to the other about how beautiful her diamond wedding ring was and actually talked her into exchanging rings. It would just be for a few minutes of course just to see how it looked on her hand. The lady who made the suggestion suddenly had to use the ladies room and said she would be right back. I’m sure you can guess what happened next, or should I say, did not happen. I have heard women say that they would never wear someone else’s wedding ring or allow someone to try on theirs as it would be bad luck. In this case, for this lady, it was very bad luck. She surrendered
one of her most treasured possessions to a “new friend” in exchange for a cheap imitation. Sometimes someone shows up out of nowhere because they want to be “helpful”. If this occurs while you are at an ATM machine or at a kiosk as you are cashing out a slot redemption ticket, red flags should go off in your brain right away. Certainly, we all know by now about someone looking over your shoulder at an ATM to get your pin number, but it doesn’t end there. Make sure you stay focused on the transaction until your money is in hand, you have control of the card and the screen has returned to the default mode. The same thing applies to ticket redemption machines. Don’t let anyone interrupt and report it to Security if someone tries. Speaking of Security, if you happen to have a lucky night at the casino and you have to go to your car alone, ask Security for an escort. There are individuals out there who will watch for people cashing out large sums of money and then follow them to their car. It’s very rare, but it happens. If there is a Security Officer with you, it will discourage that sort of thing. Security is also in a position to quickly summon the state or local police if they should see someone suspicious. In fact, even if you didn’t have a lucky night, if you’re concerned for any reason, ask for an escort. Oh and one more thing….On New Year’s Eve or any other day of the year, save yourself a lot of trouble and leave your kids with a babysitter. Don’t bring them to the casino.
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 47
Like bread and butter, cheese and crackers, and peanut butter and jelly, cigars and the gaming experience go hand in hand. Nothing celebrates a winning hand or a weekend with the fellas like a fine cigar.
Light up thenight by Dave Brown Cigar Row
48 Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine
And, with smoking becoming more taboo in our everyday lives, we must appreciate that casinos are the last bastion of freedom for those who choose to enjoy a great smoke.
In most situations, casinos can offer you several opportunities to purchase a cigar and to enjoy on the gaming floor. The majority of these will be self-service, so having some basic points down before making your purchase will make the experience more enjoyable and less intimidating.
"If you’re new at this, don’t try a dark cigar after ten car bombs. It’s going to end badly for everyone involved, and the poor cigar is going to get blamed for the damage you caused."
Image Credits: Depositphotos.com/ Jakub Gojda/ Chepe Nicoli
Pricing If you are buying a cigar in a casino, its probably a safe bet to say you’ve also checked into a room, bought a drink, gotten something to eat, and maybe played a few hands. And we all know the saying “the house always wins” was created for casinos. So, guess what? Fine cigars are going to come with a price tag that is unique, compared to what you are used to seeing in cigar shops or online, just as a drink in a casino costs a bit more than it does when buying a bottle at your local liquor store and making the drink at home. A good starting point for your average cigar, depending on the state and the casino, should be about $20. It could easily be three to four times what a cigar shop would charge, but so is the gin & tonic.
Brands Depending on the size of the outlet you are purchasing from, you could see anywhere from 5-50 different brands on display for you to sift through. If you’re an inexperienced smoker, it might feel like you’re trying to translate Romanian into Esperanto, and the store clerk might not know much more about the products than you do. If this is resonating, stick to what you’ve heard of before to be safe and use price as a guide to quality.
Brands such as Macanudo, Punch, Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana, and Montecristo are old standbys that have Cuban heritage, but are now made without embargo worries in the Dominican Republic and Honduras. They have a long track record of making quality mainstream cigars. Ashton, Avo, Arturo Fuente, Padron, Rocky Patel, La Aurora, CAO, Acid, and Oliva are but a few of the “new world” brands that did not exist in Cuba (though many of the producers are of Cuban heritage and worked in the cigar industry before emigrating) that make very well- respected and high quality smokes. If the casino offers a private label band, this can often be an inexpensive introduction to a fine cigar. A lower price can reflect the cigar purveyor’s relationship with a particular manufacturer (or in our case, the ability to produce our own), but you should have confidence that it has been taste-tested and would not be offered unless it was up to par. In terms of quality, none of the brands listed will disappoint you, though the style they make may not be your cup of tea. If you are inexperienced, I would suggest staying with these brands, and staying in the price range of $20-$50. If you have an adventurous spirit, surely try special items that could be priced $75-$150 for something especially rare. You’ve probably already burned a few hundred at the blackjack table, so why not burn one on a fine Dominican?
Wrapper Color Again, we are just covering the basics for you here, but the color of the wrapper leaf of the cigars available is a good clue as to the strength of the overall cigar. More than any other factor, matching the strength of the cigar to your personal preferences will be the most important factor in your enjoyment of an occasional cigar. As a rule of thumb, the lighter the wrapper leaf is, the milder the cigar will be. Although it is just one leaf of 6-10 in the cigar, the wrapper imparts a vast amount of flavor and can drastically change the overall character of the blend. If you’re new at this, don’t try a dark cigar after ten car bombs. It’s going to end badly for everyone involved, and the poor cigar is going to get blamed for the damage you caused. January 2012
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 49
Size and Shape For the most part, shape and size is based on giving the smoker options to suit personal preference. Some people like them short and fat, some like them skinny and long, but everyone can agree on the obvious jokes that you are free to insert right here. Torpedos offer the mouth-feel of a smaller cigar, but the burn area of a larger cigar. The most important point to know is that regardless of size or shape, every cigar within a particular brand is comprised of the same blend and will taste the same, especially for the occasional smoker. Experienced smokers will argue over which size and shape allows a particular blend to flourish, but these subtle differences will be lost on an inexperienced palate. Unless it’s an especially small cigar, which certainly have the advantage of a quick smoke time, most cigars that are 4-5 inches long are going to take 25 minutes or more to smoke. The largest cigars, Churchills or bigger, could easily take an hour, so pick according to what your activities will allow for. If you’re bellying up to the bar or the table, go ahead and splurge on a Churchill and enjoy. If you just need a quick smoke before asking the wife to wire you money, you might want to look at a cigarillo or whichever petite sizes may be available.
Country of Origin Just like wine, where the tobacco is grown affects how it tastes. Every cigar-producing cigar country has expert hands working on your cigars, so there is not a tremendous difference between torcedor skill between the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua, but each country does have a general personality to its tobacco.
In general, Dominican tobacco is mild and creamy, Honduran tobacco is medium-bodied, and Nicaraguan tobacco is the closest thing to Cuba in terms of overall strength. Now, these guidelines will not override what you see from the wrapper color, as a Dominican cigar can have tremendous body to it, but they should help you further hone in on what will suit you.
Flavored Cigars Considered by many to be the gateway cigar to “real” cigars, flavored cigars aren’t just for women anymore. There are several manufacturers that take their flavored options seriously, and are not using sweeteners or treatments to mask an inferior product. Acid has built a great portfolio of unique smokes that appeal to a particular demographic, but they are made with integrity. Most people love them or hate them, and rarely fall in between. CAO is another company that makes quality flavoreds, and both of these brands have pushed the envelope beyond the standard rum, vanilla, and cherry flavors of days gone by. Flavored cigars might not be for everyone, but if it's what you enjoy, to hell with your friends that are trying to revoke your man card. Smoke what you like!
In Conclusion We’ve gone over some basics, and hopefully you will be better equipped to enjoy a cigar or pick one out for your friends when a true tobacconist isn’t available to walk you through the process. Remember that any quality cigar you are smoking is handmade by someone, so respect what you hold in your hand. There is love, wisdom, and great skill in that cigar you are smoking. Hopefully, you have a great experience and will become an avid smoker, and get to the point where you can really pull out the differences between those perfectos and petit coronas that Davidoff is making these days.
Luke from Hazleton writes:
Are you supposed to inhale cigars or just puff on them? Puff only, no inhaling. Cigars are to be savored for flavor, not inhaled for nicotine.
Cigar Row is leading an elegant revolution in the cigar industry, producing the highest quality handrolled cigars and cigar gift sets. Cigar Row is known by professional event planners through out the US for providing cigar rolling services for events, weddings, and corporate parties. They also offer our boutique hand-rolled cigars for private purchase.
50 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
Image Courtesy of parx casino
Winter doesnâ€™t have to mean cold and grey. Heat up your nights at 360 where the nightlife is hot! 360 is where ultra lounge sophistication meets after dark nightclub; where the Philadelphia nightlife comes alive. Even the signature cocktails are so hot they have to be served in a chilled Glass.
The Spiced Apple Cosmo: 1.5 oz .5 oz 2 oz
Pucker Apple Sass Vodka Canton Ginger Liqueur Cranberry Juice
Serve shaken and strain into Chilled Martini Glass, garnished with Lime Slice
This January, spice it up with the Spiced Apple Cosmo. This drink takes the standard Cosmo recipe and adds Sass. January 2012
Pennsylvania Gamingâ„˘ Magazine 51
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs welcomes you to your place in the sun with its casino, harness racing, live entertainment, fine dining, and top of the line retail shops. Situated on the hillside of Plains Township, Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun is quickly and easily accessible from New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and virtually all points in northeast Pennsylvania—just a short drive off Interstate 81 and Pennsylvania Route 315. Entertainment
Location 1280 Highway 315
Visitors will want to check Mohegan Sun’s entertainment newsletter so as not to miss a thing. Live acts appear throughout the facility. Not to be missed are Mohegan’s Signature Events: Reality Check, Signings & Sightings, and Winning Authors, when superstars and world-renowned artists appear to thrill fans and entertain guests. Just inside Mohegan’s main entrance, on-air personalities play the biggest hits on radio station 105 The River, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s premier radio station. Watch and listen as they broadcast live from the Studio of the Stars. Nearby is Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, home to American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Shamrocks Lacrosse team. The Arena also hosts concerts, children’s events, and more.
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
See Center spread for Gaming Coupon
Restaurants and Eateries
3 Bars and Clubs
Shopping at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is an event in itself. Whether making a holiday purchase or buying a little something special for yourself, finding just the right gift is easy at any of Mohegan’s fine retail establishments. Women may find it hard to decide what to buy from among the assortment of women’s clothing, shoes, and handbags at Marshall Rousso. Ruby Blue, an accessories boutique, offers shoppers both the traditional and the whimsical with its large selection. MOGO is Mohegan Sun’s specialty store offering unique logo items as well as other gifts and sundries.
Racing See Center spread for Racing Coupon
lodging See Center spread for Lodging Coupon Figures valid as of 10/01/11. Totals constantly changing per Casino Management decisions. All information interpreted from available data.
PON January 2012
COU 52 Pennsylvania Gaming Magazine ™
Always fun is shopping at Brookstone, where patrons can literally get their hands on an assortment of functional yet distinctive consumer products. Lastly, Crossing Vineyards Wine and Cheese Shop, with its wine, cheese, and gourmet food products, goes a step further by also offering tastings and classes on pairing food and wine.
Cuisine The dining options at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs are irresistible, tempting every palate. Delicious steaks and seafood can be had at nationally renowned Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Pearl serves up fresh sushi and specialty martinis in a hip, intimate setting. Award winning Bar Louie offers a wide selection of appetizers and entrées as well as a variety of beers, microbrews, and wines. The Rustic Kitchen, winner of numerous awards and honors, is a Tuscan villathemed bistro and bar, with seating available in either the main dining area or at the Bar Café. Rounding out the list of eateries at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs are Timbers Buffet, Wolfgang Puck Express, Betty & Joe’s, Pacer’s Clubhouse, and others.
Racing Horse race fans will thrill to live harness racing at Pocono Downs every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from March to November each year. Simulcasts of both harness and thoroughbred horseracing events are available year round. Pacer’s Clubhouse Restaurant lets diners enjoy
panoramic views of the 5/8 mile oval racetrack.
Gaming The casino at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs opened in November 2006 as the first slots casino operator in the state of Pennsylvania. Today the casino covers more than 55,000 square feet of gaming space, much of which is smoke-free. There are approximately 2,300 slot machines and electronic table games, with wagers ranging from one cent to $100. The casino was also among the first to add table games; today it boasts more than 80 of the most popular table games including Black Jack, Roulette, and Craps. Daily tournaments entice players to test their poker skills in the casino’s 16-table Poker Room. Mohegan Sun’s Player’s Club lets gamers earn points that can be redeemed at the restaurants, bars, or retail stores. Monthly promotions add to the casino fun and winnings. The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, an agency of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, through its subsidiary Downs Racing, L.P., owns and operates Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the third largest individual employer in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
When Philadelphia Park Casino first opened in December 2006, it was located on the first and third floors of the grandstand at Philadelphia Park race track. Three years later, by December 2009, the brand new standalone casino, parx casino, opened its doors and the grandstand had been renovated into the building renamed parx east. The parx brand has not looked back since. Gaming Floor Parx features 3,500 stateof-the-art slot and video machines, including progressives, reels, and poker. Wagers from one cent to $100, and weekly and monthly promotions awarding cash and free slot play entice gamers. Parx casino also features a private gaming area with high denomination slot machines available as a benefit to premium and elite Xclub members. With no fewer than 140 live table games, parx offers favorites such as Black Jack, Roulette, Pai Gow Poker, and Midi Baccarat. If poker is your game, parx’s worldclass poker room features 60 tables where Limit and No Limit Texas Hold ‘em action tests players’ skills. Weekly tournaments keep the action going. The renovated grandstand, known as parx east, once again holds casino gaming, allowing players to conveniently and simultaneously keep an eye on the horse races.
Dining There are a number of eating establishments at parx where diners can grab a quick bite, taste classic American dishes, or indulge in a sumptuous meal. Parxgrill serves both classic cuisine as well as contemporary signature dishes. The famed Chickie's & Pete’s Crab House and Sports Bar serves up its standard fare and premium drinks while guests create and enjoy their own interactive PLAY2 sports experience on one of 18 amusement pod entertainment centers. Sangkee Noodle House, an authentic Asian-style noodle bar, was
created by Philadelphia’s renowned Chinatown chef Michael Chow. Foodies, open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, has something for everyone, from coffee and dessert to Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwiches. The Clubhouse Restaurant, Trackside Dining Lounge, and Paddock Grill let horse race fans dine in the parx east building without missing a minute of the live race action.
Live Racing Horse race fans thrill to live thoroughbred racing at parx Racing, first opened in November 1974 under the name Keystone Racetrack. In 2003 Chester County-born Smarty Jones made his racing debut at this track, known at the time as Philadelphia Park. Smarty Jones would go on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness races the following year. As a symbolic gesture, just a few short weeks after those historic wins, thengovernor Edward G. Rendell signed Pennsylvania’s gaming bill into law while seated in the Winner’s Circle at Philadelphia Park race track. Parx Racing hosts Pennsylvania’s premiere thoroughbred horse race event each year, the Pennsylvania Derby. Other famous stakes held at parx racing include the Cotillion and Pennsylvania Day at the Races. Open year round, visitors can enjoy both live and simulcast race events.
Entertainment The ever-changing parx entertainment calendar has something for everyone. Live bands and musical tribute shows, talent and dance contests, DJ dance parties and more keep the fun going all night long. 360, the after dark nightclub and lounge, serves signature cocktails and has an LED-lit lava dance floor that pulsates to the beat of music. Jax sports bar, serving up beer and cocktails, has plenty of TV coverage for fans to catch every minute of their favorite team’s game day action.
Location 2999 Street Rd.
Bensalem, PA 19020
See Center spread for Gaming Coupon
200 60 Poker
Directions Parx Casino, owned by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., employs approximately 1,800 people. It is located at 2999 Street Road, Bensalem, Pennsylvania, just 15 miles from Philadelphia, minutes off Interstate-95, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and U.S. Route 1. Overnight visitors to parx can stay at nearby hotels, many of which offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the casino. An on-site shuttle service is available to take guests between the casino and the horse track at no charge. For full information on parx casino, visit www.parxcasino.com.
Restaurants and Eateries
See Center spread for a Dining Coupon
Bars 4 and Clubs See Center spread for an Admission Coupon
Lodging See Center spread for Lodging Coupon
Figures valid as of 10/01/11. Totals constantly changing per Casino Management decisions. All information interpreted from available data. ON OUP CPennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 53
Harrah’s Chester says they have something for everyone. They’re right. With an amazing 100,000 square feet of casino gaming space, live and simulcast horseracing, restaurants featuring international cuisine, and a 14,000 square foot event center, there truly is something for everyone and every taste.
Location 777 Harrah’s Blvd. Chester, PA 19013
86 35 Poker
Restaurants and Eateries
Harrah’s Chester Casino features nearly 3,000 favorite slots games, video poker machines, and electronic Blackjack. Its 85 live table games include Craps, Roulette, Blackjack, Midi Baccarat, and Mini Baccarat, among other popular games. Conveniently located on the simulcast level is the casino’s 35-table poker room, the only World Series of Poker Room in Pennsylvania. Players enjoy high and low limits while trying their hand at such poker games as Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha, and Seven Card Stud. Daily tournaments in the poker room keep the action going.
Since September 2006, Harrah’s Chester Racetrack has been thrilling horse race fans with live harness racing and wagering. The season starts each spring and lasts through December, with 140 days of live racing. Interestingly, Harrah’s is known as a ship-in facility. Because horses can be brought in on the Delaware River, no horses are stabled on the racetrack site, although its paddock can hold over 130 horses on race days. Simulcast race action is also available from noon till midnight 7 days a week year round (except Christmas).
Harrah’s Entertainment Company owns the Harrah’s Chester property along with 51 additional casinos in six countries around the globe. Harrah’s Chester employs more than 1,000 people and is committed to providing its employees opportunities to build satisfying careers.
On the Menu
The promotions calendar at Harrah’s Chester is loaded with special events and entertainment from live concerts and shows to tournaments, drawings, and giveaways. During the live harness racing season, a complete Stakes Schedule is available for downloading from Harrah’s Chester website, so fans can easily schedule visits to the track. Shoppers may find it hard to resist a visit to global retailer Bijoux Terner. This retail outlet offers a wide assortment of fashion accessories such as watches and necklaces, scarves and pashminas, ties and cufflinks, handbags, and travel accessories, all at the unique, simple price of just $10 per item.
When not gaming, guests can enjoy dining at one of the many eateries available to them. The upscale Cove restaurant offers Tuscan inspired fare while diners enjoy spectacular views of the racetrack and the Delaware River. Mien Noodles bar provides classic Asian cuisine. Casual dining can be had at the End Zone Sports Bar which features 50” plasma TVs throughout and one 103” plasma TV screen—all perfect for cheering on the Philadelphia sports teams. The Copper Mug lets beer fans enjoy their favorite brew (or try something new) and Club Cappuccino specializes in premium coffees and desserts.
2 Bars and Clubs Harness
Racing Figures valid as of 10/01/11. Totals constantly changing per Casino Management decisions. All information interpreted from available data.
54 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
Location Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack is located in Chester, Pennsylvania, on the Delaware River waterfront. It is known in the industry as a racino, meaning the property contains both a casino and a racetrack. Upon receiving its slots license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the casino opened in January 2007. Harrah’s Chester is conveniently located off Interstate 95, just a few minutes south of the Philadelphia Int'l. Airport, approximately two miles off Exit 8, at 777 Harrah’s Boulevard, Chester, Pennsylvania, 19013. Detailed casino happenings and race track events and information can be found at: www.HarrahsChester.com or by calling 800-480-8020.
Since February 2007 Presque Isle Downs & Casino has been welcoming guests to its party. Awaiting players are more than 2,000 slot machines and 48 table games that include Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and more. In October, the casino celebrated the grand opening of its 9-table poker room.
Get in the Game Poker fans can now enjoy Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and other games in this latest addition to the casino. Monthly promotions and multi- and single-table tournaments entice card players to test their skills. A mutual betting machine and several TVs in the poker room let horse race fans keep a close eye on the races.
On the Track For those who enjoy the thrill of a live horse race, Presque Isle Downs holds its 100-day thoroughbred race meet from May through September. Racing events, which always attract impressive lists of race horse nominees, include the Presque Isle Mile and the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes. With more than 2,000 flat screen TVs on site, horse racing across the United States and Canada is simulcast to viewers and bettors daily.
Dining and Entertainment Catering to both players and locals, Presque Isle provides several dining options, including Sensory 3 Restaurant & Lounge, recent winner of the 2011 ERIEsistible Entrée Award, Zelda’s, and the Speakeasy Saloon. The Downs Clubhouse & Lounge, serving casual fare, affords diners a great view of the racetrack. For those looking
to get their weekend started or keep the party going after dark, Club Sensory 3 offers dancing and nightly drink specials.
Keep Current The Presque Isle Downs & Casino website, www. pidowns.com, provides a monthly Events, Promotions, & Entertainment calendar. Casino promotions such as Wacky Wednesdays and live entertainment, such as Presque Isle’s recent Yesterday – A Tribute to the Beatles event, are announced online well in advance so Presque Isle patrons can make room on their calendars to join in the fun.
Players Card Visitors to Presque Isle will want to sign up for the Presque Isle Downs & Casino Players Club card. Upon signing up, members receive a Classic Card which, when used on slots, mutual play, or at any point of purchase earns the member points. There are several levels of Club membership, each with increasing rewards and privileges. Players Club members receive special discounts and comps, invitations to player-only events, as well as mailings highlighting upcoming events and promotions at Presque Isle.
Location 8199 Perry Hwy.
Presque Isle Downs & Casino is owned and operated by The MTR Gaming Group, Inc. MTR also owns and operates two other middlemarket properties, one in West Virginia and the other in Ohio. Presque Isle has approximately 950 employees on payroll. During the live horse race season, their roster increases by another 125 employees.
Erie, PA 16509
Directions Located in Erie, Pennsylvania’s fourth largest city, Presque Isle draws visitors from three major metropolitan areas: Buffalo, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is easily accessible on Perry Highway, at Exit 27 off Interstate 90. Numerous bus lines make getting to Presque Isle easy, with group leader motorcoach incentive packages available for organizers of group trips to the casino. For guests staying overnight, there are plenty of hotels in the area, many of which offer casino guests an added incentive, such as a complimentary breakfast, free slot play, or a shuttle to transfer them between the hotel and the casino. For additional information, the casino can be reached at 1-866-ERIE-FUN. Without a doubt, Presque Isle Downs & Casino looks forward to welcoming you to their party.
48Tables Restaurants 3 and Eateries
Bars and Clubs
Racing Figures valid as of 10/01/11. Totals constantly changing per Casino Management decisions. All information interpreted from available data.
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 55
No matter what your taste in entertainment, with the options available at the Meadows Racetrack & Casino, you cannot help but have some fun. The Meadows is betting on that.
Location 210 Racetrack Rd
Entertainment at The Meadows runs the gamut from major headliners in their concert series to local and national acts in the intimate settings of their Silks Lounge and Pacers Bar venues. Or, for a fun twist, the Meadows Lanes, with their 24 stateof-the-art bowling lanes, let guests share a little friendly competition, celebrate a birthday or other special occasion, or host a corporate event. The Meadows luxury suites and banquet facilities provide the perfect settings for entertaining clients or holding exclusive events.
Washington, PA 15301
84 26 Poker
Restaurants and Eateries
Location Located just 25 miles south of Pittsburgh in Washington, Pennsylvania, the Meadows Racetrack & Casino is easily accessible at Exit 41 off Interstate 79. Motorcoach tours departing from dozens of towns in Pennsylvania and Ohio make traveling to the Meadows easy. All bus passengers receive a Slot FreePlay Bonus for use at the casino. Overnight travelers can find accommodations at one of the many nearby hotels, some of which offer special casino packages such as free slot play and shuttle service between the hotel and the casino.
3 Bars and Clubs Harness
Tastes to please every palate Players will find dining options available to please every palate. The food court offers everything from pizza and roast chicken to specialty cappuccinos and a variety of sweet treats. The Terrace Café offers guests a casual dining experience, whether it be for
Figures valid as of 10/01/11. Totals constantly changing per Casino Management decisions. All information interpreted from available data.
56 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Fine dining can be had at the award winning Bistecca Steakhouse and Wine Bar which offers amazing views of both the racetrack and the casino floor. Delvin’s Café is located next to the racetrack, allowing diners the best views of all the live racing action. For those looking to relax with a fine cigar and after-dinner drink, Gybson’s Cigars & Spirits is the place to be.
Horse Racing The Meadows race track is a standardbred harness racing track with a history. It opened in June 1963, and was the first pari-mutuel horse racing track in Western Pennsylvania. The Meadows is unique in that it is open year round, running more than 200 live races on its 5/8 mile oval track each year. The most prestigious race at the Meadows bears the name of Delvin Miller, famous horse trainer and harness driver, and his equally famous horse Adios. Horse racing fans enjoy a variety of promotions at the track each month and can view races across the country via simulcast.
History The Meadows casino also has an interesting history. Barely ten months after being awarded a gaming license, a temporary casino was built and opened in June 2007. Several months later, construction began on what was to become the permanent casino on the site of the race track’s original grandstand. When the second, permanent casino opened in April 2009, the temporary casino closed.
With the new casino came a new, covered grandstand, the restaurants, the bowling alley, and other amenities.
Gaming Floor The Meadows casino provides gamers with more than 3,300 slot machines. In July 2010 they opened their table games operation, providing 68 tables with limits as high as $10,000. The casino features all the popular games such as Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, and Pai Gow Poker. In addition, a 26-table stateof-the-art poker room allows players to test their skills at Texas Hold’em, 7-Card Stud, and Omaha in a quieter, more intimate setting. Interested poker players can participate in daily tournaments as well as quarterly tournaments and even those for qualifying in the World Series of Poker.
Contact The Meadows can be reached by calling (724) 503-1200 or visiting meadowsgaming.com. In planning for its future, the Meadows has partnered with the Community College of Beaver County to offer accredited Table Game and Casino Dealer Training classes. Employing approximately 1,700 people, the Meadows management team strives to make the Meadows Racetrack & Casino a worldclass entertainment destination, where every guest can have some fun.
It’s always Mountain Time at the award-winning Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono, where Mother Nature meets Lady Luck.
Award Winning Facility
The resort was built on the site of the former Mount Airy Lodge, which was first built in 1898 and known as America’s premier honeymoon hideaway destination. Open since November 2007, Mount Airy Casino Resort, situated in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, has clearly reinvented itself. In 2011 Mount Airy Casino Resort received an amazing 20 first place “Best of Gaming” awards in categories ranging from rooms and suites to casino and players club to buffet and coffee shop. The resort is also the first Pennsylvania resort and casino to receive the prominent AAA four-diamond rating. A variety of year round events, promotions, and entertainment keep loyal customers coming back for more.
The resort’s restaurants will tempt you to indulge in all your cravings as you let your taste buds go exploring. Red Steakhouse, recently honored with an OpenTable Diners’ Choice award, serves prime cuts of steak and fresh seafood. La Sorelle Cucina offers a wide range of Mediterranean and classic Italian fare. Betty’s Diner serves up favorite American meals all day long amid its 50’s-inspired décor. A sumptuous buffet and noodle bar, as well as Reggie’s Express offer additional dining options.
All the hottest games Mount Airy’s casino beckons guests to play in the great indoors. With a gaming floor that spans over 65,000 square feet and more than 2,450 slot machines, players will find the most popular slots from the classics to the hottest games, and stakes from one cent to high limits. Mount Airy’s 72 live tables offer all the favorites including Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and specialty games such as Pai Gow and Let It Ride. Live poker action takes place at one of the casino’s 11 tables in the Poker Parlor where players test their skills at Omaha, Stud, or Hold ‘em and try their luck at any of the ongoing tournaments.
Bars and Lounges The nightlife at Mount Airy lets you put a little wild in your life. Each of the resort’s bars and lounges offers something unique. Gypsies Lounge & Nightclub provides a premier nightclub experience with its live dance bands and in-house DJ. Red’s piano bar lets visitors relax with a quiet drink while enjoying the live entertainment. The Glass Bar, in the heart of the casino floor, lets patrons catch a game on one of the flat screen TVs available.
Overnight Lodging Overnight guests can stay at the resort’s hotel, where the rooms are described as the very nature of luxury, exceeding the highest quality rooms available in the Pocono Mountains. The resort is currently promoting its New
Year’s Eve Guest Package for two as well as other packages that let visitors take advantage of all the amenities the resort has to offer. An onsite spa, salon, and fitness center let guests indulge and rejuvenate. Golfers will enjoy the challenge of the Hal C. Purdy 18-hole championship golf course where they will experience rolling hills, treelined fairways, ponds, lakes, and streams.
Location 44 Woodland Rd. Mount Pocono, PA 18344
Entertainment The entertainment and events calendar is always full at Mount Airy. Boasting world class entertainment, guests can catch headline acts such as the upcoming Crystal Gayle Holiday Show and other live concerts and acts. Theater-goers will enjoy shows from the resort’s Matinee Series, oftentimes a sellout. Special events, promotions, and giveaways round out the happenings and keep the loyals coming back for more.
Restaurants 6 and Eateries
Bars and Clubs
Location Mount Airy Casino Resort is located at 44 Woodland Road in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, off PA Route 611. The resort is accessible in two hours or less from New York City, northern New Jersey, or Philadelphia. For additional information on Mount Airy Casino Resort, visit: www.mountairycasino. com or call 1-877-MTAIRY1 (1-877- 682-4791).
lodging Figures valid as of 10/01/11. Totals constantly changing per Casino PON decisions. All information Management COU interpreted from available data.
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 57
Welcome to Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, where you can expect to receive the red carpet treatment. Located in Grantville, Pennsylvania, Hollywood is also known as a racino, that is, a facility that combines a casino with a race track on the same property. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is owned by Penn National Gaming, Inc., who also presently owns, operates, or has ownership interests in 26 other gaming and racing facilities across 18 distinct jurisdictions.
Location 777 Hollywood Blvd
Live Racing Events The live thoroughbred stakes at Penn National Race Course attract top horses as well as leading jockeys and trainers. Races include the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, a five-furlong race run on turf—the richest, oldest stake on the annual racing calendar. During the race season, live racing is hosted every Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. Penn National is one of the few race tracks in the country to offer live thoroughbred racing on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Grantville, PA 17028
49 16 Poker
Gaming If slots are your game, Hollywood Casino offers nearly 2,500 slot machines of all types—reels, video slot, and video poker, with bets ranging from one cent to $100. For those who prefer a quiet round of poker, play is available at any one of the 16 tables in the casino’s poker room. No Limit Texas Hold’em tournaments in the poker room keep the action going on a daily basis. The casino also offers 40 varied table games such as Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Mini-Baccarat, Spanish 21, and other popular offerings. Members of the Club Hollywood rewards program will add points to their club account every time they play in the casino—points they can later exchange for valuable rewards.
Restaurants and Eateries
3 Bars and Clubs Thoroughbred
Fine to Casual Dining
Figures valid as of 10/01/11. Totals constantly changing per Casino Management decisions. All information interpreted from available data.
58 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
With its variety of dining options Hollywood offers something for everyone. The multi-award winning
Final Cut Steakhouse offers fine dining, fine wine, and outstanding service. Both regular and exclusive dining events at this restaurant draw guests who truly appreciate a first class dining experience. Casual fare accompanied by premium beer and spirits await sports fans at the Hollywood Skybox Sports Bar, with more than 50 largescreen TVs throughout for guests to catch all the sports competition. During live thoroughbred horse race events, fans can enjoy casual dining and nightly specials trackside as they cheer on their favorite horse at the Mountainview Dining & Terrace Lounge. Casual dining on the casino floor, racing concessions near the live and simulcast horse racing, and the Epic Buffet offer a large selection of American, Italian, and Asian cuisine, including fast food and breakfast favorites.
Entertainment Year round live musical entertainment is available at Hollywood on the Roof where nationally acclaimed bands pay tribute to such legendary performers as The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Neil Diamond, and others. On the weekends, guests can dance the night away to their favorite classic rock and country tunes.
Group Facilities Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
makes a unique venue for an unforgettable banquet or business event. Hollywood’s 6,500 square feet of meeting and function space accommodate up to 450 attendees who will undoubtedly enjoy their view of the picturesque Blue Mountains or thrill to the fast-paced action of a live horse race from an outdoor patio. In keeping with their Hollywood theme, guests can also visit the onsite Hollywood Memories Museum, where they will see memorabilia from such films as Superman or Cleopatra, and actual costumes worn by the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive Gift Shop offers shoppers clothing items with the casino logo and other collectables, as well as jewelry, candles, and sundries.
Location Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is located at 777 Hollywood Boulevard in Grantville, Pennsylvania. The Casino is accessible from Exit 80 off Interstate 81, an easy 15-minute drive northeast of Harrisburg. Bus groups are welcome, and motorcoach transportation to Hollywood is available from many localities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Full details on the casino and race course are available at: www.hcpn.com.
Situated on the site of the historic Bethlehem Steel plant, Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is an easy drive from Philadelphia, New York City, Northern New Jersey, and Northeast Pennsylvania. It is accessible from Exit 67 off Interstate-78. Motorcoach and bus services operate out of New York City, Philadelphia, and other surrounding areas to bring patrons to the resort. For those flying into the area, the Sands Resort is just 10 minutes from the Lehigh Valley International Airport Lodging The Sands considers itself the largest full service hotel in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Lodging includes 302 guest rooms, including six Presidential Suites and 16 Executive Suites. Visitors will find the latest amenities in all rooms: high-definition flat screen TVs, wireless internet service, and media hubs. Overnight guests receive a complimentary continental breakfast. Other on-site features include an indoor swimming pool and fitness room. A 5,000 square foot meeting center along with 3,000 square feet of prefunction and exhibit space let businesses and groups hold events in state-of-the-art facilities.
Shopping Visitors can make holiday purchases at Sands & Co., the resort’s upscale gift shop offering such items as specialty décor items for the home, handcrafted jewelry from local and regional artisans, Bethlehem Steel memorabilia, and unique gifts that feature the Sands logo. Shoppers can look forward to the opening of The Shoppes at Sands, an indoor mall slated to open by the end of 2011, with 30-35 luxury outlet shops that will connect the hotel to the casino.
Star Power Dining
Lagasse signature restaurants, including Emeril’s Chop House, Emeril’s Italian Table, and Burgers and More by Emeril. Traditional Irish fare can be had at St. James Gate Irish Pub and Carvery, while several other eateries provide American and European cuisine, deli-style food, and the traditional fast food options. Connoisseurs of good food and drink will be pleased to know the resort offers special dining events, including beer and wine dinners.
Entertainment Entertainment at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem offers something for everyone. Guests can enjoy themselves in one of several entertainment venues, relaxing with live or DJ music, sipping specialty drinks and cocktails, or just taking in the ambience of the distinct lounge settings.
Gaming Floor Of course a trip to the Sands would not be complete without spending time in the casino. Did we mention the casino is nearly the size of three football fields? Gaming options include over 3,000 slot machines, 100 table games, and a newly-opened 23-table poker room, all of which let players test their luck (and skills!) at a variety of traditional favorites and fun new games. Check the Sands’ monthly calendar
Location 77 Sands Blvd.
for ongoing promotions and gaming specials.
Bethlehem, PA 18015
History The property on which Sands Resort Casino Bethlehem sits is rich with an impressive history. Bethlehem Steel occupied the property from the mid-1800s until closing its doors in 1995. Bethlehem Steel produced more equipment for use in World War I and World War II than any other builder. Major projects produced by this company include the Lincoln Tunnel, the Chrysler Building, the George Washington Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, Rockefeller Center, the U.S. Supreme Court, and more. Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem purchased the famous property in 2007. The casino first opened its doors in May 2009 and the hotel just two years later in May 2011. Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp., owner of other casino and resort properties in Las Vegas, Nevada, Macau, in China, and its latest property in Singapore. Today, Sands Resort Casino Bethlehem works with businesses and groups to establish programs for rejuvenating the local community.
The Sands promises an unforgettable dining experience at any one of their restaurants, offering variety in both fine and casual dining. The resort boasts not one, but three Emeril
Restaurants 7 and Eateries
Bars and Clubs
Figures valid as of 10/01/11. Totals constantly changing per Casino PON decisions. All information Management COU interpreted from available data.
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 59
The events calendar at the award winning Rivers Casino is chock full of promotions, big name acts, and popular theater shows, making the Rivers one of Pittsburgh’s most engaging destinations. The entertainment, gaming, and night life offer something for everyone. Rivers wants you to get your hands on everything they have to offer, all of which is detailed on their website, www.theriverscasino.com. The entertainment, combined with casino gaming, restaurants, bars, and Players Club all contributed to Rivers Casino receiving numerous Casino Player Best of Gaming Awards in 2011, including Best Overall Gaming Resort and Best Casino.
Location 777 Casino Dr.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Music of Rivers Guests at the Rivers can get into the beat at the Drum Bar, where synchronized lights and high-energy music keep the momentum of the party going. Levels lounge overlooking the casino and Spiral Bar in the middle of the casino floor let players take a break from the games to enjoy signature cocktails or just relax. There are nightly drink and food specials as well as live or DJ musical entertainment just about everywhere you turn, playing live jazz, oldies, or contemporary music. With the variety of settings and ambience in each venue, visitors will want to try them all.
Restaurants and Eateries
4 Bars and Clubs
The restaurants at Rivers Casino offer tantalizing fare for all tastes, whether you are looking for a quick snack at the West End Café, an all-youcan-eat lunch or dinner at the Grandview Buffet, or fine dining at the award winning Andrew’s Steak & Seafood restaurant. Andrew's, recently named an OpenTable Diners’ Choice winner, offers an exclusive wine list along with breathtaking views of the waterfront. Wheelhouse Bar & Grill, with its contemporary flair, distinguishes itself with occasional live entertainment as well as flat screen TVs throughout to
Figures valid as of 10/01/11. Totals constantly changing per Casino Management decisions. All information interpreted from available data.
60 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine
watch all the sports you can handle. It offers comfortable seating so you can relax and root for the home teams while watching the game on one of the largest TVs in Pittsburgh.
Great Gaming Guests will want to get their hands on any one of the multitude of games available at Rivers Casino. The 120,000 square foot gaming floor contains nearly 3,000 slot machines. Whether betting one cent or $100, Rivers has all the popular favorite slots as well as the hottest new machines. Games at any one of the casino’s more than 100 tables include Craps, Roulette, Pai Gow Poker, Casino War, Blackjack, and others. The newest table games adding to the fun are Rapid Roulette and iTables. The Rivers 30-table poker room guarantees non-stop action with daily tournaments and monthly promotions. Among the games offered are Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha. The Rivers poker room is so popular players may want to request a reservation for a seat up to one hour before playing. Adding to the fun is the casino’s Football Pick’em promotion which runs through January 1, 2012. Players make their pigskin picks each week for a chance to win cash and free slot play.
Great for Groups There is plenty of room for a large meeting or event at the Rivers Casino 10,000 square foot banquet facility. Guests stepping out onto the balcony of the banquet room will enjoy a view of the
city and the river. Rivers has partnered with area hotels to offer guests overnight casino packages, some of which offer free slots play coupons and other casino-related amenities. To facilitate travel, shuttle service between the casino and several hotels runs 7 days a week. Apparel and other merchandise sporting the Rivers logo is available at the Rivers gift shop, open daily. Shoppers can also purchase seasonal merchandise, sports team collectibles and memorabilia, jewelry, Rivers Casino gift certificates, and assorted sundries.
Location Rivers Casino is located at 777 Casino Drive in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It opened in August 2009, and employs more than 1,300 people. The casino is located near the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers in Allegheny County. It is in the section of Pittsburgh known as the North Shore, adjacent to Heinz Field and PNC Park. With all the games, promotions, dining, and entertainment options available at Rivers Casino, visitors will want to sign up for a Rivers Edge Players Club reward card the minute they walk through the doors, getting their hands on as much fun as possible.
SugarHouse Casino is conveniently located just minutes from Center City Philadelphia, in the city’s Fishtown neighborhood on the Delaware River waterfront.
Building a presence The casino complex is being built in several phases, as it expands to cover 250,000 square feet of land on the Delaware River—land that was once occupied by the Jack Frost Sugar Refinery. SugarHouse Casino, which recently celebrated its “Year Won” anniversary, opened in September 2010 as part of the first construction phase. Future phases of the SugarHouse project will include additional dining and retail establishments, an expanded gaming floor, a poker room with a more spacious high-limit room, improvements to the casino’s public river walk and bike path, an expanded parking garage, a 500-room hotel with health spa, and a 30,000-square-foot event center. Construction on the next phase will commence in mid-2012 and is expected to complete in the fall of 2013.
Expanding Employment Today the state-of-the-art facility contains slot machines and table games along with a number of dining and retail facilities. It currently employs approximately 1,000 people and will add another 500 employees once the expansion is complete. With free parking and public transportation, getting to SugarHouse is easy, whether from New Jersey, Delaware, Philadelphia, or the suburbs. Daily, the Sugar Express bus
transports casino guests at no charge between select areas of Philadelphia and the casino.
Games SugarHouse gamers will enjoy playing on 1,600 stateof-the-art slot machines. TV screens on the slots let guests play on their favorite slot machine while keeping tabs on their favorite sports team. Progressive slots and video poker are also available. Live games on 53 tables include Blackjack, Mini Baccarat, Midi Baccarat, Pai Gow, Texas Hold ‘em, Craps, Roulette, and more. Players can sign up for a free Rush Card to earn SugarCubes any time they play. SugarCube rewards include free slot play, complimentary food and drink, giveaways, sweepstakes, invitations to events, and more, depending on the level of Rush rewards earned.
Delectable Dining Dining at SugarHouse is described as delectable. In addition to hosting a daily Happy Hour, the Refinery serves a variety of dishes that are sure to please any palate. Micro-brewed beers paired with the meal enhance the experience. An outside patio, open when seasonably warm, lets diners enjoy a view of the Delaware River. During football season the Refinery hosts its own tailgate party with food and drink specials and 120 LCD
TVs so fans will not miss a minute of the game. Jacks Sandwiches & Sweets, open 24 hours, lets guests grab a quick bite to eat from sandwiches and salads to baked temptations. Specialty coffees and teas round out Jacks menu. Diners can cheer for their favorite teams at Big Red, where large screen TVs and stadium-style food will make them think they are right at the big game.
1001 N. Delaware Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19125
Entertainment SugarHouse Casino entertainment and events offer live and DJ music to get guests Dancin’ on the River, Partyin’ on the River, or Swingin’ on the River. Philadelphia’s own Jerry Blavat, renowned DJ also known as The Geator with the Heator, packs the dance floor when he is at the casino spinning rock favorites. Other live entertainment gets the party started and keeps it going. Gamers can participate in special promotions to win free food, free slot play, and more. Join the fun during football season as SugarHouse has its $1,000,000 football challenge. Participants play for free, and have a weekly chance to win cash and free slot play as well as a trip to see the Super Bowl in Indianapolis in February.
Restaurants 4and Eateries
Bars and Clubs
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 61
Crowne Plaza Philadelphia Bucks County is the Hotel Choice of Parx Casino Located just minutes from Parx, 214 Newly Renovated Guest Rooms, 5,500 sq ft of Meeting Space, Free Wi-Fi, Indoor Pool, Hot Tub, Sauna & Fitness Center Hertz Rental Car & Men Trendz Barber Shop Enjoy Two On-site Restaurants Bradyâ€™s Lounge and our Newest Addition Global Bistro
4700 Street Road Feasterville Trevose, PA 19053 Call 215-364-2000 Visit us online at www.cpbuckscounty.com
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Gambling Problem? Call 1.800.GAMBLER. January 2012
Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine 63
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64 Pennsylvania Gaming™ Magazine