Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack (Bensalem, Pennsylvania)
On my casino research trip to the Northeast I decided to see what all the hoopla in Pennsylvania was all about,
and why the dramatic decline of daily gamblers in Atlantic City.
I drove to Bensalem, Pa., home of the old Philadelphia Park Racetrack, which is now home to a new casino that has been renamed Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack. It is easy to see why West Jersey residents, as well as those in surrounding areas, have stopped taking the 40-50 mile trip to AC.
The Philadelphia casino is open 24 hours a day, offering a wide variety of slots, video poker and video table games, which are similar to those we wrote about at the Delaware racinos. It also caters to varying groups for dining, there is fast and ready to eat food, a buffet, and a gourmet restaurant
Wandering about I noticed that slots varied from penny games to $100 a pull slots, and there were both video and pull style machines. There is a diversified mix of slot machines housed in several areas. There are two full floors of casino action, which include a non-smoking area and a high stakes room.
The best feature of this newly minted casino is the video table game section. I enjoy playing blackjack and they had $5 tables, which were plentiful, and some electronic Roulette Tables. I did not try my luck at Roulette; however, I did sit and play several hands of Blackjack with a fine looking lady dealer that always seemed to be looking my way. The lady was in a TV screen with a backdrop of a much larger casino, and the table is a surface up LCD screen resembling a real table. There were several different dealers, each at their own table, male and female with varying backdrops.
For those of you that have not experienced this type of table game, I give you my assurances that your odds to come out the victor are greater than with a live dealer. Besides the obvious difference of not having a human to curse when you bust, the machines have buttons that you use as your options progress on the hand. Another benefit as I see it is that the dealer does not take breaks, there are no switching of dealers, and the pit boss is noticeably, and thankfully, missing.
This type of gaming is becoming the norm for slots casinos across the country. It is almost certain that when Florida gives the Seminoles the right to have full-blown casinos, the existing pari-mutuals will most certainly lobby for these types of table games to try to maintain existing customers and attract new customers.
The people that were at Philadelphia Park Casino the day I was there all seemed to be having fun, smiles on most faces, lots of networking, and a great social atmosphere providing opportunities for singles to mingle. Gamblers were there to enjoy themselves by socializing, dancing to local bands, eating great food and of course, gambling.
I was somewhat luckier here than at Atlantic City, the blackjack table I was at gave me an increase in my pocketbook of $210 after just 45 minutes of playing. The slots were looser than in AC. With games like wild 7ís, Wheel of Fortune and Double Diamond, among others, were all busy. It was easy to find a machine and my money lasted much longer at those machines than it does in AC.
I found the Casino to be a friendly place. Everyone working there was outgoing, pleasant and helpful. The people gambling were also friendly and willing to make new friends. Of course, most were there to gamble, but I saw it as the new place to be to meet someone special.
One could find a playmate in almost any area of the facility, either at the circle bar, which has live entertainment 5 days a week, or the video poker bar where you can play poker and watch your favorite sporting game on big screen TVs.
Pennsylvania will benefit in many areas due to gambling expansion, and they are doing it the right way. There is high competition in the Northeast for people to spend their recreational dollars and PA appears to have found a way to attract both young and old to their facilities. My hat goes off to PA for their innovative methods and the creation of a good destination that is fun.
Reviewed by Bob Hartman, senior writer for Casino Gambling Web.
Philadelphia Park Casino
3001 Street Road
Bensalem, PA 19020