Following the 2004 approval of casinos in the state of Pennsylvania, two casinos have opened close to my home. Hollywood casino is located in Grantville, just a few minutes away from Hershey. The Sands casino is located in Bethlehem, just a few miles from Allentown. Both casinos are an excellent alternative to Atlantic City; the same atmosphere and attractions closer to home. Hollywood and Sands offer free parking, multiple dining options, entertainment, and frequent promotions. Since the 2010 approval of table games, both casinos have added poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette. Hollywood and Sands both offer player cards and free play opportunities. If you love the casino atmosphere but hate traveling to Atlantic City, these casinos are perfect.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course – Hershey, PA
Hollywood Casino is a great weekend destination. In addition to the casino, the Hershey area offers many attractions for all ages and interests.
The casino has several restaurants which range from fine to casual dining experiences. Final Cut Steakhouse is the fine dining choice at Hollywood. Entrees start at $25 and include steak and seafood options. The Epic Buffet really does live up to its name. The buffet offers an impressive soup and salad bar along with Asian entrees, traditional American and Italian cuisine, and a dessert buffet filled with goodies. On weekends the buffet includes prime rib and seafood. The Skybox Sports Bar and Celebrity Grill offer casual dining experiences with simple menus. Glitterati’s is Hollywood’s Italian grill offering traditional pizzas and pasta. The Mountain View Dining & Terrace Lounge is open on racing days and offers entrees, soups, salads, and sandwiches. For sweet treats and coffee, the Extras Coffee Bar is open 24 hours. The casino also has a bar located in the center of the casino for drinks and entertainment . In addition to servers providing beverages for players at slots and tables, there are two self-serve beverage stations. The stations are stocked with complementary soft drinks and coffee.
In addition the slots and table games, Hollywood Casino has horse racing. Live racing can be seen Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Post time is 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. seasonally. There is a large outside viewing area surrounding the track. Spectators can stand at the fence or sit at tables. Check out Penn National for more information.
In addition to the casino, Hershey is full of sightseeing, entertainment, and culture. For ideas and attractions, visit Hershey’s website .
I’ve had nothing but positive experiences each time I visited Hollywood. The horse racing is a fun experience and adds a twist to traditional slot machine gambling. I’ve dined at the Epic Buffet and Glitterati’s. Both meals were excellent. I enjoy the self-serve beverage stations and I love the décor and atmosphere of the casino. The casino has always been clean, bathrooms were well-maintained, and the entertainment was fantastic.
Sands Casino – Bethlehem, PA
Sands Casino is a mix of new and old. Located in the Bethlehem Steel complex, the casino has intertwined history with a modern casino floor. Sands is conveniently located just a few miles from Allentown.
Sands offers several dining options. For an upscale dining experience, visit Emeril’s Chop House. The Chop House has a great selection of steaks and seafood. For a more casual Emeril dining experience, Burgers and More by Emeril features burger, salads, and desserts. St. James Gate Irish Pub serves lunch and dinner and features traditional Irish dishes like shepherd’s pie. The bar in the Pub is open until 2 a.m. on weekends and hosts live entertainment. The Cobalt Café is the buffet dining option at Sands. It offers a breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet daily. The Market is a food court dining choice with burgers, pizza, sushi, and more. The Carnegie Deli, modeled after the famous New York location, features sandwiches and cheesecake. In addition to the Pub, there are three other bars located in the casino. Visit the Event Calendar for more information about live entertainment.
In addition to the casino and restaurants, a hotel is set to open in June 2011. The hotel, which will be adjacent to the casino, will include a fitness room, indoor pool, continental breakfast, and room service. Guests can begin making reservations for the 300 room hotel in March 2011.
Sands is a great casino for players who also enjoy entertainment. The bars are located right on the casino floor. Like Hollywood, this casino has always been clean, well-maintained, and the bathrooms were spotless. The Irish Pub has a great atmosphere and the food court offers endless options. I’ve also received free slot play several times throughout the time I’ve had my player card.
Ditch the long trip to Atlantic City and play in Pennsylvania. This is a great boost to our state economy!