|777 Hollywood Blvd, Grantville, PA 17028||(717)469-2211||www.hollywoodpnrc.com|
Central Pennsylvania is home to a world-class horse racetrack – and a casino too!
Grantville’s Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is located in central Pennsylvania, somewhat between Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Reading. The property first opened in the summer of 1972 as Penn National Race Course. Casino slot machine gaming was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004 and in 2008, seeing table gaming on the horizon (it would be legalized in 2010), the racetrack operators added Hollywood Casino to the property.
Already offering racing action 365 days a year, the addition of a Vegas-style casino made this venue a very popular destination for the areas gamers, gamblers, and race fans. Visitors are now able to enjoy table games, slot machines, video poker and even a live poker room alongside live and simulcast horse races. The property also has several options on site for dining and drinking, although the evening entertainment selections are somewhat limited. Also of possible concern to visitors is the lack of an on site hotel, although there are several lodging options nearby.
Lets look at the available gaming options
While the largest and longest lasting option for bettors here is the racetrack, the casino has a lot of action as well. The casino floor hosts over 2450 slot and video poker machines along with 56 table games and the area’s only live poker room featuring 17 tables.
Hollywood Casino has heavily focused on slot machines and it shows. Boasting over 2100 different machines, they have a wide variety of different flashy and popular offerings. Limits range from penny machines to machines that can be wagered at $100 per pull. There is no segregated high-limit room so the higher end machines can be found throughout the casino floor.
Here’s just a small sample of the slots that can be found here:
- The Walking Dead
- The Price is Right
- Gold Rush
- Sphinx 3D
- Leprechaun’s Gold
- Penny Barn
…along with many many more.
Video poker machines
Hollywood Casino has 360 video poker machines dispersed among the slots on the casino floor. Here’s what you can find on offer in some detail:
|Game (number of machines)||Denomination(s)||Number of playable lines||Percentage Hold (with optimal play)||Paytable|
|Bonus Poker (24)||$1, $2, $5||1 Play||98.01 BP||1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40--80-50-800|
|Jacks or Better (24)||$1, $2, $5||1 Play||97.30% JoB||1-2-3-4-5-8-25-50-800|
|Double Double Bonus (60),(24)||25¢, 50¢, $1|
$1, $2, $5
|"Colorado Deuces" Deuces Wild (72)||25¢, 50¢, $1||1 Play||96.77 DW||1-2-2-3-4-13-16-25-200-800|
|Double Bonus (60),(24)||25¢, 50¢, $1|
$1, $2, $5
|Jacks or Better (72)||25¢, 50¢, $1||1 Play||96.15% JoB||1-2-3-4-5-7-25-50-800|
In comparison to the amount of their slot machines, Hollywood Casino has relatively few table games at 56 tables. Despite this, the casino offers a wide variety of different games to choose from. Where their limited number of tables can be a deficit is in the lack of lower-limit options when the casino gets full. On busy evenings and weekends, sometimes only $15 or $25 limit tables can be found.
Hollywood’s table game selection includes the following:
- Baccarat (mini)
- Blackjack (featuring the Lucky Ladies side bet)
- Spanish 21
- Big Six Wheel
- Let It Ride
- Four Card Poker
- Three Card Poker
- Fortune Pai Gow Poker
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em
- High Card Flush
- Cajun Stud
The poker room
The 17 table poker room isn’t the largest we have seen, but does get good action being the only available room in the immediate area. Games advertised are Texas Hold’em, Omaha (high and hi/lo), Seven card stud, and various mixed games. The room is friendly and players can call 30 minutes in advance of arrival to list their name on the signup board. Just call the main casino number (717)469-2211 and choose option 9.
The room spreads tournaments regularly (daily as well as special events) and offers various promotions such as a high hand promotion as well as a bad beat jackpot for the Hold’em games.
And best of all – the track!
Penn National Race Course is one of only a few in the country that offers live horse racing year-round. The track is also home to some special races including the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, the Pennsylvania Mile, and the Fabulous Strike Handicap. Races are run every Thursday through Saturday (and some Wednesdays) and begin at 6pm. There are also afternoon races on Mother’s Day.
Bettors need not look only to the track’s live races for opportunities. Races from all across the country are simulcast here and available for wagering.
Getting rewarded for playing!
Hollywood Casino is a Penn National Gaming property and as such, uses the card-based, 5-tiered Marquee Rewards player reward program. Players can sign up for free at the casino service desk. With the card inserted (or presented to the dealer), players earn rewards on slot machine, video poker, and table game play.
These rewards can be used on site of course, but even better, they can be used at any of Penn Gaming’s over 20 properties nationwide, including the M Casino and the Tropicana in Las Vegas.
A player’s tier status is determined by their amount of play during six month periods (the first and second halves of a calendar year). The point requirements per level are:
- Marquee: below 9,999 points
- Celebrity: 10,000-29,999 points
- Producer: 30,000-124,999 points
- Executive Producer: 125,000-399,999 points
- Icon: 400,000 and above
Regardless of tier level, Marquee Reward players all have access to free slot play, dining and hotel discounts and offers, sweepstakes offers, promotions, and invitations to special events. The amount of these offerings is variable based on the cardholder’s level of play.
Players who have reached the Celebrity tier and above also have access to discounted rates on Norwegian Cruise Line. Players who have reached the Producer tier and above also receive priority access at player services and select restaurants.
Players who have reached the Executive Producer and Icon tiers also receive these perks:
- A personal host
- Preferred parking and free valet parking
- VIP lounge access for the player and a guest
- Two free Norwegian Cruise Line cruises (up to 7 days each) annually
- An annual renewal gift
And finally, players who have reached the Icon tier receive these additional perks:
- An annual celebration dinner
- Annual $500 airfare reimbursement towards a cruise or casino trip
- Free annual three-night trip to any Marquee Rewards Casino (plus a $250 dining credit)
As of August, 2018, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course hasn’t entered Pennsylvania’s nascent online gaming market but it will do so soon. They have already applied for one of the state’s $10 million licenses allowing operators to offer online table games, slots, and peer-to-peer gaming (geek-speak for online poker). It is expected that they will partner with Scientific Games to run their online slots and table games. How they will handle their online poker tech needs is unknown at this time.
Pennsylvanian’s eager to gamble online in the meanwhile should consider giving Pennsylvania’s online lottery a try. The games are fun and easy to play and you can win real money. Even better, new players receive $5 free to play when they sign up.
What to do when you’re hungry?
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course won’t leave you in the lurch when it comes to dining. They have only one fine dining establishment but it’s an award winner. In addition, they have a wide assortment of restaurants, bars, and cafes to meet the needs of any and all hungry patrons. Here’s the list:
- Final Cut Steakhouse – Open Wednesday-Sunday, this high-end steakhouse earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for 2017.
- Epic Buffet – Open Wednesday-Sunday, this crowd favorite features American, Italian, and Asian cuisine as well as a carving station, salads, fresh veggies and a desert station.
- Skybox Sports Bar – Open 7 days a week and sporting 50 LCD monitors for all your sports-viewing needs. Serves burgers and other comfort foods along with premium beverages.
- Mountain View Dining and Terrace Lounge – Open only on live race nights and serving American cuisine close to the racing action.
- Home Stretch Pub & Deli – Open only on live race nights and serving cold drinks and quick bites with a view of the track.
- Paddock Cafe – Open only on live race nights and serving hot dogs, chicken fingers, fries and more just outside the racing apron.
- Hollywood & Grind – Open 24/7 and serving specialty coffees along with sandwiches, salads, bagels, pastries, and more.
- Celebrity Grill – Open 11am-9pm Sun-Thu; 11am-11pm Fri & Sat and serving contemporary American favorites.
- Glitterati’s – Open 11am-11pm Sun-Thu; 11am-2am Fri & Sat and serving pizzas, pastas, salads and Italian sandwiches.
- Mane Event Express – Open 1pm-9pm Fri & Sat; 1pm-5pm Sunday and serving quick bites and cold beverages adjacent to the racetrack’s Simulcast Theatre.
Let’s hope you’re entertained by gambling!
The entertainment options at Hollywood Casino are somewhat sparse. They do have a live music venue called H Lounge, but other than that, it’s all gambling opportunities, bars and restaurants. Not that those aren’t fun!
Where to stay?
Overnight visitors to Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course will be somewhat disappointed that there is no hotel on the property. However, there are several nearby. Here are some in Grantville, just one or two miles away from the casino:
- Holiday Inn
- Hampton Inn
- MainStay Suites
- Comfort Suites
- Days Inn
There are many more lodging options in Harrisburg (around 4 miles away) and Hershey (around 7 miles away). For visitors also planning on exploring the historic Hershey, Pennsylvania area and wanting something more than a basic hotel room, The Hotel Hershey gets good reviews.