|210 Racetrack Rd, Washington, PA 15301||(724) 503-1200||meadowsgaming.com|
A Western Pennsylvania gem…
Located 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA in the town of Washington is a gem of a casino/racino. The Meadows is a large, lovely multi-activity entertainment and gaming facility offering horse racing, video poker, table games, slots, live poker, and even a bowling alley. The property has a bevy of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to entertain and refresh. Although there is no hotel technically “on property”, there is a Hyatt property attached via footbridge and offering regular shuttle service to and from the casino.
The Meadows opened in 1963. One of Pennsylvania’s six licenced “racinos”, it was the first track in the area to feature parimutuel betting. Slot gaming was added in 2007 in a temporary casino addition after the Pennsylvania legislature legalized the practice in 2004. In 2009, seeing that table gaming would soon also be legalized (in 2010) a permanent casino was built to accommodate the new business. This is the property as it stands and it’s a beauty – picturesque landscaping around a beautiful harness racetrack with a big beautiful Vegas-style casino attached.
Let’s take a closer look at this resort destination.
What’s in the casino?
The Meadows boasts a 350,000 square foot casino floor and it’s packed with gaming options. There are over 3,000 slot and video poker machines. There are over 67 table games. There is a 14-table poker “room” that is actually on the main casino floor rather than in a segregated area.
This property makes a noticeable attempt to cater to high stakes gamblers. Available betting limits across all games are higher than in many other Pennsylvania casinos. There are two separate high limit gaming areas (one for slots, the other for table games). Also, there are two VIP Lounges reserved for specific levels of play.
For both high limit and all other players, the casino offers a wide variety of promotions, sweepstakes, give-aways, and tournaments throughout the year to enliven the gaming experience for their guests.
Let’s look at each casino element in detail.
Where it all began – the horse racetrack
First and foremost, The Meadows is a racetrack and it’s a majestic one. The track is for harness racing and it offers live races year-round, on more than 200 days per year. If the live races don’t satisfy your betting desires, races from around the country are simulcast at The Meadows and bets can be placed on each and every one of them.
Slots and Video Poker
When you have 350,000 square feet of floor space, you can find room for a lot of slot machines. The Meadows has over 3,000 different slot and video poker machines on the floor. Limits range from penny machines to $100 limits on the main floor. In the separate high limit slot room, machines can be found that accept $375/spin bets.
All kinds of slots are on offer here. There are traditional three-reel machines as well as the modern multi-line video reel progressives. Since new and exciting slot variants are constantly introduced, The Meadows has carved out a special section called the New Game Zone where all the latest games are located.
All the slot and video poker machines use a ticket-based system for ease and convenience. Cash or tickets go in, tickets come out. These tickets are redeemable for cash at the casino cage or at cash-out machines scattered around the casino floor.
Here is a small taste of some of the slot machines found at The Meadows:
- Lord of the Rings
- Sphinx 3D
- Super Monopoly Money
- 88 Fortunes
- Buffalo Gold
- Lightning Link
- Chili Chili Fire
The Meadows has a decent ratio of machine games to table games and these are spread on over 67 tables. However, 12 of these are off the main floor, located in a high limit area. That means fewer tables for lower limit players and sometimes on busy nights and weekends the pinch can be felt. Unlike some of their snobbier brethren, The Meadows is one of the few Pennsylvania casinos to offer $5 betting limits, but when the place is full these will disappear. If you want to play smaller it is wise to go mid-week during the day.
For bigger players, the leash has been relaxed substantially. In the high limit room, the minimum bet is $50 and the maximum is $15,000. Special amenities available to players here include butler service, VIP Lounge access, and a private salon.
Only these table games are available in the high limit room at The Meadows:
- Baccarat (mini)
On the main casino floor, these table games are offered:
- Baccarat (midi)
- Texas Hold’em Bonus
- Let It Ride
- Criss Cross Poker
- Four Card Poker
- Three Card Poker
- Pai Gow Poker
- Mississippi Stud
- Big Six Wheel
All the blackjack games offer the 21+3 Xtreme, In Between (In Bet), and Blazing 7’s side bets. Blazing 7’s also has a progressive jackpot.
When is a poker room not a poker room?
When it’s on the main casino floor, that’s when! The Meadows spreads live poker games 24/7 right alongside the pit along with the regular table games. What this setup lacks in privacy and quiet it more than makes up for in additional walk-by traffic which leads to lots of new players. There are only 14 tables, but they get plenty of action. Games spread here are Texas Hold’em and Omaha (high or high/low).
The room offers a wide variety of special periodic promotions, the mainstays being a progressive bad-beat jackpot and frequent high hand payouts. There are also tournaments run daily as well as special tournament series offered throughout the year.
There’s a new player rewards system in town!
In January, 2018, The Meadows scrapped its old rewards system (The Meadows Players Club) for a new one simply called mychoice. All redeemable points previously held by players in the old system transferred over to the new one. It is free to join and has five different tiers – each having different benefits, perks, and rewards.
Players earn tier points (and eventually mycash points) at different rates depending on the game played. To ensure you earn all the points you’re entitled to, it is important to make sure you play machines with your mychoice card in the machine and hand the card to the dealer when playing table games.
- Slots – $10 coin-in = 1 tier point
- Video poker – $20 coin-in = 1 tier point
- Table games – points awarded based on game played, time played, and average bet wagered
As players earn points, they advance through mychoice’s five tiers. Once a tier has been achieved, that status is good for one full year after achievement. Here’s a look at the levels and the points required to unlock them:
- Choice – 999 tier points and below
- Advantage – 1,000-17,999 tier points
- Preferred – 18,000-49,999 tier points
- Elite – 50,000-199,999 tier points
- Owners Club – 200,000 tier points and above
Once a player has reached the Advantage level, in addition to earning tier points for play, they also earn mycash points. These are redeemable for cash, freeplay, or retail purchases on property. The points are more or less valuable, depending on which of these the player chooses.
Here’s how mycash points can be redeemed:
- Cashing points out directly: 50¢ for every $1 in mycash
- Redeeming points in free play: $1 free play for every $1 in mycash
- Redeeming points at retail/hotel/food outlets: $2 for every $1 in mycash
Here’s a breakdown of all the perks, benefits and amenities realizable at The Meadows property itself upon reaching each of the five tiers. Each tier also includes the benefits attached to each previous tier.
Choice – Players receive coupons and special dining/hotel offers based on play.
Advantage – Players unlock the mycash benefit feature outlined above and also become eligible for rollover points.
Preferred – Players receive an annual trip to Las Vegas, as well as VIP Lounge access (more below) and discounts on Royal Caribbean International cruises.
Elite – Players receive personal casino hosting, an annual trip to Las Vegas, Aruba, or San Juan, and an annual Royal Caribbean International cruise.
Owners Club – Players receive an annual Owners Club gift, VIP reservation line access, early gift and entertainment ticket pick-up.
The Meadows has two VIP Lounges for qualifying mychoice members:
- The Adios Lounge, conveniently located next to the high limit slot room, featuring butler service, high definition TVs, and fine cuisine.
- The Clubhouse, located at the north end of the casino, between the main cage and the Adios Lounge.
As of August, 2018, The Meadows hasn’t entered Pennsylvania’s nascent online gaming market. They haven’t even thrown their hat into the ring. Nine other Pennsylvania casino operators have applied for the $10 million license that allows them to offer online slots, table games, and peer-to-peer gaming (geek-speak for online poker). If The Meadows were to enter this lucrative market, they would probably rely on their relationship with Scientific Games as a technical partner in creating and managing their online gaming content.
For Pennsylvanian’s eager to gamble online while they wait for these casino operators to figure it all out, perhaps they should consider Pennsylvania’s online lottery. It’s quick, easy, legal, and you can win real money. They even give new players $5 free to play when you sign up.
All that gambling made me hungry!
The Meadows offers several restaurants to guests, ranging from quick and easy to more upscale options. Several of these have beautiful views of the racetrack and surrounding environs. There are also usually special promotions and discounts to be found if you look for them.
Here are your eatery options at The Meadows:
- Bistecca Steakhouse – An award-winning American steakhouse with an Italian flair, offering spectacular views of both the racetrack and the casino floor. Open seven days a week: 4pm-10pm (Sun-Thu) and 4pm-11pm (Fri-Sat)
- The Carvery – An upscale American eatery with views of the racetrack. Features a live carving station featuring prime rib, rotisserie chicken, turkey, salmon, and locally made sausages as well as fresh vegetables, salads, and soups. Open seven days a week: 11am-9pm (Mon-Thu) and 11am-10pm (Fri-Sat) and 11am-9pm on Sundays.
- Food Court – Features a wide variety of local fast food eateries including Silver Star Old-Fashioned Deli, Chips Fish & Chips, Cibo Pizzeria, Cookies Coffee & Sweets, and Franks American Grill. Open seven days a week: 11am-9pm (Sun-Thu) and 11am-12am (Fri-Sat)
- The Band Wagon – A crowd-favorite! An indoor food truck serving wings, sliders, lobster rolls, hand-cut fries and more. Open 5pm-close (Fri-Sat) and 1pm-close on Sundays.
- Delvins Trackside – A convenient eatery located right alongside the racetrack and serving pizza, pretzels, and finger foods. Open live race days: 30 minutes before post to the final race.
- The Pub at Meadow Lanes – A popular and funky burger, pizza and beer joint attached to the bowling alley. Open seven days a week: 12pm-9pm (Sun-Thu) and 12pm-12am (Fri-Sat)
I’ve gambled, I’ve dined – now entertain me!
After guests have eaten and gambled to their hearts content, The Meadows has some more adult (and other) options for nightlife and entertainment. One noteworthy mention is the inclusion of a full on site bowling alley. More commonly seen in Las Vegas, this is a unique feature for Pennsylvania casinos.
Here’s the bar/nightclub/entertainment options at The Meadows:
- CB – This cigar and cocktail bar is attached to Bistecca Steakhouse and offers gorgeous views of the racetrack and surrounding landscape.
- Headliners – This popular lounge features live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Details about upcoming acts can be found here.
- Vibe Ultralounge – This Vegas-style nightclub features live DJs and pulse-pounding music to let you dance the night away.
- Meadow Lanes – This is a 24-lane bowling alley with available food and bar service. Hours of operation vary based on season, league events, and private parties.
Finally, lets look at where you can rest your weary head – the hotel.
Although guests could stay further away, it’s difficult to see why you would ignore Hyatt Place, just a stone’s throw away from The Meadows. In fact, the hotel is connected to the casino via a footbridge and shuttles run regularly taking guests to and fro. Hyatt Place is a completely smoke-free property and has been awarded with TripAdvisor’s 2016 Certificate of Excellence. Rooms with king beds, two queens, or spacious 670 foot suites are available.
All rooms and suites include the following amenities:
- 42″ flat screen swivel-mounted HDTV
- Single cup coffeemaker
- In-room safe
- Luxury skin and hair care products
- Generous workspace
In addition, all hotel guests have access to the following:
- Complimentary breakfast buffet
- 24/7 room service menu
- Indoor heated pool
- Free garage parking
- Free Wi-Fi and free access to public computers with Internet access
- Complimentary shuttle to Tanger Outlet Center (or any other destination within a five mile radius)
If you are considering this lovely hotel as an option during your stay in the area, don’t forget to look here for special discounts and promotions.