Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hollywood Casino Excursion

Charles Town Races & Slots recently changed its name to Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The good news is that this name was prompted by the addition of table games. The bad news is that the Charles Town Races & Slots song appears to have been retired. (Unfortunately, I can’t find this extremely catchy jingle anywhere online.)

We drove to Charles Town, West Virginia on Sunday to check out the new-and-improved casino. Before I get into the casino itself, can I mention the brilliance of West Virginia? You think I’m going to make a joke here, but I’m not. Every car in the parking lot had Virginia and Maryland license plates. I also saw a handful of DC plates and even one from Florida, but I don’t think I saw one West Virginia car. (The employee lot was probably elsewhere.) The Mountain State and the casino itself must make millions and millions of dollars annually from out-of-state residents.

So we entered the casino and found tables for blackjack, Pai Gow, roulette, three card poker, craps and more. This made me happy! As I approached each table though, I was shocked by the minimum bets requirements. $25 for roulette and Pai Gow! $50 for blackjack! Although that was too rich for me, the high minimums didn’t seem to impact others as the tables were packed.

Maybe the high minimums were due to the fact that I visited the casino over the weekend. Nope. A friend visited the casino on Monday and gave me this report:

‎10:00 AM - BlackJack: 2 $25 tables full & 4 $50 tables full. At 11:40, they were going to open 2 other $25 tables @ noon. So, we waited, but then the pit boss came & changed it to $50 just before they opened it. B.S.!!! So, we played a few slot machines & called it a day. Plus, they were doing very loud construction in the same room. Brilliant!

Hollywood Casino doesn’t need to have $5 or $10 minimums. Unlike Las Vegas or Atlantic City where you can walk to the next casino, Hollywood Casino is the destination. If you live in the DC area, you’re driving 60-90 minutes to West Virginia to gamble. There’s no competition and nowhere else to go once you arrive. Well, there is a Sheetz next to the casino, but you can’t gamble there (or can you?). There is a pending vote to open a slots casino in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, but that’s still months if not years away. Plus, no table games. Maybe you can drive to Dover (has anyone been there), but if you want to take a day trip for table games, Hollywood Casino is your only option.

In case you’re wondering, I lost $6 on the final horse race of the day and $10 on slots and that was it.


tiny350Z said...

Dover indeed has table games. Apparently Harrington does as well. We plan on traveling out there in the near future to check out the limits. Though, it doesn't sound like they were nearly as prepared as Charlestown to open up these tables.

Maryland is losing quite a bit of money with their delay in opening any sort of gambling destination in general. You now have PA, WV, and DE surrounding MD with table games. And as you witnessed, the people of Maryland are willing to travel.

I'll update you once we make it out to Dover. It may be this weekend... they have Buffalo Wild Wings.

Sean said...

Thanks Tiny350Z. Please let me know what you think of Dover.