The Casino File: A new Hollywood Casino opens in Berks County; Live! Pittsburgh introduces new amenities

The new Hollywood Casino in Morgantown.

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The Casino File: A new Hollywood Casino opens in Berks County; Live! Pittsburgh introduces new amenities

The two projects indicate that despite the explosive growth of online gaming, brick-and-mortar properties are still a crucial part of the Keystone State’s gambling industry.

Historically speaking, December is a quiet time for casinos as the public tends to be more focused on the holidays than on courting Lady Luck. But that’s hardly the case in Pennsylvania, which is seeing a flurry of activity as the days of 2021 trickle down to a precious few.

The big news is the planned Dec. 22 debut of Hollywood Casino Morgantown in Caernarvon Township. Owned by Penn National Gaming of nearby Wyomissing, the new gaming hall—which is awaiting the official okey-dokey to open from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board--is a relatively modest affair, with a price tag of $111 million, a mere bag of shells compared to the construction price of so many casinos.

The approximately 80,000-square-foot property—which does not include a hotel--is located at the confluence of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-176 and Pa. Route 10. The gaming area, which encompasses the main casino floor and a climate-controlled, outdoor terrace, features 750 slot machines and 30 table games. There is also a Barstool Sports-branded sports book.

Non-gaming amenities include three dining outlets, one of which is a 150-seat, full-service, pub-style operation that is part of the sports-betting parlor. Also on the munchies menu are a Tony Lukes cheesesteakery and the Red Lotus Asian Kitchen, which specializes in noodle dishes and Southeast Asian cuisine. Those seeking adult beverages can slake their thirst at Bar 76.

Hollywood Morgantown is Penn National’s fourth Pennsy casino. The others are Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Hollywood Casino at the Meadows and Hollywood Casino York.

Expansion at Live! Pittsburgh

Live! Casino Pittsburgh Tuesday celebrated its first anniversary by unveiling a number of additions and alterations.

The expansion project includes:

  • A poker room in what was the casino’s original banquet room (cards are expected to be in the air Monday after state approval is granted).

  • A reconfigured FanDuel FanCave that has been transformed into a luxe lounge boasting 13 leather recliners from which a 173” HD television can be viewed. The room’s sports-betting terminals remain.

  • Twenty live-dealer electronic gaming tables (expected to be operational by Dec. 23) at which blackjack and roulette will be offered.

  • A 7,000-square-foot Event Center that will host entertainment offerings as well as private parties, conferences, trade shows and the like.

A personal note

As this will be the final Casino File of the year, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a merry Christmas, happy Kwanza and a healthy, peaceful and joyous (and lucky!) 2022 from me and mine.

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