Mount Airy Casino Resort Review
The latest on Mount Airy online gambling
While Mount Airy said it plans on offering sports betting in the state, the property still has not applied for a $10 million license. However, its online casino licenses are conditionally approved by the PA Gambling Control Board (PGCB). The casino is moving ahead, even announcing a new partnership with The Stars Group. The two should work together on all forms of online gambling. When that will happen though, is still anyone’s guess.
|Casino||Online Casino?||Online Poker?||Sports Betting?||Partners|
|Mount Airy Resort and Casino||Yes||Yes||Not yet||888, The Stars Group|
Mount Airy online casino overview
Mount Airy Casino is one of eight Pennsylvania casinos that applied for the $10 million triple package of interactive licenses the PGCB offered. The package contained licenses that allow Mount Airy to offer online table games, online slot machines, and online peer-to-peer games like poker.
The PGCB approved Mount Airy’s applications for all three licenses on Aug. 15. So, Mount Airy is licensed to release an online product at any time.
Mount Airy seems to have plans for multiple sites under its banner. Its deal with 888 will provide an online casino branded with the Mount Airy name. Because it can have multiple skins under the interactive licenses, it can also launch sites with its other partner, The Stars Group.
So long as the PokerStars product prominently features the Mount Airy name, it could theoretically operate under Mount Airy’s interactive licenses. However, neither have gone on record with official plans. Additionally, The Stars Group coud just apply for its own interactive license as a qualified gaming entity from outside of Pennsylvania.
With its license approved, expect Mount Airy to launch its online casino offering in early 2019.
Mount Airy Casino Resort Overview
All of the hotel rooms (but only certain sections of the casino) are non-smoking. Accommodations aren’t cheap, but a wide variety of special package deals and discounts are available. The following are some of the offers currently listed on the website:
- Save 20 percent on a deluxe room or luxury suite
- First-time visitors who join the Players Club prior to checking in receive a 25 percent discount
- Book a suite for two nights and receive a 30% discount
- Senior Days: Guests over age 55 who book a stay on a Tuesday or Wednesday night receive a 20 percent discount; AAA or AARP members receive a 10 percent additional discount
Room/entertainment packages include weekend accommodations for one night and two general admission show tickets.
- Play Package receive $30 in free slot play
- Golf Package including two rounds of golf per room
- Escape Package including $50/day buffet credit, a VIP coupon for shopping at The Crossings Premium Outlets, and $15 in free slot play
- Relaxation Package including $100 spa credit plus $15 in free slot play
As you can see, this resort includes something for everyone, so pick the type of accommodations that suit your needs best. You will probably get a slightly lower rate booking online than over the phone.
Of course, if you are a frequent or high-end player, you might get a better deal and possibly even qualify for free accommodations.
Who can play in the casino?
While children can stay at the resort, access to the casino is limited to guests age 21 and over. All Pennsylvania casinos have the same age requirement, which is strictly enforced.
Casino games overview
Mount Airy Casino is open 24/7. It is home to more than 1,800 slot machines and 70+ table games. The casino also includes a separate poker parlor. Slots, blackjack, and poker tournaments are scheduled periodically as well.
Security and Fairness
All Pennsylvania land-based casinos, including Mount Airy Casino, are licensed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). There are strict regulations regarding permissible games, rules, and payouts, by which each casino must abide.
Patrons of at Mount Airy Casino can be assured that they are playing in a secure environment and that the games are fair and meet the standards of the PGCB. When this casino first opened, some customers complained the blackjack games did not offer the late surrender option. This option was supposed to be available at all Pennsylvania casinos. However, based on the absence of recent complaints, the situation has presumably been corrected.
If you are a slot player, you should be very pleased with this casino’s vast collection. There are slots to suit any player’s bankroll and preferences, ranging from penny slots like Wheel of Fortune and Jackpot Party to a separate room of high-limit slots like Sex and the City.
Whether your tastes run more to the old classics or to some of the newer, more innovative slots, it is impossible to be bored being able to choose from such a wide array of games. We were impressed to see some of the relatively new slots from IGT that have quickly become a big hit with the younger crowd, like Sphinx 3D and Jenga Tower of Money. The immersive 3D graphics and multiple bonus features make games like these super exciting to play. Some of the other slots you might enjoy are:
- Willy Wonka-themed slots
- Super Monopoly Money
- Wheel of Fortune Triple Extreme
- Ellen Dance Party
- Michael Jackson
- Dragon Spin
- Big Money Wheel
- Twin Fire
- Hot Shot Revolution
The casino is also continually adding new games to the mix.
Payouts are fair, but not great
It is important to note, however, that there have been numerous player complaints that, over the years, the machines have become tighter. According to a 2014 Post Gazette article, these complaints are not without basis. Average slot machine payouts at the Pennsylvania casinos hover around 89 percent. Back in 2008, before table games were introduced in Pennsylvania casinos, the slot machines returned over 91 cents on the dollar.
PGCB spokesman Richard McGarvey says one reason for the fall off is more people are now playing table games, where the returns are higher than on slot games.
Another factor is the relatively high 55 percent tax rate on slots in Pennsylvania, which could account for operators doing what they can to increase their own cut. In any case, Pennsylvania law only requires slot payouts to be 85 percent, so the slots at Mount Airy Casino are clearly in compliance. Should you decide to play, it is strongly recommended whenever you find yourself slightly ahead, you pocket at least some of your winnings. The longer you linger at the machine, the more likely you are to give the money back.
Besides slots, Mount Airy Casino also offers the following:
- Video Poker
- Automated electronic roulette
- Double Back Blackjack: a blackjack variation that gives you a second chance even after you bust
- Midi baccarat
- Let It Ride
- Bix Six Wheel
- Pai gow poker
- Three card poker
- Texas Hold ‘Em Bonus Poker
- Criss Cross Poker (Players are dealt two cards face-down and five community cards in the shape of a cross, which are turned up sequentially. Betting includes an ante and several options thereafter either to place additional bets or fold.)
- Crazy 4 Poker (Similar to three card poker, but played with four cards instead)
- Mississippi Stud
- Poker parlor with nine tables spreading limit and no-limit hold ‘em, Omaha, and Stud
Both the regular roulette tables and the automatic electronic roulette game are available in a choice of either American roulette or European roulette. These two standard games are the only forms of roulette offered. The difference is that American roulette has both a single and double zero on the wheel, whereas in European roulette, there is just a single zero. The extra zero on the wheel in American roulette raises the house edge on that game to 5.26 percent, as compared to 2.71 percent for European Roulette. Since the casino offers both games, limit your play to European roulette, where the odds are more in your favor.
All of the roulette tables show the frequency of red/black, odd/even, and “hot” and “cold” numbers in case you like to follow such stats. But keep in mind that each spin of the wheel is independent and random, so following or not following a presumed “pattern” will not affect your probability of winning.
Blackjack is not only a game where the outcome depends on both luck and skill, but also where even slight variations in the rules can have a major impact on the quality of the game and your chances of winning. Good news for blackjack players who can conveniently get to the Pennsylvania casinos is that the current rules are among the best you are likely to find at any legal casino in the U.S. The PGCB has stipulated these rules:
- Six decks, machine shuffled
- Blackjack pays 3:2
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Doubling down permitted on any 2 cards
- Doubling down after splits
- Splits up to three hands (except aces)
- Late Surrender
When the correct basic strategy is used, the edge to the house is only about .40 percent.
Various side bets are also offered. For example, there is a bet called “21+3” where, if the player’s first two cards plus the dealer’s up-card form a straight, flush, trips, or a straight flush, the payout is 9-1. An occasional side bet for low stakes just for fun won’t hurt you, but don’t make these kinds of bets frequently due to the higher house edge.
A wide range of betting limits is permitted. However, low stakes player looking for $5 minimum tables and even $10 minimum tables should visit the casino on weekdays. During weekends and holidays, it is difficult to find any tables below a $15 minimum.
Many land-based casinos vary the rules for different limits. For example, at lower stakes tables, blackjacks might only pay 6:5 instead of 3:2 and/or the dealer might hit instead of stand soft 17. At the Pennsylvania casinos, however, small stakes players don’t have to settle for inferior rules. Furthermore, in 2012 when the temporary regulations expired and Pennsylvania gaming regulators met to possibly consider across the board toughening of the rules, no such action was taken. Instead, the existing liberal rules were made permanent.
DOUBLE BACK JACK
To hit or not to hit, that is the question anytime you are dealt a “stiff” hand (hard 12-16). Basic strategy dictates that, depending on the dealer’s up card, certain times you should take another card even though you run the risk of busting. Once you bust, you automatically lose your bet even if the dealer also busts, or do you? In regular blackjack, yes, but in DOUBLE BACK JACK, not necessarily!
If you bust, you have the option to make another bet for the same amount. You then receive one additional card whose value gets subtracted from your total. Aces count as 1 only; they cannot count as 11. Should your new total exceed 21, you lose both of your bets. If your new hand is under 21, the dealer finishes his or her hand. The second time around, if your hand beats the dealer’s, you win your DOUBLEBACK bet and push on your original bet. If the dealer beats you again, you lose both bets.
The poker parlor, like the rest of the casino, is open 24/7, but keep in mind that this is a tiny room, with only nine tables, so peak hours are clearly the best time to be looking for the games you want. Based on player reports, there are a lot of very poor players, so anyone with some semblance of poker skills should not have a problem finding beatable games.
Mount. Airy Casino offers a players’ rewards program called SmartPlay, which allows its players to choose when and how they redeem their rewards. Each time you play, you have an opportunity to increase your accumulated resort dollar bank. You can then use those resort dollars as you wish towards things like:
- Hotel rooms
- Concert tickets
- Golf course fees
- Spa treatments
Or, if you prefer, you can convert up to 50 percent of your resort dollars each week into slot dollars at the SmartPlay Kiosk. Earned rewards are valid only for a period of 12 months from the last day of the month they are earned, after which they expire.
Meanwhile, the tier points that you also earn based play determine your standing in the casino’s four-tiered Player’s Club. The four tiers are Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Onyx.
Bronze level players receive a $2 buffet discount and five percent golf discount.
Beginning at the Silver level, another perk is free valet parking. In addition, Silver level players receive a $3 buffet discount and five percent off for both the spa and golf.
Gold level players receive a $5 buffet discount and ten percent off for the spa and golf.
Onyx level players get both the buffet and golf free and 15 percent off at the spa. As you might expect, it takes a very high level of play to qualify for Onyx status (200,000+ points). But in return, these players can look forward to a wide array of extra rewards and benefits exclusively for them, like all of the following:
- Dedicated host
- Appreciation party
- VIP club access
- Freeplay bonuses
- Express promotion line and prime seating access
- Pool cover charge waived
Mount Airy Casino Resort in the Poconos combines the excitement of full -cale casino gambling with the added amenities of an upscale resort. There is plenty to do, both in and out of the casino, so it should be a fun place to visit for casual and serious players alike.
The main negatives to consider are:
- The heavy smell of smoke in the casino
- Mediocre return on the slot machines
- Difficulty earning meaningful comps
On the other hand, two areas where the casino really excels are the favorable blackjack rules and wide array of ongoing promotions which any player can access.
The next time you’re in the casino, stop by the Player’s Booth, or if you prefer, you can sign up online and your free card will be waiting for you to pick up.
Mount Airy Casino Resort
312 Woodland Road
Mt. Pocono, PA 18344