Making the News

Philadelphia Inquirer

Originally Published:Friday, July 9, 2010

CasiNotes: Table games going live soon in Eastern Pa. casinos
The countdown to table games in Eastern Pennsylvania casinos has begun

By Chuck Darrow
Philadelphia Inquirer

If all goes according to plan, the dice will roll and the card shuffling will begin Tuesday at Mt. Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono. On July 18, four other gaming halls - Parx in Bensalem, Harrah's Chester Casino & Racetrack, Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre - will begin offering such games as blackjack, craps, roulette and poker, as well as Asian games like Pai Gow Poker. These debuts will come after yesterday's rollouts at three properties in the western part of the state.

Needless to say, anticipation in the Keystone State's gaming industry hasn't been this high since the first slot machines were fired up in 2006.

"Since the day we opened our casino, customers have asked us about the possibility of adding 'live' table games to the mix," said Sands President Robert DeSalvio. Public interest has been so great, he added, "That we have customers literally standing and watching [table installations]. They ask us, 'Can you open any games early?' I think there's going to be wide acceptance by our customers."

And in a statement released by his casino, George Toth, president and CEO of Mt. Airy (like DeSalvio, a former executive of the demolished Atlantic City Sands), could barely conceal his excitement.

"We are now counting down to a monumental day for all of us here who have lived, breathed and dreamt of the launch of table games at Mt. Airy Casino Resort," Toth wrote. "As July 13th approaches, we are elated and excited for the chance to finally announce, 'Let the games begin!' "

Of course, not everyone is as thrilled to see table games west of the Delaware River. Until a few weeks ago, when Delaware properties began offering them, Atlantic City had the tri-state monopoly on live blackjack and the like. According to one gaming industry analyst, Pennsylvania's entrance into the table-game fray will be another tough blow, but probably not a fatal one, for the seaside gaming capital.

"It's another negative that more than likely will extend Atlantic City's negative year-to-year numbers, which right now stands at 21 months," offered Joe Weinert of the Linwood, N.J.-based Spectrum Gaming Group.

"I think the impact is going to be limited because Pennsylvania's casinos don't have the amenities [like celebrity-chef-run restaurants and big-name entertainment] to attract premium table game players.

"But for the everyday, middle-market blackjack player, blackjack in Pennsylvania is the same as blackjack in Atlantic City. They're going to play closer to home."


'The Situation' celebrates


You can't accuse Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of "Jersey Shore" fame of not making the most of his inexplicable stardom. Since the MTV series made him and his fellow "guidos" and "guidettes" famous, he has used AyCee as his own personal ATM, making paid guest appearances at various casinos.

He'll be back tomorrow at Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal for what is being billed as an evening-long birthday bash (hard to believe they haven't yet made the day a national holiday). The Situation turned 28 on Monday.

From 7 to 10 p.m., His Ab-ness will lead the revelry at the Trump Plaza Beach Bar, after which, at the stroke of midnight, he'll hit Casbah, the Taj's danceteria.


You gotta have Hart


Who's the hottest comic on the boards today? Says here it's Kevin Hart, the 30-year-old, Philly-born-and-bred funnyman who performs tonight at 8 and 11 at the Music Box inside Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa.

Besides selling out gigs around the country, Hart has just announced he'll be doing an hour-long stand-up special on Comedy Central - his second such effort for the network in less than two years.

Both of tonight's shows have been sold out for a while, but you can start saving your pennies. We hear he is expected back at the Big B in December.


We have a winner

Congrats and a big, wet "Yada-yada!" to Barry Mortzfield of Downingtown, who, along with a guest, will join the missus and me at Borgata for tomorrow night's sold-out performance by Jerry Seinfeld.

We'll start the evening with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at Michael Mina's Sea Blue. After Seinfeld's set, we'll head to Fornelletto for what promises to be a sumptuous Southern Italian feast.

Many thanks to all who entered the contest.



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