Local B&M reviews

bigjohn

Dormant account
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Northeast Coastal USA
In this thread I'm going to try to review the casinos I visit from my own viewpoint, basically a low rolling slot player who wants the total experience. If anybody has any personal experiences please feel free to add them or just let me know how I am doing. I'm mostly in the Northeast US area including New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. All my reviews will follow a similar layout and I'll keep it to a 2 or 3 minute read. Hopefully, I will review the 8 to 10 places I visit most often.
 

bigjohn

Dormant account
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Northeast Coastal USA
Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway

Intro:
Empire City Casino is located at Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York. After crossing the George Washington Bridge I travel north about 8 miles on the Major Deegan Expressway which turns into the New York State Thruway to Exit 2. During times of light traffic I can get there from my house in about 30 mins. For this reason it is probably my most frequented casino.

General:
There is no casino Hotel here but the casino is big, and getting bigger all the time. Plenty of parking with free shuttles to take you from your car to the casino. I usually park near one of the farther shuttle stops and rarely wait more than 10 mins. Weekend evenings the place is packed. The casino structure is fairly well maintained, clean restrooms, carpets vacuumed, windows washed and machines kept free of trash. The mechanical slot maintenance needs improvement, a lot of missing buttons and buttons that don't work, off color screens and stubborn bill acceptors and players card readers. The security staff responds quickly to any troublemakers that may pop up and they do pop up here. There is no smoking anywhere inside the casino.

Dining:
I have not tried any of the upscale eateries here but I find the Food Court and the Snack Bar adequate. Usually, from the food court, I'll get the General Tso's chicken combo or the King Hot Pastrami on rye, with a slice of cheesecake and a large diet cola it comes to about $17. From the snack bar, the meatball parm is awesome.

Slots:
The slots here are mostly Spielo, Bally, IGT, and Aristocrat. Big minus for me here is no Wizard of Oz or any other WMS games. The Bally 'Quick Hit Jackpot' and 'Jackpot 7' and IGT's 'Sex and The City' are probably my favs here. The 'Shen Long' (?) slot by Aruze is a fairly recent addition here and has given me some nice wins in the bonus round.

Players Club:
The comp dollars I earn from a few hours here are fairly meager, typically 5 or 6 bucks. The free play I receive is nice, usually I will walk away from the self serve kiosk with $25 to $40 of their money to play with and a 10% discount coupon for food. Plenty of small gift giveaways (towels and mugs and tote bags and stuff) and free admission to the Summer Concert Series shows. The concerts were small outdoor affairs featuring mostly older, has beens, ie; my kind of music.

Overall:
I enjoy my visits to Empire City. Best time for me is Saturday or Sunday morning and I usually end up staying about 4 or 5 hours. Typically, I'll bring about $100 with me and I go about twice a month. For me this is a 'small goals' casino, I bet small and if I leave 40 or 50 bucks ahead I am very happy and that happens maybe every 4 or 5 visits. Technically, Empire City Casino is an extension of The New York State Lottery. If something here is not to your liking don't bother looking for a slot host, there is no such thing here. As anywhere else in New York City you meet some real characters here and I have had some interesting conversations when I step outside for a smoke. A real cross section of society and IMO very enjoyable.
 

bpb

Banned User - repeated violations of rule 1.14 (tr
PABnonaccred
PABnorogue
Joined
Jun 17, 2004
Location
Haverhill
The slots here are mostly Spielo, Bally, IGT, and Aristocrat.

Ugh. Steer clear of anyplace with Spielo games. They're known cheats.

Good review format. Looking forward to more.
 

bigjohn

Dormant account
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Northeast Coastal USA
The Borgata

The Borgata Hotel and Casino

Intro:
The Borgata is located in the Marina District in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is about a 2 and a half hour drive from the metropolitan New York area. This is my 'home away from home' in Atlantic City. The Marina District is somewhat isolated from the rest of the city so when you are at any of the three different casinos located in the Marina District walking to any of the other casinos is not really practical.

General:
IMO no visit to Atlantic City is complete without a visit to The Borgata. The entire property is 5 star all the way. From the parking garage through the massive entry way and throughout the casino and restaurants you are surrounded by opulence. Real stone and marble appointments, beautiful Dale Chihuly glass sculptures and attentive hostesses make this, by far, my favorite New Jersey destination. If you fancy a round of golf while you are in AC I would highly recommend Twisted Dune Golf Club, located at 2101 Ocean Heights Avenue, in Egg Harbor Township, NJ. This gorgeous links style course is about 20 mins. drive from the casino and will really test your game. The casino is about 70% smoke free.

Hotel:
The rooms here have all been recently updated and are among the best accommodations I have had in Atlantic City. They all feature flat screen TVs, in room gaming and walk in showers with a bench seat. If you get a high floor on the ocean side the view is very nice. Smoking rooms are available. Wireless internet is offered at a price.

Dining:
Any of the eateries here are a real treat but they can be quite pricey. A 'Surf and Turf' at the Old Homestead Steakhouse will run you about $100. Luckily they have a Buffet! The Borgata Buffet is not to be missed for any foodie. The $31 price tag at dinner time seems a little high by AC standards but it is well worth it. They have about 25 different entrees, the prime rib melts like butter and the dessert offerings are heavenly. No defrosted, microwaved items here, everything offered in the buffet is made on the premises by skilled chefs and pastry makers. The Borgata Buffet is my favorite place to eat in the entire civilized world.

Slots:
The Borgata has all the slots you could hope to find. The machines are clean and well maintained and the seating is comfy. Statistics say The Borgata has the loosest slots in Atlantic City but the penny machines don't seem to bear this out. When I'm here I won't hesitate to bet up a little. The $.50 and $1 Wheel of Fortune machine here have had legendary hits including J Lo's mother's 2.4 million dollar hit.

Players Club:
The players club here is excellent. In an afternoon I can easily earn enough comp dollars to pay for my Buffet lunch or dinner, in fact, I don't think I have ever spent any of my own money here to eat. If you play in earnest here for a day with your player card inserted in the machine you will probably get an offer in the mail for a free room night. Play a few more times and you will have offers for free rooms Sunday through Thursday, two nights a week, every week. Offers for free tickets to the Comedy Club, slot dollars, slot and bingo tournaments and really nice gift giveaways all come in the mail several times a month.

Overall:
Just writing this makes me want to get in my car and go to The Borgata. I really can't get enough of this place. I almost always stay overnight when I go here, about 6 times a year. I will usually bring $300 - $500 with me for playing, tipping and cocktails. This has the closest feel to a Vegas casino. The crowd is mostly younger people and the bars and clubs on the casino floor are always hopping at night. I comfortably recommend The Borgata to all.
 

rockycatt

meistercatt
Joined
Oct 26, 2008
Location
Boston
ill add that Foxwoods ,Mohegan sun great accommodations [slots tighter than a bull frogs azz ] as for Rhode island casino's I really try to avoid them [ unless im in a real [slumming mood ] but they were loose way back before they remodeled [as always th case I find ]
 

bigjohn

Dormant account
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Northeast Coastal USA
The PA Sands

PA Sands

Intro:
The PA sands is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. For me it's about an hour and half ride, all highway. It's a pleasant drive on I-78 through western New Jersey and over the Delaware River especially in the fall, if you like the whole leaf color changing thing. Foodie note, there is a Waffle House right near the exit from I-78. If you are a fan of old school, non PC, greasy-spoon food (I am), the Waffle House is tops. Try the chocolate chip waffle and a chopped steak sandwich on Texas toast!

General:
The PA sands is a very well maintained facility. All the machines are cleaned daily, carpets vacuumed, dining areas clean and organized. I have experienced very few problems here with slot machine malfunctions, the buttons all work, the card readers are reliable and the screen colors are all good. There is ample parking both inside the parking garage and in surface lots. This is probably not the best choice for those who are bothered by the smoke from cigars and cigarettes. The casino is probably 50% smoke free right down the middle of the casino floor but there is no dividing wall and you will smell it throughout. It doesn't bother me and I seem to 'do' better on the smoking side.

Hotel:
I have never stayed here overnight so I have no direct experience with the accommodations.

Dining:
All the popular food styles are offered here. For fine dining they have Emeril's Chop House, there is a food court with burgers, asain foods and an 'Irish Pub'. There is a Carnegie Deli and the Steelworks Buffet. The buffet is small but nice and the staff is friendly and I was pleasantly surprised to find Prime Rib offered during lunch.

Slots:
The PA Sands boasts over 3000 slot machines and they are mostly set up in small groups so you have ample room to move a bit. The games are up to date and seem to be changed quite often. I normally don't do well here but I keep coming back, they have the best games selection unless I go all the way down to AC (it's the closest place I can play the Wizard of Oz slots). Against the extreme right side wall there is about 40 slots in little groups where I usually do okay. The center of the casino has a plethora of table games with live dealers.

Players Club:
I go to the PA Sands 2 or 3 times a year and usually gamble about $200 per trip. Typically I will earn $5-$10 comp dollars, not great by my standards. My offer for free slot play is typically $35 per month and I have never been offered a free room. Their typical gift give-aways are probably worth $20-$40, middle of the road.

Overall:
For me, the PA Sands is a nice change of pace. It's an easy ride from the NY metro area, it's a nice property and the staff are friendly. I like the 'theme' of the town with the old steelworks, row houses and the little deli's and shops in the downtown area. Lehigh University is nearby so it's kind of a 'College Town'. I like to go there on weekend mornings and be out of there before the crowds.
 

pmutts

Dormant account
PABnonaccred
Joined
Sep 23, 2011
Location
North Texas
Thank you for your informative reviews Bigjohn

Since I live in North Texas (DFW) I have not had an opportunity to visit any of the vast number of casinos that have sprung throughout the northeast over the past 20 years. My last East Coast gaming was in 1990 in Atlantic City--long before Borgata opened.

If I ever return to AC, there is no question that my choice would be Borgata since pretty much everyone who goes there regularly agrees with you that it is the classiest joint in town.

My first trip to Atlantic City was in 1987--the same year the Mirage opened in Las Vegas. Since I was used to gambling exclusively in Las Vegas at that time the Atlantic City casinos were vastly different in so many ways.

For one thing, most of the casinos seemed gigantic compared to Las Vegas standards. I remember walking through Bally's and it seemed like they had 250 - 300 Blackjack tables. Each and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them was dealt from a shoe using 8 Decks which was completely unfathomable for a Las Vegas Casino at the time. During those years we were having to adjust to the 6 deck game versus the 4 deck game at most of the strip casinos.

Also, it was mid summer and the middle of the week yet the place was a mob scene--with just about every table at these "gigantic" casinos open with more than enough players to keep them busy.

Of course food, room rates, and everything else was exorbitantly expensive compared to Las Vegas. Slots were extremely tight and a 6 Deck Blackjack game generally had a $25 - 50 minimum is you could find one at all.

Still, I managed to walk away with a profit of nearly $900 which more than paid for our week long trip to New York City since I had a complimentary room at the Waldorf Astoria as a Hilton employee.

Of course, this was 25 years ago--so very hard to believe. I know it's completely different now and the AC Casinos have to fight for their players as they have enormous competition. Many AC casinos have been struggling to maintain their bottom line for years.

I think the whole Revel thing speaks volumes about the struggles of many AC Casinos. Of course that project was ill conceived and ineptly managed from the get go but in 1987 they would have been raking it in regardless.

I really enjoyed your reviews and look forward to reading more from you regarding the east coast market in the future.
 

lnspin

Senior Member
webmeister
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
WorldWide
Note that the slots at Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway are not real slots, they are video lottery gaming terminals, im sure there is a difference then the class 3 machines in vegas and other cities
 
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