Mount Airy Casino Resort going 21+

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono. PHOTO/FILE –

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono said it is distinguishing itself from the family-oriented resorts that populate the Poconos by going 21+. 

Starting Dec. 18, the resort will require that all guests on the property be 21 or older. 

The restriction will apply to the entire property, including all hotel rooms, restaurants, spa and pool area, in addition to its casino floor and bar areas. 

“This decision, made after careful consideration and based on feedback from our patrons, caters to the increasing demand we are seeing for exceptional amenities and outstanding personal service,” said Lisa DeNaples, Mount Airy owner and managing trustee. “By offering an adults-only environment, we intend to serve as the premier escape for those seeking an elevated lifestyle that includes high-end experiences and luxury accommodations.” 

Hassan Abdel-Moneim, vice president of resort operations, noted that for generations, the Pocono Mountains have served as a family-friendly destination, with activities for kids of all ages – from animal and water parks to family resorts. 

“We appreciate and endorse all that’s available in the region and suggest visiting the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau if you’re interested in booking a stay in the Poconos with children and adults under the age of 21,” Abdel-Moneim said. “We want our guests to be carefree and have a great time, and a 21-and-older resort contributes to the luxurious atmosphere Mount Airy provides. We’ve already heard from a lot of parents who look forward to staying with us solely because the resort will be a 21-and-older experience.” 

The decision comes with the endorsement of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. 

“This decision makes perfect sense based on Mount Airy’s prestigious brand and the resort’s long history of providing an exemplary adult-only experience,” said Chris Barrett, president and CEO of the visitors bureau. “There are many kid-friendly properties located throughout the Poconos and we’re more than happy to assist families in finding those wonderful opportunities for their upcoming visit.” 

Pennsylvania gaming industry sees record revenue for 2021

Legalized gaming in Pennsylvania had a record year in 2021, with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reporting revenue increases in nearly every sector of the industry. 

For the year, the combined revenue of slot machines, table games, sports wagering, iGaming, video gaming terminals (VGTs) and fantasy contests totaled $4.7 billion compared to $2.7 billion in 2020. This also resulted in record tax revenue production from gaming of more than $1.93 billion. 

The Board did note that the significant year-over-year increase in gaming revenue was impacted by closures and safety measures at casinos related to COVID-19 during 2020. Total closure days in 2020 were 1,473 compared to 44 days in 2021. 

Wind Creek Bethlehem had the highest increase in slot revenue, jumping 75.68% over 2020 to $265 million. 

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono saw an increase of 38% over 2020, taking in $142.5 million. 

Statewide, slots were up 68.71% to $2.3 billion. 

Wind Creek was also among the highest revenue gainer in table games. It saw revenue increase by 78.05% to $185.2 million. 

Mount Airy saw a jump of 5.96%, taking in $43.1 million. 

Statewide, table games were up 83.4% over 2020, taking in $925 million. 

2021 revenue from sports wagering was $340 million, a 79.29% increase in revenue when compared to the $190 million generated in 2020. Sports wagering handle, the amount wagered through both retail and online, was $6.55 billion, an 83% increase over 2020’s handle of $3.58 billion. 

2021 revenue from fantasy contests was $29.3 million, a 38.54% increase in revenue when compared to the $21.2 million generated in 2020. 

2021 revenue for iGaming was $1.1 billion an 96.7% increase in revenue when compared to the $566 million generated in 2020. At the end of 2021 there were 10 iGaming certificate holders in Pennsylvania. 

While a smaller source of revenue, video game terminals, found in truck stops, did have a significant increase in 2021. 

2021 revenue for VGTs at Truck Stops was $40 million a 139% increase in revenue when compared to the $17 million generated in 2010. By the end of the year there were 60 VGT facilities in Pennsylvania. 

Mount Airy Casino Resort fined $90K for free slot play violations

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono is one of two casinos fined by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for free slots play violations in the state.

The PGCB issued a $90,000 fine against the casino for failing to adhere to the board’s “Comp Matrix,” which outlines who can issue free slot play and the maximum dollars that each employee is authorized to issue.

While free slot play is widely offered by all casinos in Pennsylvania as a marketing tool to build and reward patron loyalty and drive repeat visits, casinos must have a board-approved Comp Matrix, which outlines who can issue complimentary free slot play and the maximum dollars that each employee is authorized to issue, and then adhere to the plan.

The board said Mount Airy did not adhere to its internal controls, which led to 491 instances where employees issued discretionary free slot play exceeding the authorized limit. A total of $262,500 in free slot play was issued above the maximum, including the alleged theft of $140,000 by one employee.

The casino employee was charged with a felony.

In a similar case, SugarHouse Gaming’s Rivers Casino in Philadelphia fined $45,000 for free slot play violations.

That investigation found 405 instances in which discretionary free slot play was issued by employees in amounts in excess of amounts that were authorized through the Comp Matrix resulting in $25,562 in excessive free slot play.

Most Pa. casinos see lower over-year revenue after June reopening

In June, 11 of Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos reopened their doors for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown in mid-March and most are reporting a drop in gaming revenue.

But one did not.

Valley Forge Casino had a nearly 16% increase in gaming revenue over last June. It took in $12.9 million in June 2020 as compared to $11.2 million in June 2019, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The news wasn’t as good for Wind Creek Bethlehem, which had the largest drop off of all casinos —   92.5% — taking in only $3.2 million in June 2020 as compared to $43.4 million in June 2019.

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono fared better. It saw only a 4.3% decrease in gaming revenue over June of last year. It took in $15.1 million in June 2020 compared to $15.8 million in June of last year.

It should be noted that most casinos did not open until mid- to late- June.

The revenue includes slot machines, table games, internet gaming, retail and internet sports wagering, fantasy contests and video gaming terminals. Wind Creek Bethlehem does not have its sports wagering set up.

Even with a decreased amount of sports to bet on, those who study the gaming industry are expecting wagering to continue to be a major profit driver for the state’s casinos.

“Online gambling will continue to be a force for the foreseeable future,” said Dustin Gouker of PlayPennsylvania. “Online and retail sportsbooks, like brick-and-mortar casinos, will navigate an uncertain landscape as long as the pandemic is ongoing. If a setback can be avoided, though, the return of major sports later this month will be huge for the industry.”

The Gaming Control Board reported that Sportsbooks generated $89 million in wagers in June, up 14.8% from $77.5 million in May.

Mount Airy Casino Resort to reopen Monday

Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono is reopening June 22. PHOTO/FILE –


Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono said it’s reopening on Monday, June 22. It has been closed since March 17 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, although it did reopen its golf club on May 2.

The casino does need to get Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approval.

With that approval, the casino will open at noon with social distancing and safety measures in place.

To meet CDC guidelines the casino floor and restaurants will be limited to 50% capacity for now.

“We have made a commitment to providing our guests with the highest standards of cleanliness and safety,” said Glenn Cademartori, vice president of marketing at Mount Airy. “The safety and well-being of our team members and guests are our top priority and we are confident that the measures in place will ensure a safe, clean and enjoyable experience for all. In working with the PGCB and regional healthcare professionals, we have implemented a multitude of new policies and procedures that will keep everyone safe but still allow them to experience the many things they love about our resort.”

He noted that the casino resort has undergone an extensive sanitizing and staff have been trained in upgraded cleaning protocol.

Guests and staff will be required to wear masks while on property.

Hand sanitizing stations have been added throughout the property to ensure that all guests and staff are cleaning their hands as frequently as possible

There will also be disinfecting wipes to clean machines.

The casino resort also installed plexiglass dividers at all transactional locations.

Other preventative measures include temperature checks, spacing between slot machines and seats at table games.

The poker room and sports book will remain closed until further notice. The spa and fitness center will be open following CDC guidelines.