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Almost 50 years ago, a large, once barren farmland was converted to make way for Western Pennsylvania’s first betting race track. In June of 1963, The Meadows Racetrack
was first opened by the Washington Trotting Association. Forty years later, in 2004, legislation passed a law to allow the Meadows to obtain a gambling license for slot machines.
The Meadows Casino opened on April 15, 2009 and boasted a giant 350,000-square-foot casino, five restaurants, a covered grandstand, and a state of the art bowling alley. The Meadows Casino offers over 3,500 slot machines, both old fashion and high tech. In July of 2010, legislation passed a law to allow them to have table games. Consequently, 62 table games ranging from the highly popular Blackjack to the more mysterious game Baccarat have been installed throughout the wonderful casino. The Meadows Casino also includes a luxurious poker room that offers 26 tables, full private bar and own unique menu. Along with the Meadows Casino, the Meadows Racetrack also is known for its luxury.
The Meadows Racetrack holds year-round harness races, which utilize “harnesses” to pull racers in their carriages. The racetrack is a 5/8 mile oval made of stone dust. Races often take place late afternoons and early evenings Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. With most races starting at 12:55 p.m., it is a perfect time to waste an hour before or after classes, even on a rainy or cold day. In 2009, the Meadows has constructed a brand new Grand Stand that is fully covered, protecting patrons from whatever conditions are outside.
Steve Watkins, the Co-Director of Events Affairs, explains other essential part to year-round racing. “If mid-winter race days are too harsh for you, Delvins Café is racetrack front and is a nice place to warm up. Patrons can also spectate from our Winners Circle enclosed balcony that overlooks the entire track, or relax in a luxurious lazy-boy while watching it on one of our five big screen TVs at the sports book.”
College students get some good perks when they are at the casino. If they show a student ID, they are automatically updated from a regular players card to a V.I.P. players card. This card offers free entries in prizes and giveaways, food and drink discounts, and special Meadows packages. The V.I.P. card allows them to obtain triple the player points while using the slots or any table game, which can be redeemed at the Meadows or at places like Mr. Gyros through the Neighborhood Partners Program. This program allows cardholders to redeem points at local businesses to get a discounted rate.
With all these amenities, the Casino has become a W&J hot spot and a heavily visited attraction near Washington.
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Twenty-six beautiful long oval tables fill a large rectangular room, which is only accessible through a small back staircase, furnished with leather seats and a full private bar. From behind the beautiful marble bar, the bartender offers you a drink on your way towards the poker tables. LCD televisions hang from every marble pillar, looping the day’s top sports and drawing winners. The beauty of the place is stunning, but easily ignored when you are in the "zone."
There is little discussion done among the tables, everyone is busy thinking of pot odds and players’ tells. Players surround the table with different backgrounds and different playing types. You can easily spot the sharks in the room; they are the ones with sunglasses on, nice collared shirts, and of course chip stacks that could buy the bar ten times over.
The dealer keeps the game running quickly and mostly positive with their professional skills and personable attitudes. Every once and a while, an intimidating older man dressed in a nice suit with a shiny name badge, will walk by the table and write on his miniature clip board. His face has the strictest of stern looks I have ever seen. I am sure you would not smile if roughly 20 million dollars in chips was your responsibility. Attractive cocktail waitresses often stop by and ask if you would like a drink. Now, a serious gambler would say no, but when it is on the house, it is hard for a college student to pass that up.
Surprisingly, I can’t smell the lady’s smoke floating off of her cigarette sitting across the table from me. It must be the pure oxygen they pump into the place that overpowers the smell. Another shocker was the complete silence---there is no music playing, no top stories from the news, just the sound of chips being thrown around. Although, big pot wins usually break the silence by short-lived celebrations that are often accompanied by cursing.
First Person Narrative
Narrative written by Geno McCourt based on an interview with Steve Watkins, Co-director of Event Affairs, on December 4, 2010
I started working for the Meadows Racetrack and Casino back in 2008 in the temporary
building as a security coordinator. When the new building was created in 2009 I was
promoted to co-event planner. It’s hard not to love my job; I get to meet great people and
plan even better events. Nothing is more satisfying than planning a huge promotion and
it going off without a hitch. Honestly, there is something new and exciting going
on here every day.
I am really excited about “Santa’s $90,000 Cash Give Away.” “This is a nice early
Christmas gift where players are entered into a drawing where they can win up to
$90,000 cash. The drawings take place every Saturday night at 10p.m. all December
long.” There is something about drawings and free cash that make people get excited.
On days of big drawings the casino is packed with guests---everybody wants to go home the
winner. On nights like that, I can really feel the energy in the casino---it is remarkable.
“The Meadows Racetrack and Casino is truly a unique place. Where else can you get
both year round harness racing and great table and slot games?” The staff and people
here are extraordinary as well. The staff prides themselves on the quality of service to our
great guests, which explains why we are the number one rated casino. Our guests are
friendly and always energetic, too. Together, these aspects make gambling at the Meadows
the all-around best experience.
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Hours of Operation
Casino open 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week.
How to get there
Turn onto Murtland Ave/US-19 North and travel for three miles, then turn left onto Racetrack Road. Next, make a right at the first stop light onto Casino Drive. The Casino will be to your left and the free parking garage will be adjacent to the casino.
Gambling Problem? Call (800) 848-1880
21 and over only