After Pennsylvania legalized online gambling and sports betting in 2017, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course wasted little time reserving its place in the newly-legal market.
Hollywood Casino was the very first PA casino to apply for a mobile sports betting license and among the first to request licenses to offer online casino games, slots and poker.
Hollywood Casino has launched online gambling in Pennsylvania and will soon add sports betting to the mix. Here’s a first look at the newest legal betting site and mobile app.
- Legal and licensed in PA
- Extensive VIP program
- Run by a respected provider
- Limited (but growing) game selection
- Needs more deposit methods
- No iPhone or iPad app yet
Now, Hollywood Casino holds licenses for:
- Retail and mobile sports betting
- Online slots
- Online table games
- Online poker
- In-person and online racing betting
About Hollywood Casino
The history of Hollywood Casino dates back to 1972, when Penn National Race Course opened as a pure racetrack. Hollywood Casino opened as an addition to the track in 2008 and now operates as a full-fledged casino complete with more than 2,000 slots, 60 table games, a sportsbook, poker room and an active horse racing schedule.
Parent Company Penn National Racing runs 40 gaming and racing properties across the United States. In addition to in-person gambling, Penn National operates HollywoodRaces.com for online racing betting.
In Pennsylvania, Hollywood Casino is authorized to offer mobile betting, online casino games and online poker. Hollywood Casino is partnered with William Hill US for its sports betting operations (both retail and mobile) and with IGT for online gambling.
HollywoodCasino.com Casino Review
Hollywood Casino launched casino games in July 2019 and now has a collection of 73 games consisting mostly of online slots. The table game selection is still quite bare, but that should be changing as Hollywood Casino gets settled in as an online gambling provider for the first time.
Hollywood Casino Bonuses
Hollywood Casino offers two bonuses to all new customers. Signing up for an account will get you $25 with no deposit necessary while making your first deposit will get you up to $500.
Claim Your Bonus at:
Hollywood Casino also has a refer-a-friend program that will give you and your friend an extra $25 each in bonus money just for referring them. If you log in to your account and visit the promos tab, you’ll see a place to send invites to your friends. Each friend who signs up, deposits and wagers at least $50 within sixty days will get both of you an extra $25 in site credit.
HollywoodCasino.com VIP Program
All play at HollywoodCasino.com is logged as a part of the larger Penn National VIP program called mychoice. Under mychoice, all games played, meals eaten and money spent at retail locations either online or in-person at Penn National properties is rewarded with tier points.
The more tier points you earn, the better the rewards and the higher you move up through the VIP program. Tier points are earned at HollywoodCasino.com and other Penn National locations as follows:
- HollywoodCasino.com: 2 tier points for every $1 of credits purchased
- Slot machines: 1 tier point for every $5 bought in
- Video poker: 1 tier point for every $10 bought in
- Electronic table games: 1 tier point for every $40 bought in
- Table games: Varies based on game type, average bet and length of play
- Horse racing: 1 tier point for every $10 wagered
- Food and beverage: 1 tier point for every $5 spent
- Retail shopping: 1 tier point for every $5 spent
As you acquire tier points, you’ll move up through the five VIP levels, each of which unlocks greater rewards:
- Choice Level (0-999 tier points): Default starting level for all players; standard benefits such as special mychoice offers, redeem points for free slot credits, exclusive hotel discounts, lower rates for booking online, entertainment presales, 35,000 bonus credits at HollywoodCasino.com and 75,000 bonus credits on your birthday
- Advantage (1,000-17,000 points): All the above plus up to 10% discount on Norwegian cruise lines, earn mycash, entry boost for select casino drawings, 100,000 monthly bonus credits at HollywoodCasino.com, 5% discount at mychoice mall
- Preferred (18,000-49,999 points): All of the above plus up to 15% discount on Norwegian cruises, stay at the Royal Beach Casino and St. Kitts Marriott Resort, VIP lounge access, free valet parking, 125,000 monthly bonus credits at HollywoodCasino.com
- Elite (50,000-199,999 points): All of the above plus up to 20% discount on Norwegian cruises, annual Oceanview cruise with Norwegian, annual renewal gift, VIP parking, priority lines at Hollywood Casino restaurants and clubs, personal host, no-fee check cashing, Companion card, no expiration of mycash, eligible to qualify for reserved mychoice Millionaire seats, VIP check-in, no hotel resort fees, 175,000 monthly bonus credits at HollywoodCasino.com, 10% discount at mychoice Mall, VIP seating at entertainment events
- Owners Club (200,000+ points): All of the above plus up to 25% discount on Norwegian cruises, annual Balcony view cruise with Norwegian, 1-year Mercedes-Benz lease, invitation to exclusive events, annual $500 travel voucher, priority access to promotions and events, priority slot service, guaranteed comp room, free early check-in/late check-out, annual birthday dinner, annual celebration dinner, quarterly reception with casino GM, 200,000 monthly bonus credits at HollywoodCasino.com
Playing at HollywoodCasino.com also acquires comp points, which can be redeemed for benefits both online and in-person. You can redeem comps at HollywoodCasino.com for free credits or in-person for free hotel stays, free slot play, retail discounts, meals and more.
Hollywood Casino Online Slots
Games at Hollywood Casino are provided almost exclusively by NetEnt and IGT, which offer two very different experiences.
On the NetEnt side, you’ll find the latest in online slots with high quality graphics and extensive bonus features. Some of the more popular NetEnt titles found at Hollywood Casino include Blood Suckers, Dead Or Alive and Starburst.
On the IGT side, you’ll find slots that are much less visually impressive but that more closely resemble the types of games you would find at an actual casino. IGT has been in the business for a very long time and has gotten very good at providing players with many options when it comes volatility, bet sizes, maximum wins and so on.
Our chief complaint with Hollywood Casino has to do with table games, or rather the lack of them. At launch, HollywoodCasino.com debuted seven table games in total: one baccarat game, five roulette variations and an ancient-looking Game King video poker game by IGT that offers several variations of video poker in one machine.
Blackjack, craps, casino war and three card poker are all nowhere to be found. We anticipate Hollywood Casino launching more games as it establishes itself in the PA online gambling market, but the selection right now leaves much to be desired.
Table game screenshots:
Hollywood Mobile Casino App
Hollywood Casino has launched a mobile app for the casino for Android devices and says an iPhone app is still in progress. Android users can visit the Hollywood Casino website or search the Google Play store to download the app and play for real money.
iPhone and iPad users will have to wait a bit longer due to recent changes at Apple that have made it more difficult for casino developers to be accepted onto the App Store.
We also expect to see a mobile sports betting app when Hollywood Casino launches online betting. With software provided by experienced gaming firm William Hill, Hollywood Casino will have no problems getting a mobile sportsbook app up and running.
Hollywood Casino Sportsbook
Hollywood Casino applied for a PA sports betting license in 2018 and took the state’s first ever legal sports wager on November 15th that same year. The casino is partnered with international online betting giant William Hill to run its sportsbook.
Wagering options at Hollywood Casino Sportsbook cover the full range of professional and amateur sports in the US, including:
The sportsbook is open seven days a week from morning through midnight and can be found on the second floor near Skybox Sports Bar.
Hollywood Casino Mobile Sports Betting
The sports betting license Hollywood Casino acquired in August 2018 covers in-person and mobile wagering alike. The retail sportsbook at Hollywood Casino is now open for business while the mobile sportsbook was originally scheduled for mid-2019.
Hollywood Online Sportsbook is running behind schedule as of this review, but multiple other betting sites are now live in Pennsylvania. In all likelihood, Hollywood Sportsbook will commence online betting sooner rather than later.
At this point, it is still too early to tell how exactly Hollywood Casino online sportsbook will look and function. What we do know is William Hill will be assisting the casino in running the mobile betting app.
That portends good things to come as William Hill is highly experienced in sports betting with an international betting site that has operated for years in the UK as well as dozens of retail locations throughout the US.
We can also look to William Hill’s existing mobile betting platform in New Jersey for a preview of what will be offered in Pennsylvania. Obviously, there will be some cosmetic changes as Hollywood Casino and William Hill tailor the product for Pennsylvanians, but we can still use this information to get a general sense of how William Hill tends to operate mobile betting.
In New Jersey, WilliamHill.com operates a sleek website and mobile app that puts an emphasis on function over form. The design in both cases is almost clinical in style with lots of white space and simple navigation.
Pre-game and in-play wagers are both supported through William Hill in New Jersey and we anticipate that holding true in the case of Pennsylvania as well.
Sports Betting Bonuses
There is not much to report on this end yet, but bonuses play a critical role in other regulated states such as New Jersey. The odds are quite high Pennsylvania as a whole will have an active deposit bonus market as the various betting sites compete with one another for new customers – especially during the initial rush after online gambling goes live in PA.
In other states, welcome bonuses tend to take one of the of the following forms:
- No Deposit Bonus: Sign up for an account to receive a free bet with no deposit necessary. Free bet bonuses tend to be small but are welcome because they do not require you to risk your own money up front.
- Match Deposit Bonus: These welcome offers work by matching your first deposit with an equal amount of bonus money to give you an initial bankroll boost. A typical match rate is 100%, which means that every dollar you deposit gets you one dollar in bonus funds. These bonuses almost always come with wagering requirements that must be met before you’re allowed to withdraw any winnings derived from the bonus.
Hollywood Casino Deposit Methods
HollywoodCasino.com accepts a standard range of deposit methods for online and in-person deposits using cash, credit and direct banking transfers. The full list includes:
- Credit and debit cards: Hollywood Casino launched with support for Mastercard credit and debit cards only. We expect to see them expand that to include Visa and Discover at some point. The lack of Visa support is a big miss, but this is probably just a side effect of Hollywood Casino being so new to the game.
- ACH bank transfer: An electronic bank transfer is your next best bet if you don’t have a Mastercard handy. This method moves funds from your bank account directly to HollywoodCasino.com.
- Play+: The Play+ card is a prepaid debit card that you can order online, fund with your own credit card or bank transfer and then use to withdraw cash or to make purchases. You can fund it online instantly the same day you sign up but will also receive a physical card in the mail that can be used at ATMs and for normal shopping.
- PayNearMe: Would you rather deposit with cash? If so, PayNearMe is the option to use. Selecting PayNearMe from the deposit menu and selecting an amount will give you a pay slip that you can either save to your phone or print at home. Take the pay slip to a nearby 7-Eleven and pay with cash to fund your HollywoodCasino.com account.
Hollywood Casino State-by-State Operations
Hollywood Casino parent company Penn National Gaming has operations across the USA and is well-positioned to launch sports betting in 19 states moving forward as legislation advances through state legislatures around the country.
In July 2019, Penn National clarified its plans for sports betting across the US with a major announcement detailing partnership agreements with four major online betting providers.
Deals with DraftKings, PointsBet, theScore and The Stars Group (which operates the FOX Bet brand) have Penn National all set up to enter the sports betting market in numerous states.
Below are overviews of where Hollywood Casino operates and how it is positioned to offer wagering. We will discuss states in which Penn National already has sports betting and where it may offer wagering in the future.
Hollywood Casino Pennsylvania
- Sports Betting Availability: Mobile sports betting and retail sportsbooks
- Retail Sportsbook: Hollywood Casino at Penn National
The Hollywood Casino brand first broke into online gambling with the launch of HollywoodCasino.com in Pennsylvania. Hollywood Casino began with the launch of online casino games and later introduced mobile sports betting.
Parent company Penn National will also be responsible for bringing DraftKings to Pennsylvania per an agreement announced in 2019.