Inside the Casinos
The 411 on games and amenities at the state’s three gaming meccas. Are you feeling lucky?
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There are 29 casinos within 100 miles of Delaware, with more expected in the near future. That kind of competition makes it a buyers’ market for customers of the state’s three casinos—Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington.
It translates to top-notch food and beverage service, courteous wait staff, helpful dealers, and, casino management would have you believe, some of the friendliest slot machines on the East Coast. What’s more, there are table games such as roulette. That means no more bus trips to Atlantic City.
Whether you’re an experienced player or someone who is new to gaming, the best way to look at gambling is to treat it as entertainment, not a means to riches, says Patti Key, CEO of Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Adds Bill Fasey, president of Delaware Park in Wilmington, “If you don’t understand the game, you shouldn’t be sitting down to play.” He advises table games newbies to visit at a slower hour—weekday mornings, for instance—to watch. If there is no one at the table, he says, dealers will readily explain the game. “They’re very friendly that way.”
Such affability is typical of Delaware’s casino scene, where excitement, entertainment and ambience continue to attract customers despite a highly competitive market. For more about each casino, plus a description of the most popular games, read on.
Slots: 2,540; 1- , 2- , 5- , 10- , 25- and 50-cent, $1, $2, $5, $10, $25 and $50.
Table games: 42; Blackjack, craps, roulette, Pai Gow poker, mini- and midi-baccarat, three-card poker, four-card poker, Let It Ride, Texas Hold ’Em.
Racing: Live thoroughbred racing April through October
Entertainment: Live music Friday and Saturday nights at the Hops Bar
Dining: Six dining areas and two bars, plus Terrace Dining Room overlooking the track and barbecue in the picnic grove during the racing season
Golf: White Clay Country Club, on the Delaware Park grounds
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
Slots: 2,600; 1- , 2- , 5- , 10- , 25- and 50-cent, $1, $2, $5, $10, $25, $50, $100.
Table games: 40; Craps, roulette and 32 card games (including blackjack, Spanish 21, baccarat, three-card poker, Pai Gow poker, Texas Hold ’Em, no-limit and limit games).
Racing: Live harness racing from end of October through mid-April
Entertainment: The only Delaware casino with a hotel, Dover Downs brings performers such as Wayne Newton, Tom Jones, Kenny Rogers, Bill Cosby and Meatloaf to its 1,600-seat Rollins Center. Regular events include Karaoke Mondays, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley tributes, and three or four boxing events each year. The hotel also has a full-service spa and spa suites.
Dining: 10 dining areas plus four bars and lounges
Golf: Discounts available at nearby Wild Quail Country Club for Capital Club members
Harrington Raceway and Casino
Slots: 1,838; 1- , 2- , 5- , 10- , 25- and 50-cent, $1, $5, $10, $20, $25, and $5 electronic blackjack and $1 electronic roulette.
Table games: 49; Blackjack, craps, roulette, mini- and midi-baccarat, Pai Gow poker, three-card poker, four-card poker, Mississippi stud poker, Ultimate Texas Hold ’Em, Bonus Let It Ride, Spanish 21, Big Six Wheel.
Racing: Harness racing April 17-June 30 and Aug. 14-Oct. 27, Sunday through Thursday
Entertainment: Friday Night Live offers a variety of entertainers, including rock ’n’ roll, comedy and vaudeville
Dining: Nine dining areas, including a restaurant and snack bar at the track, which features a recently remodeled clubhouse, and daily carving board specials.
Hours: All three casinos are open 24/7. Peak hours are Fridays and Saturdays, especially during late afternoon and evening, and Sundays during the day. There is less traffic on weekdays and even less overnight, especially after alcohol sales end at 1 a.m.
Betting: Sports betting is limited to NFL games and horse racing. Delaware casinos are the only ones on the East Coast able to offer parlay wagering (minimum of three games) on NFL games. Players must pick the winners in all games in the parlay in order to win. Bets must be made in person at the casinos’ sports books. The Delaware Lottery also offers “Off the Board” parlays, teasers and teaser card wagering. Betting on horse races from across the country is available through year-round simulcasts at all three casinos.
Comps: Promotional compensation varies from casino to casino, but, generally, the more you gamble, the greater the comp. Players can join members clubs, making them eligible for frequent promotions and giveaways, invitation-only events, discounts on golf, race-book seats and programs, and shopping in casino gift shops. At Dover Downs, room comps are a major perk. Barry Brothers and his wife, Lynn, travel from Newport News, Va., once a month to visit Dover, bringing a bankroll of $4,000 to $6,000. Brothers says he has never had to pay for a room at the hotel.
Page 2: How Much to Bet?