First, for all the naysayers, let me state ardently that I do not work for CT, nor have I ever. I’m also not a regular player. Indeed, before our trip to CT, it had been three years since our last gambling venture (in Vegas). And while CT is no Vegas, we still enjoyed ourselves very much. Why? Because we don’t gamble expecting to win. We hope to do so, but we know it’s highly unlikely regardless of where you play. So we go expecting to lose. We set our limit, play it, go a little beyond it, laugh at ourselves, and then leave.
For our kind of player, CT is just fine. My husband and I spent 24 hours there after July 4th and had a delightful time. We only played the slots and bet the races. We played conservatively—5¢ slots, $2 on a horse—to make our money last longer. On our second day, just about the time we’d hit our final limit, my husband’s 5¢ machine paid $232. That wasn’t enough to cover all our spending, but it sure brought the cost of the trip way down. So, we feel like we came away as winners.
As for the casino, it’s nice enough. It’s clean and sparkly, with a suitably helpful staff. A couple of cocktail waitresses were especially nice and responsive. Food and drink prices were higher, but that’s the norm. We thought about going to the steakhouse restaurant until one man told us the steaks’ prices ran from $34 to $85 and everything was a la carte. We preferred to gamble our money instead of eating it.
The races were just okay, but that was probably due largely to the excessive heat. We could have sat inside, but the thrill is in feeling the hoofbeats as they thunder across the finish line. The horses appeared to be handling the weather well. I’m extremely sensitive about the treatment of animals, and I felt comfortable with the way the horses looked and behaved.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn, which was very nice—especially the beds and the breakfast. The cost was about $10 less than a comparable room at the casino hotel. The shuttle to the casino goes to both hotels, plus the Holiday Inn.
As for the "gaming atmosphere," I find all casinos have a mildly depressing aura. Maybe it's because too many people are expecting to win and are being disappointed. Maybe it's the disappointment that permeates the air. On the other hand, we managed to maintain our own festive feelings and are very much looking forward to visiting again.
My first trip to CT was in Dec 2010, an overnight stay at the Inn with business in DC after. The hotel room was fine, we didn't have the racetrack view but didn't spend much time there anyway. Split the room with 2 others so the cost was minimal. The shuttle was nice, driver friendly. Wasn't too crowded on a weekday afternoon. I played for about 8 hrs, $5 min craps and taking breaks at various quarter slots. I was up $900 when I left, mostly from grinding at the craps table. I gave some back at the slots but finished up ahead slightly. I'm not sure but believe the craps min rose to $10 as the evening wore on.
Second trip was the end of May 2012, took the motorcycle to DC for Rolling Thunder. CT was less than an hr away, so arrived around 6pm on Sat night. Free parking in the deck adjacent to the casino. Quite a crowd! The table area was packed, there were no open seats that I could see at the blackjack tables, but I managed to squeeze in at the craps table. Four tables running, 25/min at two of them and I was surprised to see two at a $10 min. The table staff and management were all friendly. Craps odds were 3x for 6 and 8, not sure if it was higher on the others. After an hr, they raised both $10 tables to $25 min. I played craps for a few hrs, then slots for an hr... repeated until I left at midnight. There were 8 players per table. Despite losing a hundred here and there during the rolls, I still managed to color up ahead $100-150 each session. I mostly played $1 slots, winning here and there and moving around. Up several hundred, I decided to try a $5 slot. On the third spin, I hit for a hand pay of $1200, cashed out and left up $2100. On the way out, I asked the pit boss for a food court comp, which he happily gave me. Overall, great experiences, of course winning made it even better! The casino was smokey, no worse than ones in AC or Vegas though. I can't speak for the other slot players, I didn't see any big jackpots but it was fairly crowded at all the machines. Apparently CT has a tight reputation, but you can win.
We are not much on gambling. But we do want to have fun, not lose our money within 1/2 hr of being there. Slots need to pay out a lot more, even though changes are you'll just bet in away, but at least you can have enjoyment doing so. We go for a good time. And it's exciting to win at the machines, (especially the noisy ones). I hate having to leave early because we've spent our limit so early.
Have noticed an improvement in payouts recently. $100 to $200 hits on 50 cent machines, and $100 hits on nickel machines. Website now showing jackpot winners in all denominations. Have hit on 50 cent and dollar machines in March. Free slot play was reduced when I played less, but now getting extra free play notices in the mail. "free gifts" each month are cheap and not worth the trouble. Overall, the experience has improved this quarter.
I have been going to Hollywood Casino at Charlestown for the past couple of years and it keeps improving. It is generally very clean and I always feel safe. The cleaning personnel are constantly changing ashtrays and removing empty glasses. The restrooms are always maintained as well. There is an abundance of attendants and friendly managers on the floor to make sure things are running smoothly. The most exciting improvement to date is the new restaurant, The Final Cut. I have had the opportunity to eat there twice in the past couple months, and both meals were excellent ! I have read some previous reviews of the buffet in which the reviewers were dissatisfied, and since I have only eaten there once at breakfast I really cannot speak to the dinner buffet they offer....the breakfast was yummy however and I had no complaints.
As to the slot payouts - I have been most successful at the "higher stakes" slot machines...in fact I have won numerous Jackpots, and even multiple Jackpots on various occasions during the course of an evening which provided tons of excitement!!
The area I feel is lacking are the comps received for using the Players Club. The rewards there are pretty poor and the whole gaming/entertainment experience would be elevated with a little higher return on all the cashola inserted in the machines! At least I would feel I was a winner of sorts even when I was a big fat loser. All in all I enjoy the casino at C-Town and look forward to the future improvements in the works.