Monday, March 08, 2010

Dining At Parx Casino Defined By Hot Dogs And Cigarettes; Sets Precedent For Philadelphia Casinos To Become "The McDonald's Of Gambling"

mandarin bar at the mandarin oriental in las vegas
Don't expect to see anything like this at the Wynn/Foxwoods Casino in South Philadelphia — it won't even have a hotel | Photo via the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, part of the brand new CityCenter complex

In her column on Sunday, pointedly titled "The lifeblood of Parx casino in Bucks is low-roller locals," Monica Yant Kinney takes a closer look at Parx Casino in Bensalem to hint at just how depressingly down-market the forthcoming Philadelphia casinos (Sugarhouse and Wynn/Foxwoods) will be.

The article makes it abundantly clear how different these casinos actually are from any notions people may have in their minds of glamorous Vegas-style resorts and casinos coming to Philadelphia.
Las Vegas uses volcanoes, Emeril Lagasse, and spa treatments to make losing seem fun. Philadelphia's casino "experience" is shaping up to be neither entertaining nor exotic, defined instead by hot dogs, cigarettes, and convenience.
Regarding the regulars who come to Parx 150-200 times a year and their eating habits:
It didn't take much to lure them, beyond proximity, free valet parking, and $50 comps.

"If you live 15 minutes away, you really don't need a room," Jonas told the casino group. His customers "come in, grab a hot dog or maybe a chicken sandwich," gamble three hours, "then go home and sleep in their own bed."
Regarding the overall vibe at Parx:
We tried to get lunch, but Parx's steak house serves only dinner, and the Foodies counter steps away from the casino floor didn't entice.

"This," Mirarchi marveled, "is the McDonald's of gambling."
He's not saying the food options at Parx are 'the McDonald's of gambling'; he's saying the overall experience at Parx is 'the McDonald's of gambling'.

Which sounds about right.

(Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the recently opened City Center in Las Vegas made a strategic decision to further distinguish itself with exceptional food and restaurants.)

Related:
The lifeblood of Parx casino in Bucks is low-roller locals [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Editorial: Steve Wynn's vision for the Foxwoods site is further confirmation that casino gambling in Philadelphia will be a down-market industry, preying mostly on the poor and elderly who can least afford it [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
CityCenter aims to make dining experience 'cooler and hipper' - Veritable who’s who of celebrity chefs headline casino-resort’s restaurants [ Las Vegas Sun ]

Previously:
Steve Wynn Wants To Build A Cute Casino With A Steakhouse, Italian Restaurant And Asian Noodle House

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