The Meadows Racetrack & Casino Review
The Meadows Racetrack, located in North Strabane Township, Pennsylvania, a short drive from the major city of Pittsburgh, had been offering horse race betting since all the way back in 1963.
It was originally owned and operated by the Washington Trotting Association, the county where the racetrack is located. Ownership changed hands several times over the years, being first bought by a group headed by driver/trainer Delvin Miller in 1973, Pittsburgh lawyer Stuart Williams in 1986, British gaming giant Ladbrokes in 1988, Cannery Casino Resorts in 2006, and finally to its present owner Gaming and Leisure Properties in 2016.
These days, the horse racing end of the business has taken a back seat to the casino gaming run here, and The Meadows have brought in a very experienced casino company to run it, Pinnacle Entertainment, who leases the property. Pinnacle operates several other successful casinos around the country, including owning the Ameristar brand.
The Meadows have never taken the conservative approach to betting, and first started taking telephone betting back in 1983 with their Call-A-Bet operation. In 2001, Call-A-Bet became Xpress Bet, which allowed internet betting as well, in addition to players being able to place bets on races on other tracks though the system.
So with their appetite for being on the cutting edge of gaming, it was natural that when the State of Pennsylvania began entertaining licenses for casino gaming in 2004 that The Meadows be included. After a couple of years of red tape and a year of construction, a temporary casino was erected on the property in 2007, followed by the building of a 350,000 square foot permanent one in 2009.
In short order, The Meadows went from just a racetrack to one of the largest casinos in the country, starting with over 3,300 slot machines and then adding table games the next year in 2010.
In keeping with their cutting edge approach, all chips at The Meadows are encoded with transmitters which transmit radio signals to protect against counterfeiting.
In spite of their huge casino, horse racing still plays a fairly big part in their operation, and unlike most tracks which only run seasonally, horse racing goes on here all year long, with 200 dates a year.
The Meadows Racetrack and Casino Experience
Even with 200 racing dates, the take from over 3,300 slot machines and 67 table games is in a different league really, and the slot machines here alone take in over $200 million a year in revenue. Many of the people that come here like to bet on the horses as well, and the casino offers great views of the track so you can do both at the same time if you wish. This is more than just a race book, watching the races on a TV screen, here it’s all right outside your window.
Most of the traffic does come from the Pittsburgh area, and this is only 25 miles from downtown, so there’s a lot of people that live nearby to draw from. This is one of the biggest casinos in the state though so they do get a fair number of overnight guests as well.
The Meadows doesn’t have their own hotel, but it does have one located right next door, the Hyatt Place Pittsburgh South, connected by a covered walkway to the racetrack and casino. Not being operated by the casino leads to the pricing here being pretty standard, but for less than $200 a night you can get a nice room here with a good selection of amenities.
While there aren’t quite the number of dining options as a large Vegas resort would have, food lovers are still in for a treat as what they do have here is very good. The award winning Bistecca Steakhouse offers great cuts of steak and an extensive wine selection. The Carvery offers both buffet and a la carte items for very reasonable prices.
The Bandwagon promises the best made from scratch bar food in the city as well as beer specials. The Pub offers great burgers and pizza along with 100 different brands of beer including 20 local craft selections Delvin’s Trackside is only open during horse racing events but has a nice menu selection as well as incredible views of the track.
Those looking for a quick bite will find 5 options at The Food Court, including the Silverstar Old Fashioned Deli, Fish n’ Chix, treats and coffee at Cookies, pizza at Gibo, and burgers at Frank’s American Grill.
As far as entertainment here goes, Headliners serves up live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night, and Vibe Ultralounge brings a Vegas style dance club to the scene and also offers an exclusive VIP area. Those who like to bowl will also find a 24 lane state of the art bowling area on site.
The Casino at The Meadows
Aside from having one of the biggest casino floors and one of the biggest slot machine collections in the country, The Meadows offers state of the art ticket in and ticket out functionality, allowing for players to move from slot machine to slot machine seamlessly.
This is not your old fashioned way of playing slots, and The Meadows has always been on the forefront of things, and now that they have a casino, this hasn’t changed one bit.
With this many slots, you can bet that there’s lots of all the hottest games and a great selection overall. Players who enjoy video poker will also find more than enough variety here with nice pay tables.
Those who like to play for the big money will find machines ranging from $1 to $100 in the High Limit Room, with both slot and video poker, where you can play for up to $375 per spin.
As far as table games go, The Meadows doesn’t want you wanting to play something they don’t have, so they have an excellent selection of different table games. They offer Blackjack, Blackjack Match Progressive, Roulette, Big 6, Mississippi Stud, Texas Holdem Bonus, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Criss Cross Poker, Let It Ride, Craps, and Baccarat.
The High Limit Table Games area offers 12 tables with limits from $50 to up to $15,000 a bet, with a VIP lounge and butler service.
There’s also a 14 table poker room on hand, offering Texas Holdem, Omaha Hi, and Omaha Hi/Lo. In addition to cash games, a regular slate of poker tournaments are offered in various formats with modest buy in amounts.
The Meadows Players Club offers 5 tiers with free play, comps, valet service, priority seating, and discounts all available based upon your level of play here.
Overall, this is one of Pennsylvania’s biggest and best casinos and the place to be if you are in or are going to be in the Pittsburgh area.