Hollywood Casinos Perryville

Hollywood Casino Perryville wcelerbated its first anniversary last fall as the first slot parlor in Maryland. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun / September 23, 2011)

To get to Hollywood, you don't have to catch a flight to the West Coast. You just drive to Cecil County. Or Pennsylvania. Or West Virginia.

Penn National Gaming Inc., which operates gambling facilities nationwide, owns Hollywood-branded casinos in all three states.

The Hollywood Casino in Perryville is about a 30-minute drive up Interstate 95 from Baltimore. There's also a train station nearby, and a new bus line goes right to the front door.

The Perryville slots casino, which opened in September 2010, now draws about 1.2 million visitors a year, say officials.

"Most of Perryville's guests come from the Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware area," says Karen Bailey, a spokeswoman for Penn National. "Many arrive by car, right off I-95."

The Perryville casino has its own style, but it's not over-the-top glitz, a la Las Vegas. The interior, done in rich hues, is inspired by classic Hollywood and 1930s art deco style.

The casino floor offers 1,500 coinless slot machines with high-definition video screens that have catchy names ("Sex and the City," "Kitty Glitter" and "Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Rumble."

There's food, of course, and the casino hopes to open a new casual restaurant in August. Guests also can sip a cocktail at the Sunset Video Poker bar while playing — what else? — video poker. There are also electronic table games, including video roulette, three-card video poker and video blackjack.

"There's no live dealer — but players get to make a decision," says Marc DeLeo, a casino spokesman. "The games are very popular with our male clientele."

That's not to suggest that women don't enjoy gambling.

"We have a wide range of guests, and many are women over 55," says Bailey. "They have disposable income, and they come ready to enjoy themselves."

Mary L. White, a 66-year-old retiree from Baltimore, is among them. She's what one might call a casino connoisseur.

White has visited casinos along the East Coast and beyond, often accompanied by her two adult daughters.

"I've been to them all," she says. "I love Hollywood, especially the one in Pennsylvania. It's big, the people are nice and the food is delicious. We usually drive up. It doesn't take much time."

The Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course is not far from Harrisburg, Pa., about a 11/2 –hour drive from Baltimore. While Perryville offers slots only, Penn National has slots, table games, and live thoroughbred and simulcast racing.

Visitors will find about 2,400 slot machines (ranging in denomination from one penny to $100) and more than 50 table games. The casino also has a museum, a gift shop, several casual eateries and a more formal dining facility.

Then there's Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia, about an hour from Baltimore.

Charles Town has 4,000 slot machines, 100 table games and a 30-table poker room. As with the Pennsylvania location, fans of horse racing can view simulcasts or get a taste of the action firsthand; the site has hosted live thoroughbred racing since 1933.

Among the dining options is a steakhouse, and there are also shops and live entertainment.