PLAINS TWP. — The annual Hot Summer Fun promotion at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has added something new to quench gamblers thirst.
Starting today, all Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Players Club card holders can order free draft beer while they’re playing table games or slot machines at the casino.
A provision in the state liquor law permits all casinos in the state to provide free liquor and malt beverages to those “actively participating in table games and slot machines,” Richard McGarvey, a spokesman for the state Gaming Control Board, said. He said that agency does not take a stance on the practice, but he noted all of the casinos in the state provide free drinks to at least some players.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has been providing free beer, wine and liquor to those guests that hold Elite- or Sagamore-level players cards, which are earned based on the level of play a guest maintains over a set period of time. The lowest-tier card, a general Mohegan Sun Players Card, is free for anyone age 21 and older who is not on a self exclusion or black list the state maintains. Those without one can sign up for free at the casino and immediately begin taking advantage of the free draft beer offer.
The free draft beer available includes Miller Lite, Coors Light, Heineken and Labatt Blue.
Casinos throughout Atlantic City and Nevada have long provided free alcohol to players, regardless of player card level, but in Pennsylvania the offer has not been common, mainly because the state’s casinos are so spread out that competition isn’t as much of an issue as it is along the Boardwalk or the Las Vegas Strip.
But it hasn’t stopped some Pennsylvania casinos from offering drinks to all players.
At Mount Airy Casino near Mount Pocono, the free draft beer and wine started being offered to all players in 2010. Liquor and bottled beers must be purchased. At Sands Bethlehem, draft beer, mixed drinks and wine are provided to all players for free. Bottled beer can be purchased. And at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, in Grantville, those who hold player cards in the top two tiers of the four-tier system are entitled to free alcoholic beverages. The bottom-two tier cards are not.
“Casinos in Pennsylvania are allowed to offer complimentary alcoholic beverage to guests who are actively gaming at their casinos. Each casino can choose the extent to which they offer free drinks,” said Mike Bean, president and general manager at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
While other casinos have rolled out some degree of free drinks for some or all guests, Bean said Mohegan Sun decided to introduce the promotion as part of the casino’s Hot Summer Fun stretch of promotions that runs through Labor Day. It is slated to be temporary, ending once the Hot Summer Fun period does.
“Hot Summer Fun is our branded package of summer events and promotions that has a warm weather theme. Our Thursday night Party on the Patio featuring select tribute bands is one of these events among a host of others. Draft beer is something that people associate with summer fun, so we thought free draft beer was a great opportunity to enhance the Hot Summer Fun experience for our guests,” Bean said.
He said what’s done in Las Vegas, Atlantic City or elsewhere was not taken into consideration when discussions were held about whether to offer free draft beers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
“We wanted to elevate the Hot Summer Fun experience, do something that we had not done before,” he said.