Nestled away in the small touristy town of Mt. Pocono, Mount Airy Casino, one of Pennsylvania’s smallest casinos, scored a mammoth victory when it landed The Stars Group as its online gambling partner. And that relationship is about to pay off in big ways, as PokerStars has (finally) launched its long-anticipated online poker and casino products in Keystone State.
Online poker may be the focus right now, but PokerStars has set a solid foundation for its online casino in Pennsylvania, launching with a limited batch of solid slot titles and table games, all integrated into PokerStars’ premium online gambling platform, which is now a one-stop-shop for casino, poker, and sports (through the FOX Bet brand). PokerStars Casino also supports the Pennsylvania market’s largest deposit bonus for new players — a whopping $1,500.
As we’ll see, PokerStars Casino has its flaws as well, as some of the terms and conditions are confusing, and the cashier and customer service leave something to be desired. But if you’re a fan of all gambling verticals, and are currently in the state of Pennsylvania, it’s hard to go too wrong playing on Stars.
PokerStars at Mount Airy online casino bonus offer – April 2020
At a total of $1,500+, PokerStars Casino currently holds the title for the largest casino deposit bonus in Pennsylvania. And the way it’s structured, players will receive bonuses on their first three deposits.
PokerStars online casino 2020bonus code and details
|PokerStars Casino PA Promo Code||-|
|Deposit Bonus||100% match up to $1,500+|
|Provider||The Stars Group|
|Casino Partner||Mount Airy Casino|
|Online Since||November 2019|
How it works
PokerStars has decided to divvy up its welcome bonus into three parts.
- 100% match up to $500 (min $25) on a player’s first deposit.
- 100% match up to $500 (min $25) plus a Mystery Chest on a player’s second deposit, which must be made within 14 days of the first deposit.
- 100% match up to $500 (min $25) plus another Mystery Chest on a player’s third deposit, which must be made within 14 days of the second deposit.
Ok, there’s a lot to digest here. First off, what are these Mystery Chests? Well, they’re essentially slots bonuses, up to $500, with the amount determined randomly. About 70% of the time, players will win a $10 or $15 bonus. However, there is a 1% chance to score a $50 bonus, a 0.1% chance at $100, and a 0.01% probability of a $500 bonus, with some other values sprinkled in between.
Also worth noting is that the second and third deposits must be made within 14 days of a player’s last deposit, and there are different promo codes to take advantage of each offer. Casino Instant Bonuses expire 28 days from being issued.
As for the wagering requirements, here’s where things get even more complicated. In order to convert the bonuses and any winnings into green withdrawable cash, a player must earn 5 redemption points per $1 of the bonus, before it expires. The same goes for the Mystery Chest bonuses.
Ok, fair enough, but how does one earn a redemption point? Simply put, they are earned by playing real-money casino games. However, the earn rates vary based on how “good” the game is. For instance, on an average slot with a return of 96%, players earn 1 point per $8 in wagers. However, on a blackjack game with an RTP (return-to-player) of 99.5%, they’ll have to grind out $64 per point, or 8 times as much.
Considering players have to earn 2,500 redemption points to convert a $500 bonus, then in our first example, our 96% return slot player would have to wager $20,000 (2,500 points * $8 per point) to clear it — a 40x wagering requirement. Our blackjack player would need to wager a staggering $160,000 (2,500 points * $64 per point) — a 320x wagering requirement. Holy smokes, that’s bad!
In short, while the bonuses on PokerStars will help bring you closer to playing a break-even game, you won’t have a temporary edge like you would on most other online casinos. It’s still worth taking if you’re planning on playing heavily on PokerStars Casino already, but it shouldn’t be the reason you choose Stars.
Advantages of PokerStars online casino
- One account for all: PokerStars players won’t be bothered with making multiple accounts, as their account and wallet will be shared across PokerStars Casino, PokerStars Poker, and FOX Bet sports betting.
- Premium interface: If there’s one area in which TSG truly excels, it’s software. Most of the time, the software — which is available on desktop as a browser-based client and a downloadable app, and as a mobile app on iOS/Android — hums along without so much as a hiccup, with a graphical interface that is a visual treat. Never have we seen so many bells and whistles packed into a UI.
- Exclusive table games: PokerStars Casino does table games its own way, with exclusive blackjack, roulette, and baccarat titles, available in single-player mode, or as multi-player games.
- Depositing option: PokerStars Casino has come out swinging with a myriad of viable depositing options including Instant eChecks, credit/debit cards, Stars Transfer, and PayPal. Expect the cashier to grow in due time.
- Complicated bonus terms with unfavorable wagering requirements.
- Short holds on deposits
- No live chat support
Registering on PokerStars Casino PA
In order to play real-money casino games in the state of Pennsylvania, you must be the legal gambling age of 21+. You do not have to have a physical residence in the state, but your location must be verified as within PA borders before you’ll be allowed to bet (other features can be accessed from anywhere). That is, unless you are located in the confines of a Pennsylvania brick-and-mortar casino, where online casino gambling is not permitted.
The initial registration process on PokerStars PA is markedly different compared to most other online casinos. Players only need to enter a valid email address, a Stars ID, and a qualifying password to lock in an account.
Once registered, players are free to peruse the site, customize their settings and responsible gambling limits, and grind with play money on the online poker site. But in order to play for real-money the site is going to require more information. This info is asked for at the point of sale, and includes:
- Full name
- Full address
- Date of birth
- Last 4 digits of SSN
- Security questions/answers
Note that players will only be asked to enter this information one time. Once the info, along with any payment info, is verified, players will be free to make deposits without any hassle.
Of special note, is that players with an existing account on FOX Bet PA can easily transfer their account information over to PokerStars Casino or PokerStars Poker. This works the other way around too, making registration on FOX Bet for existing casino/poker customers a breeze.
What platforms is PokerStars Mt. Airy available for?
PokerStars Casino is available as an all-inclusive desktop app, as a browser-based client, and as a downloadable application for iOS and Android devices.
PokerStars Casino can be accessed directly through the rather unwieldy pokerstarsmtairycasino.com domain. In order to get going, players only need a stable internet connection, access to WiFi for geolocation services, and one of many (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari for MAC, etc.) updated internet browsers.
In a phrase, this is a remarkable interface, with cool aesthetics, stellar responsiveness, and a no-nonsense UI that grants players ready access to the site’s game library. Access to promotional leaderboards and challenges, the cashier, player rewards, and the sportsbook are never more than a click away. One flaw is that players cannot access online poker from the browser-based client. Also, we had a difficult time accessing casino specific promotions.
For those who want to play online poker and casino games, it is recommended to download the PokerStars PA software. The app offers even quicker access to account settings, tools, and help features than the browser-based app, and was small enough that it didn’t wear down our system.
Speaking of settings and tools, this is one area where PokerStars really excels. Although most of the customization features apply to poker, never have we seen such a wealth of player options. This extends to the site’s Responsible Gambling section where players can set casino limits by game type, among myriad other RG protocols. Stars truly go above and beyond when it comes to protecting gamblers.
The game playing experience was generally solid. Games were slow to load the first time, but once you got going, the experience was generally seamless. All games were available in play money mode, which should please players that prefer to try before they buy — although we do wish Stars gave us more play chips to start out with.
As much as PokerStars excels in the desktop software department, the mobile app is even better. The casino app is fully-integrated with TSG’s online poker and sports betting software, with a wallet shared among all three, making for a very inclusive mobile gaming experience.
It is available for both iOS and Android devices, with Android users having to download the app directly from their mobile browser, and iOS users having the option of downloading from the Apple App Store.
Aesthetically and thematically, the mobile app is in line with the desktop version, sharing the same visual scheme and many of the same features. The game lobby adheres to a concise tabular structure, where game types are smartly categorized. Mobile users also have quick access to a full cashier, and a wealth of account features are tucked away in a hamburger menu, including leaderboards, challenges, special offers, account details, and responsible gaming limits. Those wanting to flip-flop between casino, poker, and sports can do so via the side menu, or even more rapidly, by using a drop-down menu from the app’s home page.
But what we’re really interested in is game performance. Well, pending your WiFI or 4G connection is stable, slots sing on mobile — although loading times vary. And you can’t play for free on mobile, which is a drag and something we hope Stars rectifies.
All in all, PokerStars is still king when it comes to mobile gambling products.
Cashiering options at Pokerstars at Mount Airy Casino
The PokerStars Casino cashier is a mixed bag. On one hand, there are enough depositing options to satiate most gamblers. They include:
- Instant eChecks
- Stars Transfer (Online Bill Pay)
Collectively, Stars provides enough depositing options that players shouldn’t struggle to get money on and off the site. However, we were a bit taken aback that the site doesn’t yet offer cash @ the Mt. Airy Casino cage, nor is there a PokerStars pre-paid card option available. Couple this with low acceptable rates on MasterCard/Visa deposits, and we’re only left with a few viable choices. We do, however, presume that more depositing methods will be added in short order.
Some of the depositing terms are also a problem. For instance, PokerStars imposes a 48-hour delay on withdrawals from the time of a player’s last deposit, claiming this is standard industry practice. But it’s really not. We’ve been on multiple PA iGaming sites where we were able to start the withdrawal process mere minutes after making a deposit.
Also, if a deposit is rejected for whatever reason, you’re going to have to wait several minutes before trying a new one. Again, not something we experienced on other sites. Add in some low initial depositing limits, and we were left pretty disappointed.
On the plus side, all these restrictions signal that PokerStars takes its security very seriously. Another positive is that when we were able to make a withdrawal, it was processed very quickly, sometimes within the hour.
At this moment, withdrawals can only be conducted through PayPal and Instant eChecks.
Mt. Airy online casino game selection
PokerStars currently features just a few dozen games on its site, but the game selection is solid, and the site breathes potential. Give it time, we’re nearly certain that the game library will expand by magnitudes.
Playing slots at PokerStars PA
PokerStars Casino PA currently offers over 50+ penny slots, most of them provided by top slot provider NetEnt. Popular titles include the progressive slot machine Divine Fortune, Gonzo’s Quest, Dead or Alive, Bloodsuckers, and the exclusive Stars Classic Slot.
It’s by no means the most expansive selection, but we must say that we were impressed with the average return, which hovered around 95%, with some slots supporting a 97%+ return-to-player.
We expect Stars to grow its slot selection significantly in time.
Players looking for a live playing environment from the comfort of their own computing device will have to wait, as PokerStars PA does not yet support Live Dealer games. However, we are quite hopeful that it will, as in neighboring New Jersey the casino has partnered with Evolution Games to deliver games like Live Dealer Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat to the masses.
Give it time. For now, PokerStars does offer digital multiplayer versions of its exclusive European Roulette and Baccarat titles, so if playing in a crowd is your sort of thing, give them a go.
PokerStars online casino blackjack
Currently, PokerStars only offers one blackjack game. It’s called Premium Atlantic City Blackjack, but don’t let the name fool you, as the ruleset is much closer to those found at Pennsylvania casinos, as opposed to the less player-friendly rules offered in Atlantic City.
The game is dealt out of a 4-deck shoe, with naturals paying 3:2, and the dealer standing on soft 17. Players can double on any two-card hand and can double after splits. Surrender is allowed. In fact, the only negative rule is that splits are limited to one per round, for two hands total. PA casinos typically allow up to four hands.
The stakes for this game tend toward the high side, with a minimum wager of $5 and a max of $2,500. Up to 5 hands can be played at once and the game returns 99.69% with perfect basic strategy.
As is the case with blackjack, PokerStars only offers one roulette game. But at least it’s the European variety, where there is only one zero on the wheel, making for a rather low house edge of 2.7%.
European Roulette features a clean layout, simple graphics, and all the bet types players have come to expect, including even/odd, black/red, numbers, corners, and more. The minimum bet clocks in at just $0.10, making this a solid game for casual gamblers.
PokerStars online casino video poker
PokerStars tends to do things their own way, and with that in mind, Stars Casino does not offer the standard Game King that is on almost every other online casino. PokerStars does offer its own home grown video poker games that feel almost like a knock off, yet modern version of Game King.
Video Poker game offerings include:
- Deuces Wild
- Joker Poker
- Jacks or better
- Double Double Bonus
- Tens or better
- Triple Bonus
- Double Bonus
- All American
- Aces and Faces
- Aces and Eights
All of these games are single hand only and have standard paytables, similar to Game King.
Other games at PokerStars Mt. Airy
PokerStars also currently offers an exclusive Baccarat game and in the future we expect it to eventually offer the popular carnival game, Heads Up Hold’em, which should satiate poker fans looking for an alternative to traditional Texas Hold’em.
Speaking of which, PokerStars Casino players can use their casino wallet to also play online poker. Currently, PokerStars is the only site that offers online poker, with tournament prize pools running as high as $100,000, and cash games running around the clock. Eventually, we expect PokerStars PA to share liquidity with players on its NJ site, although the timeline for when that will actually happen is currently unclear.
PokerStars at Mt. Airy Casino loyalty program
PokerStars offers a convoluted but decent rewards system, called Stars Rewards.
Players earn rewards points based on the game they are playing, with higher house edge games like slots offering a better earn rate than say blackjack or full-pay Jacks or Better. For instance, a 90% return slot grants 1 point per $0.50 in wagers, while Premium Atlantic City Blackjack players receive just 1 point per $8.58 bet.
Points can also be earned by playing online poker or betting sports, with the points pooled across all three verticals, which is definitely a major positive.
All players start off on Level 1, and each level is tied to a type of rewards chest. As an example, Level 1 players receive Blue Chests, while at the top tier (Level 6) they’ll be granted Black Chests. Chests are earned by reaching a reward points requirement (300 points at Level 1). Earn enough chests within a specific time frame, and graduate to the next Level, where you’ll be eligible for the next chest rank.
Chests hold personalized rewards based on the games you are playing and other factors. The rewards are also semi-randomized. A Blue Chest holder may receive anywhere between $0.25 and $5 in value, with the higher amounts significantly less common than the lower ones. Up at the top (Black), chests are worth between $35 and $700. PokerStars Casino has integrated a progress bar, so it’s extremely easy to see how close you are to your next chest.
We’ve run the numbers, and while the kickbacks aren’t insignificant, they’re certainly not enough on their own to warrant playing on the site. Think of them as more of a fun side game, where you’ll most likely get a small return on your investment, and occasionally, an awesome prize.
PokerStars PA customer support?
Despite being one of the world’s largest gaming brands, Stars doesn’t do itself any favors in the customer service department. Getting an answer on the fly is impossible, as the only way to contact support is through a form. The form is well thought out, with neat filters and an easy to use attachment function, but we were really expecting some sort of direct line, like Live Chat or phone support.
Instead, players will have to wait until they get an email back from an agent, which could take a few hours or a few days. The agents we’ve encountered have answered our questions, but why is this the only way to receive an answer?
More about the land-based Mount Airy Resort Casino
There’s a reason why the name Mount Airy resonates with both residents of and tourists to the Poconos. That’s because its roots stem all the way back to 1898, when the original Mount Airy lodge was constructed. Back then it was just an eight-room inn, but demand quickly swelled, and by the 1950s it expanded into the Poconos’ premier tourist destination.
Time took its toll on the resort, and by the 1980s tourists were seeking out newer hotels for their getaways, such as those in nearby Atlantic City. Ultimately this led to Mount Airy Lodge’s foreclosure in 1999.
Thanks to legislation passed in 2004, that allowed for two standalone PA casinos to be built outside of Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, Mount Airy would find new life, this time as a slot parlor. Mount Airy wasted no time getting its operation up and running, opening its doors in 2007 and adding table games in 2010.
Today Mount Airy Casino is one of two AAA 4 Diamond casino resorts in the state, the other being the much larger Wind Creek Bethlehem. The smallish casino features nearly 2,000 slot machines, approximately 80 table games, and nine dining facilities including the upscale and award winning Bistecca. A spa, salon, and fitness center are also on site.
In September 2019, Mount Airy Casino opened a FOX Bet branded, 7000 square foot sportsbook that shares the space with a 12 table PokerStars poker room. Mount Airy’s sportsbook features four self serve kiosks in the sportsbook, four kiosks spread through the casino floor, plenty of TVs and luxury lounge seating.
The casino is also known for its signature Wet Pool Bar, the only nightclub of its kind in the Pennsylvania market.
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