Mount Airy Casino Resort: Bringing An Historic Poconos Property Back To Life

The Poconos have been Pennsylvania’s most popular local vacation and recreation destination since the start of the 20th century. However, an economic downturn marked the beginning of the 21st century. As a result, more Poconos resorts and hotels closed than opened.

The Poconos landmark Mount Airy Lodge fell victim to its age and a slowdown in the economy in 2001. It closed the doors that originally opened in 1898 and were rebuilt in the 1950s in October of that year.

The resort was spread out over 1,000 acres. It was a year-round vacation destination. Mount Airy featured indoor and outdoor pools, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and archery. There was an 18-hole golf course and paddle ball courts. In the winter, the property featured skiing, snowmobiling, and ice skating. The lodge itself had 890 rooms and was a particularly popular spot for honeymooners.

Although the property’s heydays were back in the 1960s and ’70s, and less expensive travel options in the 1980s saw the number of guests returning to the resort decline substantially, it’s closing was truly the end of an era.

The investment company that bought the property and shut the doors sold it to Scranton developer Louis DeNaples in 2004 for $25 million. DeNaples sold the historic resort’s contents at auction in March 2005 and tore down the lodge later that year.

In July 2006, DeNaples broke ground on a hotel and casino property where the famous Mount Airy Lodge once stood. By the end of the year, the state awarded him a license to operate slots on the property.

The brand new $412 million Mount Airy Casino Resort

The $412 million Mount Airy Casino Resort officially opened in 2007. First came the casino and it’s more than 2,500 slots. It opened on Oct. 22, 2007, and grossed close to $10 million in the month before the hotel was ready to start accepting guests. The 188-room hotel eventually opened in mid-November and sold out immediately.

Mount Airy Casino Resort now boasts a 62,000-square-foot casino with more than 1,800 slots and 70 table games. In addition to the hotel, there are four restaurants, a nightclub, and bars. There’s also a spa, salon, and fitness center on the property. There’s an indoor and outdoor pool with its own bar and lounge, whirlpool, water features, sculptures, and private cabanas. Plus there’s an outdoor deck with table-side fire pits. Mount Airy Casino Resort is also home to its own 18-hole golf course.

DeNaples was ultimately forced to hand over casino ownership to his daughter to avoid perjury charges. Four months after Mount Airy opened, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board alleged he lied about his connections to organized crime while seeking a casino license. DeNaples was forced to divest his interests in Mount Airy Casino Resort, but not before he had successfully returned the once vaunted vacation property to its former glory.

Mount Airy Casino Resort revenues

Mount Airy Casino Resort is really a third tier casino when it comes to gross gaming revenues. It pulls in close to $200 million in gross gaming revenues annually. It’s an impressive number considering the remote locale, but it is less than the almost $300 million second tier casino and racetrack operations like nearby Mohegan Sun Pocono or The Meadows Racetrack and Casino and Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course rake in every year.

It also lags well behind PA casino industry leaders Parx Casino and Sands Casino Bethlehem, who have both averaged above $500 million in gross gaming revenues the past couple of years.

The latest numbers available from the state’s gaming control board show Mount Airy Casino Resort reported more than $147 million in slot revenues in 2017. The organization also reported just a little under $142 million in slot revenues in 2016. Table game figures have shown Mount Airy Casino Resort pulling in $42.5 million in 2016 and $46.5 million in 2015.

Casino games at Mount Airy Casino Resort

With more than 1,800 slots, Mount Airy Casino Resort boasts some of the hottest slot titles in Northern Pennsylvania. There’s certainly something for everyone.

With as many as 70 table games, Mount Airy Casino Resort has more than just the basics covered. The table games on the casino floor at Mount Airy include:

  • Mini Baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Let It Ride
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Roulette
  • Three card poker
  • Spanish 21
  • Crazy 4 Poker
  • Big Six wheel
  • Mississippi Stud

There’s also a nine-table poker room called the Mount Airy Poker Parlor that spreads Hold’em, Stud or Omaha, No Limit or Limit, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mount Airy Casino Resort is also online. Its Play Mount Airy app offers the chance to play free-play slots, blackjack, roulette, keno, bingo, and video poker from a computer or mobile device. Plus, there’s a direct link to the 888 online casino in New Jersey from the Mount Airy Casino Resort website, allowing players inside New Jersey state lines to play for real money online.

Pennsylvania became the fourth state to legalize online gambling in October 2017. Online casinos are currently undergoing the regulatory and licensing process in the state. They will likely open up in the second half of 2018. The above factors all seem to indicate Mount Airy Casino Resort is ready to be a part of the new online gambling market in the state.

The DeNaples family and Mount Airy Casino ownership

Mount Airy Casino Resort was built at a cost of $412 million with Scranton developer DeNaples reportedly using mostly his own money.

Just months after the property opened, DeNaples was charged with perjury after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board alleged he lied about his connections to organized crime while seeking a license for the casino.

As part of a plea deal that saw the criminal charges dropped, DeNaples was forced to hand over ownership to a trust in the name of his daughter Lisa DeNaples. She owned and operated the property until 2012 when Mount Airy petitioned the gaming control board to allow the equal transfer of ownership interests to trusts held in the names of DeNaples other children and some of his grandchildren.

The board ultimately approved the move. Lisa DeNaples, Louis DeNaples Jr., Donna Dileo, Anne DeNaples, Dominica DeNaples, Margaret Mary Glodzik, and the children of Nicholas DeNaples each now own a one-seventh share of Mount Airy Casino Resort.

Louis DeNaples and his various other commercial interests have tried to do business with Mount Airy Casino Resort in various respects over the years. DeNaples took the gaming board to court to fight for that right. However, a prohibition against DeNaples making any money off the property has been consistently enforced, forcing him to stay away.

The Mount Airy Casino Resort advantage

As the name implies, Mount Airy Casino Resort is more than just a casino. It’s a full-service resort in the Poconos that hearkens back to the glory days of the historic Mount Airy Lodge that once stood on the grounds.

The Mount Airy Casino Resort advantage is that it is a getaway destination in the Poconos mountains with a casino. It offers everything from the proximity to nature in the Poconos, AAA Four Diamond hotel amenities and accommodations, a variety of dining options and live entertainment, and an 18-hole golf course. And as if that weren’t enough to get you up there, there’s gaming as well.

Mount Airy Casino Resort promises more than just the opportunity to gamble. It promises a vacation experience you’ll always remember and delivers on that promise all year round.