In the spectral hush of Christmas Eve, an unexpected silence descended upon Pennsylvania’s Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. As guests were reveling in the holiday spirit, the festivities ground to a halt shortly before the stroke of 7:15 p.m. A technical glitch, a ghost in the machine, had wound its way through the casino’s veins, prompting an abrupt evacuation of the premises.
This unforeseen interruption in merriment stretched its arms into Christmas Day, casting a stillness over the gaming floor usually alive with the clamor of slot machines and the shuffling of cards. The clock’s hands made their rounds undisturbed until, finally, at 12:42 p.m. under the clear light of a holiday noon, the casino breathed life once again. The doors swung open and welcomed back its eager guests, their appetites for excitement unswayed by the brief lapse in operation.
Murky were the details of the technological specter that had visited; the casino’s lips sealed, save for a terse acknowledgment on social media: “Although we had briefly closed due to a technical issue, we wanted to confirm the casino is currently open. Thank you for your patience and have a great day!” This message, minimal though charged with relief, stood alone in the sea of speculation.
Among the casino’s patrons, rumblings of discontent surfaced on social media; hunger for the clatter of coins and the flick of cards went unsated on the night before Christmas. Despite the grievances aired in virtual echo chambers, the establishment reassured that no dark, criminal malice lurked behind the closure; no sirens or badges required at the scene.
This disruption, however, was not without its strain. With a skeletal crew attending to the holiday shift, labors to revive the casino from its technical slumber were sluggish. Yet, the Hollywood Casino, a beacon of constant activity, designed to shine its neon glow tirelessly through the yuletide season, was back to its 24/7 rhythm – its slot machines, table games, and roulette wheels whirling just as before, unstopped by Christmas nor glitch.
Elsewhere in the casino’s recent history, tumult had struck. A man of 45 years, hailing from Harrisburg, Pa., had, in an earlier, unrelated tempest of fury precipitated by losses at the wagering table, laid siege to an elevator. He kicked, the elevator halted, and he found himself encaged between floors until firefighters came to his aid. His punishment remained veiled in the aftermath, unshared, and unsung.
And in the weeks prior, the somber gavel of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board had fallen, fining the casino $40,000. The offense: a breach of the sacred age threshold, as minors slipped through the cracks and gambled on the sacred gaming floor. Thrice it had happened, each transgressor younger than 21, and so the penalty was rendered onto Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association LLC, the overseer of the Games.
In these stories and in this latest chapter of closure and reopening, the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course weaves a rich tapestry, both verdant and vibrant, against the backdrop of life’s odds and chances.