Indian Casinos in Connecticut
Expanding on an earlier article about some of the USA's Top Gambling Destinations we decided to send a NorthWest US "Gaming Guru" to find out what all the buzz was about at the Indian Casinos in Connecticut. The first stop was the Foxwoods Resort Casino near Mashantucket, CT., where he explored the casinos, accommodations, attractions and amenities they offer and walked away a happy traveler. His next stop was the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT., with their Casinos of the Sky, Earth, and Wind who boast a combined total of almost 7,000 slot machines, over 300 gaming tables and some amazing entertainment and attractions; like the world's largest planetarium dome.
The Foxwoods Resort Casino is an impressive sight jutting out of the urban Connecticut landscape. It is within an hour's drive of some sizable populations so it's a pretty busy resort destination. We decided to go about midnight on a Friday night, and though we met a steady stream of traffic coming from the casino, the parking garages were still near capacity with a couple of floors totally full. Read on to find out about the Mohegan Sun too.....
We came in through the Rainmaker section and worked our way back to the MGM section, saving the best for last. The whole layout is impressive and the casino's service level hasn't dropped even as their revenues are slipping a bit over last year. Not being accustomed to being allowed to smoke and having free alcoholic drinks served while gaming in a tribal casino I found the Foxwoods experience a pleasant surprise.
Foxwoods is the largest casino in the United States and until the Venetian in Macau opened in 2007 it was the largest casino in the world. There's no doubt it feels like it if you spend a whole day or night there. If you want to explore the whole casino, plan on walking about a mile across the property. Foxwoods Property Map
The actual gaming area is over 340,000 square feet and is spread out over the property with distinct casino sections such as full non-smoking casinos, table game areas, a high roller's lounge, almost 400 table games, and a poker room with over 100 tables at the ready on any given night, not to mention the other hundred or more tables they add for tournaments. No wonder so many people call Foxwoods their favorite poker room.
There are over 7400 slot and video poker machines on the premises. It's claimed to be the highest paying casino in the Eastern US and that may be true. Foxwoods is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the native culture is well represented in the décor as well as the Pequot Museum on the property. The rooms are spacious and nicely accoutered and the service is outstanding.
The growth of the casino is an amazing success story in Tribal Gaming. It opened as a high-stakes bingo parlor in 1986, began offering table games as a casino in 1992, and in 1993 the Tribe cut a deal with the state of Connecticut to offer slot machines in exchange for 25% of the profit revenue they generated. Revenues for the tribe were down a little more than 6% to $59.2 million in August. This action generated over $16 million for the state of Connecticut.
It's really a unique place popping up out of the woods in rural Connecticut. Add to the offering some major sporting events, concerts and golf and I will wrap up my impression with one word; "Impressed".
Mohegan Sun is another experience altogether. On the banks of the Thames River in SE Connecticut every view is awe inspiring. Having been in some cheesy themed casinos in Vegas and elsewhere I was truly impressed with the holistic experience at Mohegan Sun. More than just a tourist trap sort of "Indian" theme, they seem to have truly integrated their beliefs and archetypes into the casino experience.
The 180,000 square foot Casino of the Earth is circular with four entrances each representing a season of the year. There are almost 4,000 slots and several hundred game tables to play.
Casino of the Sky is also circular with four entrances representing the elements of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. Opened in 2001 this 119,000 square foot casino has about 2400 slots and over 100 table games. The ceiling near Wombi Rock is where you'll find the world's largest planetarium. There are more than fifty restaurants and stores on two levels and several entertainment spots. Rounding out this section is a 1200 room hotel tower including a spa and convention center.
Casino of the Wind can be entered from Casino of the Sky and this is where you'll find the poker room. There is over 45,000 square feet of gaming in this casino with almost 700 slots and 28 table games. It may be the most impressive section with the giant 35-foot high water wall that acts as a projection screen right by the poker room. There are plans in the works to add another hotel tower here.
All slots and video poker games are 'ticket in - ticket out' and cash centers are located at convenient locations all over the gaming areas.
Entertainment is always going on. The 'Wolf Den' has free acts, the 200 seat Cabaret theatre hosts acts who prefer to perform in an intimate venue; these are often up and coming artists or old time favorites. Then there is the Arena, a 10,000 seat facility for major sporting events and larger concerts.
There's no shortage of restaurants, bars and clubs on site and plenty of shopping and things for the kids to do if you're traveling with your family. So to sum up, we would recommend that you take the time to visit these two great casino resorts in Connecticut if you ever get the chance!
Revenge of the Pequots: How a Small Native-American Tribe Created the World's Most Profitable Casino
The Gambling Guru