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Looking for the best casino that’s close to home? Check out these non-Vegas gaming hotspots

By Karrie L. Zukowski


With the snow finally gone and the warmer weather here to stay, it’s time to plan your next casino getaway. But with so many options to choose from, the question quickly becomes where do I go? While Las Vegas is always a popular option, there are many terrific casino destinations spread out all across the country, properties with their own unique theme and identity.

To help you find the ideal property for your trip, we’ve detailed some of our favorite non-Vegas casino destinations from coast to coast.

Turning Stone Resort Casino

Verona, New York

A multi-million dollar face lift at Turning Stone Resort Casino enhances the already exceptional guest experience just in time for spring.

In customary fashion of the Oneida Nation, recognized by many renowned institutions and esteemed publications for the amenities and hospitality at its Upstate New York Resort, the upgrades are a direct response to guest feedback.

With a new contemporary design, a renovated Keno Lounge and the brand new Golden Dragon – an international high-limit gaming section offering popular table games such as midi baccarat, pai gow poker and blackjack – the all-new gaming floor at Turning Stone delivers more than 125,000 square feet of new gaming options and exciting modern features.

The leading tourist destination in its region, Turning Stone Resort is the veteran of gaming in New York. The latest upgrades are the most extensive in the resort’s nearly 24-year history, allowing it to include new concepts such as the recently debuted Casino Blu. This is a smoker-friendly casino within the casino and offers one of the only smoker-friendly gaming floors in the region. Casino Blu features a new state-of-the-art air filtration system, a wide variety of slot machines and table games and its own cocktail lounge. Outside of Casino Blu, the remainder of Turning Stone’s all-new gaming floor is now smoke-free, allowing guests to choose their preferred experience.

Providing a wide-array of options for its diverse guests, as well as continually transforming its offerings, Turning Stone rivals resorts you’d expect to find in major cities around the world, which may contribute to its recent recognition as one of the “10 Top-Notch Casinos in Unexpected Places,” by Forbes Travel Guide – the global authority on luxury travel.

Further setting the resort apart and distinguishing it as a leader is the fact that it’s the only central New York property to have earned both the esteemed AAA Four Diamond Award (for three different venues actually) and the Forbes Four Star distinction. The exemplary guest service, as well as its first-class amenities, are both cited as deciding factors for the prestigious awards.

Off the gaming floor, guests can also explore two luxurious spas, five golf courses, more than 20 dining options, a 5,000 seat arena, a cabaret-style Showroom and several nightlife venues with live weekend entertainment. With accolades and awards from the finest gaming, hospitality and travel experts in the industry, Turning Stone has earned its reputation as a world-class gaming destination and definitely warrants a visit this spring.

Hard Rock Rocksino

Northfield Park Northfield, Ohio

Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park is centrally located just 20 miles southeast of downtown Cleveland and 20 miles north of Akron. Gaming, entertainment, great food, legendary rock and roll memorabilia and vibe—that’s what’s waiting for you at the very first Hard Rock Rocksino located in Northfield, Ohio.

The Hard Rock Rocksino brings excitement to the place for rock and roll by inviting guests to play, dine, and win in a thrilling gaming and entertainment atmosphere. Its rock spirit and limitless energy makes for a perfect pairing with Northfield Park’s world-famous racetrack. So prepare to be wowed with winning moments, flavorful adventures, memorable nights and unforgettable encores.

When you walk into the 200,000 sq. ft. Rocksino you’ll embrace the history of arena rock with a priceless collection of memorabilia throughout the entire property. Get more out of your gaming experience, with over 2,200 of the most popular games to choose from—some of which are only available at Hard Rock Rocksino. Special slots only available at Hard Rock Rocksino include: Cleveland Rocks VLT, Rock$ino Riche$ VLT and Northfield Park VLT.

Serious players are racking up rewards like pros and earning every time they play on their Rock Star Rewards card. When you use your Rock Star Rewards card at any VLT machine in the Rocksino, you instantly earn comp dollars redeemable for dining, free play, tickets, invitations to members-only events and so much more. Plus you’ll become eligible to receive direct mail offers. Hard Rock Membership perks cost you nothing and your Rock Star Rewards membership starts rewarding you the moment you start playing.

Whether you’re a roadie or Rock Star, you’re a part of the tour. And Hard Rock’s got incredible options to take you on a culinary tour de force to satisfy any craving. Be sure to check out these dining favorites:

Hard Rock Café: Enjoy classic American fare while you dine amidst rock and roll history. Experience an authentic rock and roll atmosphere and live music on the exciting elevated stage.

Kosar’s Wood-Fired Grill: Take in all the sights as you’re surrounded by legendary memorabilia from Cleveland’s favorite number 19, Bernie Kosar. Enjoy the aroma of the wood-fired grill uniquely preparing choice steaks, chops, and fresh seafood. Hang out in the Bar and indulge in some premium specialty drinks, a selection from the extensive wine list, or a nice cold beer while you watch the game.

Fresh Harvest: Fresh, local and passionate are the only ways to describe what the executive chef and his team has prepared for you. Featuring multiple action stations, including two hearty carving items daily, you may not know where to begin. This buffet has over 64 different items every day, so you can experience a unique culinary medley with every visit.

Constant Grind: This bistro features a delicious selection of hot and cold delicatessen delights. Not to be missed.

Concerto Italian Kitchen: Hard Rock’s New Dining Experience! The new fast-casual, Italian restaurant, Concerto features personal pizzas adorned with authentic, fresh toppings, along with many creative pasta dishes, sandwiches, fresh salads and gelato for dessert.

Finally, Hard Rock Rocksino is more than just gaming. It’s where the biggest and hottest concerts in Cleveland all rock in one spot–Hard Rock Live. Located right off the Rocksino floor, this Cleveland concert venue is the pick for upfront, close, and in your face shows with your favorite bands. With a capacity of 2,600 fans and the best audio and lighting systems, you can experience one live, blow-out concert after another at the place where rock lives. Don’t miss Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, August 11 or Donald Fagen & The Nightflyers, August 25. For more information, visit

Grand Sierra Resort and Casino

Reno, Nevada

Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, located in the heart of the Reno-Tahoe area, features over 1,900 hotel rooms with standard, suite and luxury rooms, many with beautiful views including downtown Reno and the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The Grand Sierra Resort offers exceptional customer service, a luxury spa, shopping and fun activities for everyone. Whether you are at Grand Sierra for an overnight trip or an extended vacation, expect to be pampered and treated like a VIP.

The Grand Sierra Resort and Casino has it all: award-winning restaurants, great entertainment, a large casino floor with table games, slots, poker games and so much more. No matter what you are looking for – tournaments, rewards, the latest games, wide-area progressives, or jackpots –GSR has everything you crave.

GSR’s newest addition is the Grand Stadium, an all-new video gaming experience. As it continues to set the standard for gaming in the region, the Grand Stadium will feature baccarat, blackjack, craps and roulette with six 65” monitors and 30 seats. The Grand Stadium is part of a series of updates and additions over the next few months.

The Grand Stadium, located near the William Hill Race and Sports Book, has 18 stadium seats with individualized screens for baccarat, blackjack, craps and roulette, all facing the video wall with six 65” monitors. The area will also feature two six-seat roulette stations. The Grand Stadium is the first of its kind in the region providing a new and exciting way for guests to play their favorite table games. The Grand Stadium opened on April 15.

Reno nightlife is among the best anywhere, and entertainment at Grand Sierra is no exception. The property features sounds from leading DJ acts in LEX Nightclub to concerts with must-see acts and top-name artists at the Grand Theatre. Boasting a capacity of more than 2,700 luxury seats with more leg room, wider seats and wider aisles, and tiered rows of seating ensures everyone will have a great view of the grand stage.

The Grand Theatre also has exclusive VIP booths with personalized beverage and bottle service, new artist facilities, as well as a glassenclosed lobby with a two-tiered entry. Get tickets while you can for Comic sensation Tom Segura, June 10, Los Tigres del Norte, June 16, Miike Snow and Phantogram, June 30, Donny and Marie Osmond, July 14, Brian Regan, July 15, Diana Krall, July 22, Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows, July 26, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, July 28, Boz Scaggs, July 29.

As you would expect, the dining is top notch, with 11 restaurants to choose from including fine dining, casual dining and to-go options. Grand Sierra is proud to present two Chef Charlie Palmer restaurants – Charlie Palmer Steak, a progressive American-style steakhouse; and Briscola, an authentic and traditional Italian restaurant. And you don’t have to venture far to experience the culinary enchantment of the Far East. GSR presents some of the most delectable sushi in Reno, along with a profusion of other Pacific Rim specialties at Rim, the bistro-style Pan Asian restaurant. There’s also a 24 hour cafe and a buffet for those wanting variety and an all-you-can-eat experience. If you head downstairs, you’ll find several family friendly eateries such as Johnny Rockets, Port of Subs, Round Table Pizza, Yogurt Beach and Spare Time, the snack bar inside the GSR Bowling Center.

For more information visit

Paragon Casino Resort

Marksville, Louisiana

The pride of Louisiana, Paragon Casino Resort offers the best of all worlds, a world-class casino packed with excitement, a plethora of dining options, and headlining and local entertainment. Enjoy a spacious, comfortable gaming floor featuring over 1,000 of your favorite slots, off track betting, table game action and the friendliest poker room in Louisiana. And that’s not all! Lavish hotel accommodations with more than 500 rooms and suites, an indoor tropical pool with swimup bar, full-service spa, three-screen cinema, retail shops and a championship golf course. There’s something for everyone.

Paragon answers those hunger pains with six delicious dining options. Enjoy fine dining and delicious cuisine at Legend’s Steakhouse. Get ready for comfort, style and mouth watering food at the Marketplace Buffet. Enjoy Louisiana Boiled Crawfish or some fresh oysters at Big Daddy E’s Cajun Grill and Oyster Bar. Or choose from a variety of tasty menu items from Roxy’s Diner anytime. Or after playing a round of golf, why not relax at Tamahka Grill? Overlooking the golf course, The Grill at Tamahka Trails Golf Club offers a full menu including salads, burgers, club sandwiches, seafood and much more.

While at Paragon, be sure to pause from the excitement to sit back, relax and sip a refreshing cold drink. The Atrium Bar serves up specialty drinks at the exclusive frosted bar, located in the enchanting hotel atrium. Or, if tequila is your distilled beverage of choice, try one of five different flavors of daiquiris at Bon Temps Daiquiris. Enjoy the best in Louisiana concerts and comedy at Paragon Casino Resort. Rock, Country and Louisiana-style entertainment are all yours on the Mari Showroom, Club Mezzaz or the Atrium Bar.

A few upcoming headliners at the Mari Showroom are Smokey Robinson, May 28, Anthony Hamilton, June 16 and The Lalas Burlesque, June 24. So check it out! For more information, visit

MGM Grand Detroit

Detroit, Michigan

Out of town travelers and natives alike all hear the roar rising from the opulent $800- million MGM Grand Detroit. Indulge your need for the good life at the award-winning hotel nestled in the heart of Detroit. Near all major sporting and entertainment venues and only 20 minutes from the Detroit Metro Airport, MGM Grand Detroit is the perfect place to recharge after an exciting day of gaming or a night on the town.

Stay in luxury with rooms that boast oversized marble showers with dual rain heads, in-room dining, 42-inch plasma digital IP televisions, flush-mounted bathroom mirror digital IP televisions and 510 square feet of sleeping space.

If relaxing is the goal, choose from an exclusive menu of re-mineralizing seawater and marine extracts, exotic botanical, and meticulously customized aromatherapy-based treatments and rituals at the IMMERSE spa. Packages for face, body and nails, treatment packages, and restorative baths and massages are designed to transform, refresh, tone and detox. And premium pampering is not just for women anymore, IMMERSE features men’s treatments and couple’s rooms as well. It’s a total sensory experience wrapped in urban luxury.

MGM Grand Detroit serves up a premier gaming experience. With nearly 3,500 slots and video poker machines to choose from and 121 table games that cater to everyone from the high rollers to the ante amateurs, MGM makes a visit worthwhile.

Step up to one of the slot or video poker machines and call Lady Luck to the line. Some of the featured slots are Orange Is The New Black, Dragon Spin, Game Of Thrones, Wonder 4 Tower and Sons Of The Dragon, just to name a few. Plus, enjoy the same high-energy action in a smoke-free environment. The Clear II is now open and the second gaming area that gives you a fresh choice for your slot playing experience.

When it’s time to feast, give in to your cravings at one of the two Wolfgang Puck restaurants. For the perfect steak, reserve a table at Wolfgang Puck Steak. Or sample the finest tastes of Italy, at Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina. Catch the big game and enjoy comfort food and pub classics at TAP. For casual dining or quick bites, tempt your taste buds at Palette Dining Studio or Breeze Dining Court.

MGM Grand Detroit is proud to announce it will be home to the first National Coney Island in downtown Detroit! Open 24 hours, the menu will feature great-tasting classics including National Coney Island’s famous coney dogs, popular Hani sandwiches and awardwinning chili.

Every evening spent at MGM Grand Detroit promises to be unforgettable. It’s your perfect place to unwind or celebrate. AXIS Lounge hits all the right notes with live local bands performing classic hits ranging from Motown to jazz to modern pop. It’s an ideal spot to let loose with signature cocktails and soulful sounds. Experience nightlife at its finest and catch Ralphie May at the MGM Grand Detroit Event Center on May 26! For more information about all the MGM Grand Detroit has to offer, visit

Parx Casino & Racing

Bensalem, Pennsylvania

Conveniently located 20 minutes north of Center City Philadelphia, Parx Casino offers exciting gaming, thrilling entertainment and superior customer service with unique style and upscale flair. Featuring more than 200,000 square feet of gaming space, with 3,500 slot machines, over 130 live table games, a premier 80 table poker room, live racing and simulcast action.

Take a spin on your choice of state-of-the-art slots including progressive, reel, poker, novelty and video machines. With a variety of denominations ranging from 1-cent to $100, you will have no trouble finding your game. Featured slots include Wonka, The Walking Dead, Clue and over 100 electronic blackjack, single zero roulette and 3-card poker games.

Enjoy 130 world-class tables including blackjack, craps, 4 card poker, baccarat, roulette and 3 card poker. Get in the action on the new live dealt, $5 minimum hybrid table games featuring Fusion Baccarat, Fusion Roulette and Shaq Blackjack, a live action blackjack game featuring stadium style seating and exciting side bets themed around NBA star, Shaquille O’Neal!

To ensure your special treatment continues, sign up for the Xclub card to receive match play, food and beverage comps, points and gifts based on your play. Also with the Xclub card, you’ll receive exclusive offers and discounts when you present your Xclub Card at participating community partners, such as Golden Corral, Days Inn, Applebee’s and more. Simply show your Xclub Card and save!

Feeling the urge to bet the ponies? No problem! Parx Racing has been recognized for its innovative design and excellent management for over a decade by offering state-of-the-art signal technology, comfort, conveniences and great service. So catch a race at the grandstand or just stop by to enjoy any of the fine bars and eateries. Anyway you play it, racing adds a whole new dimension of excitement to the casino experience.

Gaming won’t be the only thing whetting your appetite. If the action leaves you hungry, sample any one of the quality, tasteful and affordable dining options. Whether you’re craving an on-the-go snack or luxurious fine dining, Parx hosts an array of options to please every taste bud.

Parxgrill: This award-winning upscale signature restaurant, features a unique menu of classic cuisine alongside chef-inspired seasonal specialties. With seating for over 100 guests, a private dining room and an intimate cocktail bar, Parxgrill is an unforgettable dining experience.

Chickie’s & Pete’s: Eat, drink, interact and take going out to the next level. Philly’s favorite sports bar features unrivaled atmosphere, amazing food, beer towers and the innovative Play2 interactive gaming.

Bamboo Noodle House: Featuring a menu designed by Chef Joe Zhou with novel appetizers, dumpling dishes, impeccably prepared classic noodle soups, wonderfully executed wok favorites, and of course, Chef Joe Zhou’s Signature Peking Duck with steamed lotus root buns.

Earl of Sandwich: A delightful upscale sandwich shop were each signature creation is handmade with fresh-baked artisan bread and the finest ingredients.

Foodies: Relax with a coffee and doughnut or grab a mouthwatering Philadelphia cheesesteak, it’s just what you’re looking for 24 hours a day.

Paddock Grill: Don’t miss a minute of the racing action. Head to the counter and grab a quick bite of your fast food favorites.

Circle Bar: There’s no need to leave the poker room to refuel. Get refreshed for the next round with a sandwich, some soup or an ice cold beer. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served 24/7.

If you’re looking for a good time, you’re looking for Parx. For more information visit


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