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GOING NATIVE

Our annual review of the best bets in tribal gaming

By Karrie L. Zukowski

 

The rise of Native American casinos has been a dramatic one in recent years, a growing trend that has made the excitement of gambling and the casino lifestyle a reality from coast to coast. Where once you had to plan an extended trip just to visit a casino, for millions of gamblers it’s now a good bet there’s one within driving distance. Here are our selections for some of the top tribal properties in the country. Each one has its own merits, nuances, and surprises, but all are fantastic casinos worthy of a visit.

SENECA ALLEGANY RESORT & CASINO

 Salamanca, New York

Nestled among the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in Salamanca, New York is Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino. This full-service resort attracts more than 3 million visitors each year and provides the perfect getaway destination, allowing you to take advantage of nearby skiing, camping, golf, hunting and other recreational opportunities.

Of course, the real attraction is the resort itself, which offers world-class gaming and entertainment, fine and casual dining, a full-service spa and salon and 413 luxury hotel rooms – all surrounded by incredible views.

Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino is home to one of the most impressive hotels in Western New York, awarded AAA Four Diamond certification for every year since 2009. Pamper yourself in any of the luxurious rooms, including 45 corner, end, or center suites. All of the rooms offer spectacular views of the Allegheny Mountains with unobstructed mountain vistas. Make a splash in the relaxing indoor pool, unwind as you soak in the steamy whirlpool, or get your heart pumping in the state-of-the-art workout facility.

Feel the rush of the hottest games in the region and choose from over 1,700 reel and video slots including some of the newest video poker games. Spin your way to a wild jackpot on one of the countless linked progressives or visit the high-limit slot machines for higher denomination and max bet games. Some recently added titles include Cleopatra Pinball, Dancing Drums, El Toro, Green Machine, Johnny Cash and more.

There are over 30 table games for non-stop excitement. Seneca Allegany has reorganized the casino floor to increase space between table games to give you greater comfort while playing! All of the tables have been resurfaced with brand new black cloth and the chairs at each table are now wider and more comfortable. Popular games offered are blackjack, craps, roulette, Caribbean stud and let it ride, just to name a few.

No matter your appetite, hit the culinary jackpot at Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino. At the Western Door you can savor cuts, chops and flown-in seafood. Delight in the aromas of authentic Italian at Patria. Choose from more than 120 boutique wines from around the world and enjoy dishes that were all prepared from scratch.

Indulge in indecision at the award-winning Thunder Mountain Buffet. This spectacular all-you-can-eat buffet includes eight serving stations and exhibition cooking with more than 100 items, all prepared with the freshest ingredients.

And there’s more. Choose from breakfast, lunch, or dinner anytime at the 24-hour Seneca Café. Enjoy your favorite drink and appetizer at The River Bar. When you need food on-the-go, stop by Bear Claw Café and Seneca Café Express.

For a break from the excitement, retreat to The Spa & Salon – a place where you can quiet your thoughts, calm your spirit and soothe your senses. Relax with a Swedish body massage, full body wrap or customized facial. Treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, waxing or hair service in the full service salon. For more information visit www.senecaalleganycasino.com.

SENECA NIAGARA RESORT & CASINO

Niagara Falls, New York 

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino is a full-amenity resort located in picturesque Niagara Falls, New York. Featuring 604 rooms and suites, this AAA Four-Diamond rated hotel is the region’s premier vacation destination. With nine restaurants, ten shops, more than 3,300 slots and video poker machines, and nearly 100 table games, live poker, keno, a full-service spa, flexible meeting facilities, rewarding promotions, superstar entertainment and exciting nightlife, Seneca Niagara is consistently rated as a must-see Niagara Falls casino.

Seneca Niagara’s deluxe rooms and suites provide distinctive amenities and luxurious touches designed to elevate your stay. All of the rooms feature upscale amenities including a pillow-top bed, oversized shower, flat-panel HDTVs, HD programming including new release movies and music on-demand and complimentary high speed WiFi access property-wide.

It’s time to put your luck to the test in the world-class casino! Spin your way to a life-changing jackpot with linked progressives or visit the high-limit slot area for machines with $5 — $100 limits. From classic favorites to the latest reels, penny spins to $100 pulls, they have the perfect game for you. New slots include Game of Thrones, Plants vs Zombies 3D, Flintstones and Orange is the New Black. Other popular favorites available are Ted, Big Bang Theory, Wheel of Fortune, House of Cards, Jurassic Park, Titanic, Willy Wonka Pure imagination, Monopoly, Elvis Shake Rattling Reels, Lord of the Rings, The Jetsons, Cheers and more.

Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like the live action of your favorite table game! Experience maximum thrills in the high limit table game area or join the blackjack scene in the smoke-free casino, Turtle Island. Grab a seat and get into whichever game you love! And up the ante in the world-class Poker Room, which offers 16 tables and all levels of play. Join the action with live Texas hold’em, Omaha and seven card stud games.

There’s a brand new gaming and entertainment experience at Seneca Niagara! Pulse Arena is an exciting combination of live entertainment, electronic table games featuring touch screens, and an exciting blackjack party pit! It’s the first of its kind in North America! While you play, check out your favorite social media posts on the giant video screen. Interact with the live Host & DJ and other players online using the touch screen while in a nightclub atmosphere. Pulse Arena features your favorite table tables — with lower buy-ins than traditional table games meaning you can get into the action for less!

On any great vacation, food and drink is always a topic of conversation. At Seneca Niagara, you can choose from a collection of exciting Niagara Falls restaurants. Between decadent steakhouses and classic American fare to cozy coffee shops and tasty places to grab something sweet, there is something for every appetite. With so many options, you’ll want to try them all. Favorites include The Western Door Steakhouse, Thunder Falls Buffet and Three Sisters Café. For more information, visit www.senecaniagaracasino.com.

SENECA BUFFALO CREEK CASINO

Buffalo, New York

Located in the heart of downtown Buffalo’s burgeoning Inner Harbor area, the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino offers the gaming excitement you expect from a Seneca property in an intimate environment. Opened in 2007, the name Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino refers to the Seneca Nation of Indians’ original Buffalo Creek Territory, which occupied lands surrounding the current nine-acre casino site. To help encourage the growth and development of the surrounding neighborhoods, the Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation recently established a $1 million fund to support beautification and community revitalization projects in the area surrounding the casino.

Buffalo Creek Casino offers endless ways to win! Feel the rush of over 1,1 00 of the hottest slot and video poker games in the Buffalo region. Spin your way to a wild jackpot on one of the countless linked progressives or visit the high-limit slot machines to experience the higher denomination and max bet games. And check out the new nonsmoking room for more enjoyable play! From classic favorites to the latest reels, penny to $25 pulls, the perfect game is here for you.

The newly expanded casino now features over 30 table games. Featured games include blackjack, craps, roulette, Mississippi stud, let it ride, three card poker, Spanish 21 and the newly added Texas hold’em and casino war.

If you’re looking for good food Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino has that covered too! The all-new WD Bar & Grille features panoramic city views from the dining room or the patio and offers steaks, seafood and divine desserts. The Creek provide our guests with fresh, local ingredients and offer a variety of seasonal soups, salads and sandwiches. Be sure to stop by Stixx Sports Bar, where you can cheer on your favorite sports team and sample some great local brews. For more information, visit www.senecabuffalocreekcasino.com.

MOHEGAN SUN POCONO

Plains, Pennsylvania

Stunning and packed with excitement, Mohegan Sun Pocono is one of the most distinctive entertainment, gaming, shopping and dining destinations in Pennsylvania. Situated on 400 acres in Plains, Pennsylvania, Mohegan Sun Pocono features a 238-room hotel with on-site spa and adjacent 20,000 square-foot Convention Center. It is currently home to 82,000 square feet of gaming space, a variety of dining and shopping options, nightlife, entertainment and live harness racing. Mohegan Sun Pocono is within easy access of New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware.

Mohegan Sun Pocono has grown into one of the biggest gaming destinations in the region featuring over 2,300 slot machines, more than 90 table games and live harness racing. The beautiful 82,000 square foot gaming floor includes a luxurious high-limit slot room and a private player’s lounge. In addition, nearly half of the gaming space has non-smoking sections.

Play on an array of slot machine games that include the latest technology, in denominations from 1-cent to $100. Featured games include the popular Wheel of Fortune games, Triple Red Hot 7’s, Monopoly, Deal or No Deal and Hot Shot Progressives as well as newer games such as Austin Powers and 88 Fortunes slots.

The property features table games including blackjack, roulette, mini-bac, three card poker, let it ride and craps, as well as a non-smoking poker room. The non-smoking Poker Room includes 18 tables, several flat screen televisions and a bar. A variety of tournaments are offered daily.

One of the largest draws to Mohegan Sun Pocono is the live harness racing on The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Experience the most thrilling live harness races from March through November. Guests can place their bets at the track, Dial-A-Bet, utilize off-track-wagering sites or follow along online. Players can also earn valuable points that can add up to incredible rewards such as: food, beverages, programs and more utilizing the Racing Rewards Club offered at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. For more information visit wvw.mohegansunpocono.com.

AGUA CALIENTE CASINO RESORT SPA

Rancho Mirage, California

Owned and operated by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, this luxurious four-diamond property is a full-service resort catering to every kind of gambler and featuring an elegant 16-story hotel with spectacular views of the San Bernadino and San Jacinto Mountains. Each of the 340 rooms feature cozy bedding, flat-screen televisions, and sunken tubs and a modern, cool decor that make for a great night away from home.

The casino itself is a player’s paradise, offering 71,000 square feet of the area’s best gaming with slots, video poker, and table games — plus, the valley’s only private poker room – and high-limit gaming in an upscale, private atmosphere.

The casino also offers a packed gaming floor featuring 1250 of the hottest slots along with 36 table games with all the favorites, including blackjack, commission free mini baccarat, commission free pai gow poker, mystery card roulette, and Hot Water craps, along with the best selection of progressive novelty games in the Valley such as three card poker, ultimate Texas hold’em, crazy 4 poker, and the classic let it ride.

Poker players can get in on the action at the 18-table Poker Room in live games or tournament action. Get dealt in on Texas hold’em, Omaha, and other popular variations with numerous promotions and regular tournaments.

Dining options are plentiful with numerous types of cuisine. A few favorites include: the award-winning Steakhouse for delectable seafood, steak, and wonderful service; Waters Cafe for American classics mixed with unique California cuisine; the Grand Palms buffet for the best in Asian, Mexican, Italian, and American classics; and Java Caliente for gourmet coffee and fresh pastries, bagels, and more. The Poker Deli also offers up great burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts for those who don’t want to miss any of the action.

For a great night out, head over to The Lounge for nightly live music (for free) and a cocktail. Enjoy a cool cocktail in a relaxed atmosphere at the Rendezvous lounge. Away from the casino, soak up some sun and sip a drink poolside in the 50,000-square foot outdoor playground featuring two swimming pools, a jetted spa, and comfortable cabanas with access to a full-service outdoor bar and grill. Need more relaxation? Select a package from the award-winning, 10,500-square foot SunStone Spa — from mani/pedis and makeovers to massages and body scrubs. The positive energy is truly invigorating, and spa specials and packages are available. Simply put — this property is a vacation in one easy location. For more information visit: www.HotWaterCasino.com.

SPA RESORT & CASINO

Palm Springs, California

This sister property of the Agua Caliente sits on nine acres in the heart of downtown Palm Springs and is only a short ride from the Agua Caliente property — perfect for a stay at the main resort hotel and then a side trip out.

Table games aficionados will enjoy plenty of excitement at 29 games including mystery card roulette, single and double deck blackjack, fortune pai gow poker, three card poker, EZ baccarat and more. Slots fans will enjoy machines of every variety and denomination including favorites like Ellen Dance Party, Wolf Run, and Timberwolf. Ready to play bigger? Venture over to the high stakes Platinum Room for slots, blackjack, and mini baccarat. Don’t forget your Paradise Rewards Club Card.

After working up an appetite, head over to the award-winning Steakhouse for the best in chops, fresh seafood, and an extensive wine selection. Enjoy a refreshing cocktail during the daily happy hour from 4-6 p.m. Oasis Buffet offers something for every palate including several active cooking stations offering custom-ordered entrées and an expansive international menu ranging from Mediterranean to Latin to regional American as well as delicious dessert and salad stations. For the best in Asian fare, check out the Noodle Bar for delectable dumplings, sushi, miso soup, sake and delicious specialty drinks—and, of course, scrumptious noodle dishes with pork, beef, seafood or vegetables.

Throughout the year locals and visitors alike are met with an array of outdoor entertainment options at Spa Resort Casino, including Concerts Under the Palms, a state of the art venue designed to showcase the best in live music during the cooler months. Check out their Third Annual Palm Springs New Year’s Eve Countdown, where visitors and the community are invited to come out and enjoy an evening under the stars filled with live music, food and drink and a midnight fireworks spectacular.

Golfers will delight in the nearby Indian Canyons Golf Resort, which has been a California favorite since 1961. Set on 550 acres of Native American tribal property, the 36-hole course was a favorite of celebrities and former U.S. presidents including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan. For a night out, grab an ice cold beer with friends. Head to Sundance for the best in local brews, and then to Cascade Lounge, spinning the best hits on Saturday nights. For more information visit: www.SpaResortCasino.com.

Paragon Casino Resort

Marksville, Louisiana

Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, Louisiana, 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 a thousand of your favorite slot games, 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 swim-up bar, full-service spa, three-screen cinema, retail shops and a championship golf course. There’s something for everyone!

Over a thousand slot games are waiting for you. You will find new favorites as well as classic reel games, and some you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the hot, new slots include Extreme Dragon, Rainbow Cash, 5 Dragons Grand and Ultimate Eruption.

If the tables are what you seek, look no further. Paragon has all the favorites like blackjack, 3 card blackjack, craps, roulette, Mississippi mud and more.

Looking for the best Poker Room in Louisiana? You got it, live Poker action that’ll please new and veteran players. All of the poker tables are now equipped with USB ports for your convenience.

Paragon satisfies all of your hunger pains with six delicious dining options at your fingertips. Enjoy Louisiana fine cuisine at Legend’s Steakhouse. Get ready for comfort, style and famous food at the Marketplace Buffet. Or choose from a variety of tasty menu items from Roxy’s Diner anytime.

After playing a round of golf, 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.

And while at Paragon, be sure to sip the coldest drinks around! The Atrium Bar serves up specialty drinks at the exclusive frosted bar, located in the enchanting hotel atrium. Or choose from 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. Upcoming headliners at the Mari Showroom are Johnny Gill, Jan. 13 and Brad Paisley, March For more information, visit www.paragoncasinoresort.com.

Gila River Casinos

Gila River Gaming Enterprises, lnc., operates three Arizona casinos owned by the Gila River Indian Community including Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Lone Butte Casino, and Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino. All three casinos offer a combination of slots, table games, bingo, and poker and are open 24/7. So when you are in Arizona, check out these hot spots for Tribal gaming. For additional information call 1??800??946??4452, or visit www.wingilariver.com.

VEE QUIVA HOTEL & CASINO

Laveen, Arizona

Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino is a luxurious boutique hotel, featuring 90 lush rooms, a fitness center and pristine pool with pool side suites. Conveniently located in Phoenix’s West Valley, Vee Quiva offers a wide variety of gaming, dining, and entertainment.

Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino has thrilling gaming action for every style of player with over 900 slot machines. Games such as jurassic World 3D, Texas Tea Pinball, Gentlemen prefer Blondes (starring Marilyn Monroe) and Ellen. There are over 30 oversized table games including blackjack, pal gow, 3 card poker, Spanish 21 and a 16-table poker room for the card players. Enjoy picturesque National Park views in the state-of-the-art 550-seat bingo hall aptly named Bingo Park.

You’ll never go hungry at Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino. The facility features a wide variety of dining options including a signature restaurant, 24/7 dining option, multi-unit food court, coffee counter, and poolside dining. At Ditka’s Restaurant, Vee Quiva’s signature restaurant, Da Coach has taken a winning approach to meals. It’s the everyday place where you can unwind with your friends and dig into signature dishes like “Da Pork Chop,” the “Fridge” Burger, steaks, ribs, seafood and so much more.

Vee Quiva Event Center is over 6,000 sq.ft. of flexible space to host dinner banquets, meetings or to watch a great lineup of live entertainment. Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino not only offers many exciting things under one roof but offers many more exciting things to do within the Gila River Indian Community!

WILD HORSE PASS HOTEL & CASINO

Chandler, Arizona

Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino is a premier hotel featuring tastefully appointed rooms with a wealth of amenities at a reasonable price. While staying with Wild Horse Pass, watch for the native wild horses which have roamed free among area desert plains for centuries and a sky full of stars at nightfall!

Experience exciting gaming action that suits everyone. With 100,000 square feet of casino, over 956 slots including a premium high limit area, over 65 table games and poker, you’ll always find a winning combination.

Wild Horse Pass offers more new games with the latest themes from the various machine manufacturers such as IGT, WMS Gaming, Aristocrat, etc. Many feature multi-level progressives, interactive bonus features and mini games, which allows players to experience more involvement, interaction and decision making in the game verses just pressing a button and waiting for the outcome.

Table game players have not been forgotten! There are over 40 gaming tables which include blackjack, fortune pai gow poker progressive, and many of your favorite carnival table games. The Poker Room at Wild Horse Pass has 25 state-of-the— art poker tables set in a rich but comfortable environment. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy over 30 TVs including eight large screens for easy viewing. There is no shortage of action and a wide variety of games for every budget and skill level. Structured and spread limit hold ‘em and Omaha games are offered and stud games are available when demand allows. Most games feature a full kill and bad beat jackpots.

The Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino offers a variety of restaurant options ranging from high-end dining to casual eats. Try Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar & Grill or head over to Café 24/7 for some good old comfort food, but a must try is Shula’s Steak House. One of the featured entrees is the 48-ounce porterhouse. Those who finish it join Shula’s 48-Ounce Club, which currently has more than 26,000 members. Enjoy an undefeated dining experience, where only the best beef money can buy is offered, The SHULA CUT.

LONE BUTTE CASINO

Chandler, Arizona

Lone Butte Casino in Chandler, Arizona, is another Gila River property with all the thrilling gaming action for every style of player.

No matter what you’re looking for, Lone Butte Casino provides the most diverse and latest-themed games in the Valley with over 800 of the newest and most popular slots, including a premium high limit slots room. Many of these new games feature multi-level progressive and interactive bonus features. Plus, three of the casino bars offer a wide variety of video poker and keno games.

Lone Butte also has 24 Las Vegas style table games with limits ranging from $5 to $1 ,200. You can try your hand at fortune pai gow poker progressive, three card poker with bonus 6, crazy 4 card poker, and ultimate Texas hold ‘em.

Check out the wall-to-wall action in the Big City Sports Lounge with hot gaming action on 12 table games and video poker progressives. Big City is a full service sports bar featuring Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, up to the minute sports coverage on huge LED HD screens, and sports memorabilia showcases.

Join the bingo fun any day of the week! The state-of-the-art and spacious bingo hall features 750 seats and has morning, matinee, evening and late night B.A.D sessions. Enjoy Lone Butte’s monthly bingo promotions that create excitement and fun for all bingo lovers!

Lone Butte Casino offers a wide variety of dining options from casual dining to quick, tasty options in the food court. So many choices, it’s hard to decide!

Experience the essence of coast-to-coast American cuisine at Cities Bar & Grille. The expansive lunch, brunch and dinner menus feature a fresh take on signature dishes from across the country like New Orleans jambalaya, St. Louis Ribs, Baltimore Crab Cakes, New York Strip & more!

At Café 24/7 you can take a break from fun casino games and head over to this hip, trendy atmosphere featuring fresh sandwiches, soups, chili, appetizers, quesadillas and more! In addition to the restaurants, there’s a variety of quick service options to fit your taste, time, and budget including American Bandstand, Broadway Deli and Panda Express.

With live music, great drink specials, happy hour, and more, Lone Butte’s bars and lounges are the place to be. Stop by the V Bar or Cascades Lounge for good times, live music, happy hour, karaoke, dancing, drink specials, and more. Discover the brand-new bar, Lucky’s, offering traditional and Irish-themed cocktails, a great beer selection, daily drink specials and more. It’s the perfect bar to unwind after work, catch a game or just relax before a show in the brand new Event Center.

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