Casino Player’s annual survey of the country’s best casinos
For 25 years, Casino Player magazine has dutifully and excitedly presented the results of our Best Of Gaming awards. It is an annual highlight, a yearly tradition whereby our readers pick the best casinos in numerous regions across the country. And year in and year out it has been an enormous success. The casinos love it. The readers love it. And we love it.
This being the 25th anniversary of our first awards issue, at the onset of 2020 we had planned and envisioned many different things. Dramatically expanded categories. Additional voting months and methods. And various ways to get the casinos themselves directly involved with the issue. Yes, we had some big plans to celebrate the milestone.
And then COVID-19 happened.
We, along with the players and the casino industry itself, were left in a state of isolation and confusion. Nobody knew what was going to happen, how it would impact the country, and when it would end. We were left putting plans on hold, moving day by day with worry and apprehension that, to quote the old sidewalk profit, the end was nigh.
It was nearly half a year of waiting and wondering. Casinos were closed and players were left trapped in their homes, isolated and frustrated, not allowed to venture in public, to bars, restaurants, movies, or the casino.
Thankfully, the measures we suffered through had enough of an effect to loosen some of the restrictions and allow casinos to begin reopening with enhanced safety techniques and guidelines implemented. And for the past few months, gamblers have tentatively resumed their passion, a little at a time, visiting their favorite casino haunts across the country.
And while there are restrictions still in the form of masks and temperature screenings and cleaning on an OCD level, most of the casinos have now reopened and the industry is starting to recover from the damage left in the wake of the virus. It may take years to see things fully return to normal. Some even say this is the new normal. But at least all of the measures that casinos took to curtail the spread and keep both staff and players safe have so far proven effective, and allowed us all to once again take temporary refuge at the tables or seated in front of our favorite slot machine.
As things slowly crawl back to life, for this special issue we once again share the results of our reader-voted awards. Maybe not as we had originally expected for our 25th anniversary, but still with the casino and player in mind in this new era of coronavirus. And while you will still see the breakdown according to region and category, we have also included a very special section detailing what many of the properties have done to keep their players safe. It’s our Safety First awards, designed to draw attention to what’s gone on behind the scenes to make your casino visit as risk free as possible.
Let’s all just hope that we don’t need to do it again in 2021.
J. Phillip Vogel
Casino Player Magazine
Click on the links below to view the winners.