Indigenous Casinos Grab Five Spots on Top 10 List of Resorts Outside Las Vegas

Posted on: October 5, 2020, 12:11h. 

Last updated on: October 5, 2020, 02:26h.

For the second consecutive year, Indigenous tribes own and operate five of the top 10 casinos not in Las Vegas, as ranked by USA TODAY’s 10Best.

Top casinos Foxwoods
Searching for a premier gaming experience outside of Las Vegas? USA TODAY says Foxwoods is the best US casino resort outside Sin City, (seen here). (Image: Foxwoods Resort Casino)

Each October, USA TODAY recruits gaming industry experts to compile a list of the 10 best casino resort destinations in the United States — with Las Vegas excluded. For 2020, the panel agreed that no casino outside Sin City is better than Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.

Owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Foxwoods has continually ranked on the 10Best list.

“Foxwoods offers 4,500 slot machines — ranging from penny games to $100 minimums — as well as 300 table games, high stakes Bingo at one of the world’s largest Bingo halls, a race book with 50-foot digital projection screens, and the largest poker room on the East Coast,” the experts said in their ranking decision. “Four unique hotel properties and over 30 restaurants make it easy to stay and play.”

Foxwoods is one of two tribal casinos in Connecticut. Mohegan Sun also placed on the 10Best honors, the Mohegan Tribe property coming in at No. 10.

Top Ranked Tribal Casinos

According to the American Gaming Association, there are nearly 1,000 commercial or Native American casinos in the US. The Las Vegas area is home to approximately 50 commercial gaming venues, leaving more than 900 gaming resorts qualifying for inclusion on the USA TODAY 10Best casino list.

It’s a crowded market, with many states at or approaching a saturation point. But Native American resorts continue to stand out. Along with the two tribal casinos in Connecticut, three others owned by Native Americans cracked the top 10.

Tribal Casinos on 10Best

No. 10 Mohegan Sun — Connecticut

No. 9 Pechanga Resort Casino — California

No. 7 Seminole Hard Rock & Casino Tampa — Florida

No. 5 Casino Del Sol — Arizona

No. 1 Foxwoods Resort Casino — Connecticut

Gamblers say a good casino features friendly table game dealers, 3:2 blackjack, single zero roulette, free slot play and loose machines, rewards programs that actually deliver rewards, and smoke-free sections.

Lower Resort Fees

What certainly doesn’t help a casino in being deemed the “best” are ever-escalating resort fees. Las Vegas visitors have expressed frustration with the mandatory add-ons, which are now as high as $45 a day, providing such amenities as free local calling, Wi-Fi, fitness center access, and boarding pass printing.

The casinos on the 10Best list have lower resort fees, or none whatsoever.

The list, and their nightly resort fee:

  • No. 10 Mohegan Sun — Connecticut — $25
  • No. 9 Pechanga Resort Casino — California — $0
  • No. 8 Harrah’s Atlantic City — New Jersey — $20
  • No. 7 Seminole Hard Rock & Casino Tampa — Florida — $0
  • No. 6 Peppermill Resort Spa Casino — Nevada — $30
  • No. 5 Casino Del Sol – Arizona — $0
  • No. 4 Ocean Casino Resort — New Jersey — $23
  • No. 3 Atlantis Casino Resort — Nevada — $30
  • No. 2 Hard Rock Atlantic City — New Jersey — $17
  • No. 1 Foxwoods Resort Casino — Connecticut — $20

Mohegan Sun, Pechanga, Atlantis, and Foxwoods were all on the 2019 10Best list of non-Vegas casinos.