The Big Six

How to parlay a night at the casino into your perfect play

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With the opening of the Twin Rivers’ new Tiverton Casino and the MGM Springfield, Rhode Islanders now have a rich selection of gaming and entertainment options within day-tripping distance. Of the half-dozen casinos in the area, five have hotels if you want to extend a winning streak into the next day. Rather than just rolling the dice on which casino bests suits your interests, we visited them all to compare what they bring to the table.

 

Foxwoods Resort Casino

If you haven’t been to Foxwoods in a while, it’s easy to feel disoriented. Other than in the original Rainmaker Casino, the tired old green decor is gone, replaced with a kaleidoscope of widely spaced (and brightly lit) gaming floors, attractions, restaurants, shops, and bars. It’s at once all you could want, and a bit much. The good news: With so much room for people to spread out, the casino rarely feels overcrowded, and there are even a few islands of solitude to be found, such as in the Veuve Clicquot champagne lounge on the skybridge connecting the Grand Pequot and Fox Tower hotels, and the small, sedate smoke-free gaming area. The new Play Arena features single dealer playing casino games with multiple gamblers seated at video stations – this is the $5 blackjack that you’ll see advertised around the casino (roulette and baccarat are other options).

Hitting the Jackpot
There’s no better casino in New England for people who don’t like to gamble. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of gaming options, but it’s easy to fill a day here doing literally anything else. Take some laps on the Monza World Class Karting track or soar down the zipline that runs from the top of the Fox Tower to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum three-quarters of a mile away. Rent one of the TopGolf Swing Suites for an hour with friends and test your skills at golf, football, baseball, hockey, and zombie-hunting. When you’ve built up an appetite, Cedars remains a top-notch steakhouse with attentive service.

Why Make the Drive
Multiple entertainment options live up to the resort’s “Play All Day” motto.
350 Trolley Line Blvd, Mashantucket, CT 

Tiverton Casino

Think of the Tiverton Casino as Twin River’s spunky little brother: it’s got just enough gaming action to keep things interesting (we especially liked their central live table games and stadium gaming setup), plus a little bit of everything else such as a pint-sized Race Book and a secret VIP lounge just off the gaming floor. The hotel lacks the pool that Twin River has but shares similarly fresh and calming decor.

Hitting the Jackpot
A unique air-circulation system blows cigarette smoke up from the gaming floor to ceiling vents where it gets filtered out, so the casino never seems overly smoky. Plus, there are a range of dining options including a Jacky's Galaxie!

Why Make the Drive
It’s new, it’s clean, and it’s the right size for a quick couple hours of casino action.
777 Tiverton Casino Blvd, Tiverton, RI

Twin River Casino

With nearly all vestiges of its dog track days swept away and the recent addition of an attractively designed hotel, Twin River moves closer to the vision of being a destination unto itself rather than a glorified slots parlor. It’s easy to make a nearby night out at Twin River, and occasionally a little more.

Hitting the Jackpot
Free live shows at the Lighthouse Bar are true events, with top-rated tribute bands and local performers taking the stage in front of a spacious dance floor and several levels of stage-facing seating. The new Twin River Hotel has well-appointed rooms with pleasant nautical decor and amenities like an outdoor pool and fitness center. On the gaming floor, its small size and repeat clientele create personal connections you won’t get at a bigger casino unless you’re a high roller.

Why Make the Drive
Twin River has most of the amenities of a bigger casino but in compact form, including good performance spaces, ample dining, and a decent selection of gaming options.
100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln, RI

MGM Springfield

The region’s newest casino puts a different spin on destination gaming with its downtown location and unique decor inspired by local literary heroes like Dr. Seuss and Emily Dickinson. The restaurants here immediately debuted among the city’s best, including the excellent Cal Mare and the welcoming South End Market, a micro-take on Philly’s Reading Terminal Market that puts other food courts to shame. The casino can even make a legitimate wellness claim – not only is it smoke-free, but massages are offered to players.

Hitting the Jackpot
We fell in love with the library-themed decor in the hotel lobby – home to an excellent mixology bar serving creatively themed cocktails – as well as the guest rooms, a fun mix of Victorian formality and steampunk flourishes. The integration of the casino with downtown Springfield was impressive: it’s easy to imagine exploring the city in warmer weather and taking in shows in the beautiful plaza laid out between the casino/hotel and historic State Armory building, now a venue for comedy shows and other events.

Why Make the Drive
With downtown Springfield at your doorstep and attractions like the Basketball Hall of Fame a short walk or free bus ride away, the MGM Springfield feels like a true destination — a feeling enhanced by the refreshingly warm and welcoming hotel.
One MGM Way, Springfield, MA

Mohegan Sun

The Mohegan Sun has stood the test of time, with its original woodsy decor showing no signs of aging and a familiar set of old favorites mixed in with newer dining and entertainment options. The 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena offers a steady slate of professional sports action as well as hosting national touring acts in concert and new Expo Center is a monster that’s set to host the biggest events and shows in New England. The Race Book is still the best (and friendliest) in the region with 200+ individual carrels– each with a personal monitor allowing you to view and listen to the race of your choice. Table limits from $10 to $500 attract players of almost every budget and the Vista Lounge under the planetarium roof on Wombi Rock remains one of the cooler places around to have a cocktail.

Hitting the Jackpot
If you’re a VIP or just want a splurge, the new Aspire hotel offers spacious suites and access to butler service and a posh lounge, Thirty Three, with private gaming tables, unlimited top-shelf drinks, and gourmet food. The fresh lobster salad and raw bar, steak and salmon entrees, and made-to-order breakfast omelettes served alongside mango mimosas will make you want to eat all your meals here.

Why Make the Drive
Mohegan Sun isn’t the biggest or the newest casino resort – it just does everything really well. Decor, dining, and entertainment venues are all top-notch and laid out in a warm, friendly, and classy atmosphere that never feels forced or in-your-face.
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd, Uncasville, CT

Plainridge Park Casino

This combination harness-racing track and slot parlor just northwest of Providence is good for a quick stop for some video gaming or live racing action in season.

Hitting the Jackpot
The only fully non-smoking casino within easy driving distance.

Why Make the Drive
The only casino in the region to offer live horse racing, with a harness-racing schedule that runs April through November.
301 Washington St, Plainville, MA