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High Stakes, Low Stress: Casinos That Have It All

Today, casinos are bustling with groups who are seeking the ultimate getaway. From the thrill of taking to expanded gaming floors and hitting it big to unwinding poolside and finding relaxation through restorative spa treatments, casinos have more to offer than ever before.

Follow along as we explore some top choices for those groups who are looking for that all-encompassing (and undeniably unforgettable) casino resort experience.

Found in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan is Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Hotel, home to the state's largest gaming floor. Here groups could easily find excitement around every corner, whether they love playing for triple sevens on one of many slot machines, are pros at pulling up a chair and putting on a strong poker face, or are known for their bingo hall hot streaks.

Visiting groups will feel welcomed from the moment they arrive, thanks to newly renovated lavish guest rooms and suites, a full-service spa & salon, both casual comfort food and fine dining options and much more. There's also a family-friendly Cyber Quest arcade, so all members of your group could join in the fun.

Those looking for entertainment could enjoy a rocking indoor performance at the property's 37,000 square foot entertainment hall or even an outdoor performance under the stars during Soaring Eagle's annual Outdoor Summer Concert Series. Groups could also enjoy a delicious cut of USDA Prime beef served up on a sizzling 500-degree plate at Ruth's Chris Steak House, coming to Soaring Eagle in spring 2023.

Head further north to Michigan's scenic Upper Peninsula to visit the festive atmosphere of Island Resort & Casino, located 13 miles west of Escanaba. Thanks to a recent $33 million expansion, visiting groups could enjoy elegant guest rooms and spacious suites, a 12th floor restaurant, the Splash Island Pool (complete with a lazy river and an adults-only saltwater pool) and plenty more. The property's expansive Vegas-style casino is host to over 1,200 slots, a poker room, various table games and can't-miss sports betting action with the Island Sportsbook. Don't forget to visit the Bingo Hall, with offerings that include Cosmo Bingo played under black lights with fluorescent cards and daubers!

If your groups are eager to hit the green, they can have their pick of two championship golf courses, while those seeking an escape can "drift away" in the Drift Spa, home to deep relaxation float therapy, a sauna and steam rooms—just to name a few. World-class entertainment and headliners are easily found in the Island Showroom and Club 41, not to mention bountiful dining options throughout the property, no matter if your groups are craving a delicious dinner at Horizons Steakhouse or want to catch the big game at T. McC's Sports Bar. Thirsty? There's even complimentary soda available throughout the property.

The largest resort casino in North America, Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut—owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation—offers groups plenty of ways to get in on the action. In addition to 3,400 gaming machines, 249 tables and a new High Stakes Bingo Hall, groups could take flight above the treetops on the HighFlyer Zipline, enjoy some stress relief with a "smash session" at Smash Avenue, relax poolside in a private cabana, and do some shopping at Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods—just to name a few.

Come summer 2023, groups could also enjoy the arrival of Wahlburgers, a fast-casual restaurant and bar chain founded by brothers Mark, Donnie and Chef Paul Wahlberg. The eatery will offer groups visiting Foxwoods an exclusive experience in a fun, casual, music-filled environment.

Situated in Hot Springs, Arkansas is Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, a storied destination with over 100 years of premier Thoroughbred racing history. 2021 saw the completion of Oaklawn's $100 million expansion, bringing luxury to the forefront with amenities like a new eight-story hotel, an outdoor pool with full service cabanas, 10 different dining options (not including room service) and the relaxing Astral Spa.

Those looking to place their bets are undoubtedly in the right place. In addition to placing a wager on one of Oaklawn's many horse races—including the Arkansas Derby—at their sportsbook area, the property's expanded, state-of-the art casino offers groups a chance to enjoy live craps and blackjack, in addition to popular slot games and more. Don't forget the live music!

Head to Biloxi, Mississippi, where groups will find Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, an MGM Resorts International property and the tallest building in the state. Fun and festivities await in the property's 10 restaurants, five lounges and bars, 10 retail venues, spa and salon, pool, championship golf course and 1,550-seat theater.

The resort's 85,000-square-foot casino has plenty to offer groups in terms of gaming, whether they want to pull up a chair in one of two luxurious high-roller salons or choose from 50 player-favorite, Buffalo-themed games in the Buffalo Zone. And at the end of a thrilling day, groups could kick back and relax in one of the resort's 1,645 guest rooms—all of which are newly remodeled and feature stunning views of the Mississippi Gulf Coast or historic Biloxi and Back Bay.

Located in Temecula, California mere minutes from Southern California wine country, Pechanga Resort Casino—owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians—is a dream for casino lovers. Pechanga boasts a casino floor of over 200,000 square feet, an opulently outfitted high limit gaming area, a links-style golf course designed by Arthur Hill and Steve Forrest, a 4.5-acre pool complex featuring a swim-up bar and more.

Luxury and comfort come alive, as groups indulge in several of the pampering services offered at Spa Pechanga, many of which feature the use of native botanicals such as lavender, sage and chia. They could also sink their teeth into something delicious at one of the property's many dining options—including the award-winning Great Oak Steakhouse—before taking in a performance or live sporting event.

Call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1.800.522.4700 or visit for 100% confidential help, 24/7/365.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor of Groups Today.

This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb '23 issue of Groups Today.


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