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Meeting Casinos: Ace Up Their Sleeve

Casino resorts have more than an ace up their sleeve; they’re equipped with world-class amenities, a wide selection of dining options and plenty of chic meeting space. To boil them down to their slot machines and table games is to sell them short.

Add gorgeous natural scenery, local culture and distinct activities to enjoy after the meeting, and a casino conference venue can turn into a prime getaway destination. Meeting planners can sweeten the pot by hosting their next event at these casinos with destination appeal.

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino

Incline Village, Nevada

The vivid blue waters of Lake Tahoe create a breathtaking backdrop for meetings, while the area’s abundance of outdoor activities from skiing to water sports to hiking make it a leisure and adventure destination that will impress any attendee. On the lake’s north shore, Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino offers luxury accommodations and entertainment for guests.

The resort’s 65,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space includes a 7,000-square-foot Regency Ballroom that can be divided into six sections; seven additional meeting rooms ranging in size; and two outdoor venues that show off the region’s natural beauty. The resort’s culinary team uses locally sourced ingredients to cater events. Audiovisual equipment is provided by the resort, and an on-site team can provide production assistance. Adventure specialists are available to arrange programs for attendees, ranging from yoga classes on the beach to guided hikes. Additionally, guests can game in the Grand Lodge Casino, relax in the resort’s spa or heated pool and dine from their choice of four restaurants.

“We have anything and everything to offer planners and their guests,” said Ashlee Barton, director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. “We offer a one-of-a-kind experience due to our natural setting of the great outdoors, the top tier amenities and activities we offer groups.”

Tulalip Resort Casino

Tulalip, Washington

With 370 guest rooms, 200,000 square feet of gaming and 30,000 square feet of meeting space, Tulalip Resort Casino is an appealing option for meetings in the Pacific Northwest. The property is owned and operated by the Tulalip Tribes native to Washington.

“We offer a unique experience for guests to allow them to experience not only a four-diamond, beautiful property but our tribal history, culture and artwork throughout the property,” said Tracy Goolsby, director of sales and hotel operations at Tulalip Resort Casino.

The resort offers 13 total meeting rooms, including a 15,000-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into three 5,000-square-foot sections. Each section can accommodate conventions, conferences or events with up to 500 guests. There’s also a 4,800-square-foot junior ballroom and 6,000 square feet of pre-function space. The resort features an indoor pool, a luxury spa and an entertainment venue. All catering is handled in-house by a seasoned culinary team, and the in-house audiovisual team works with state-of-the-art equipment to take care of any meeting’s production needs.

The resort is just outside of Seattle, so attendees can take advantage of the city’s numerous attractions while enjoying the resort’s lower price point. Aviation enthusiasts can head to Boeing’s Future of Flight Aviation Center and even tour the Boeing plant. Nearby, there are also whale watching cruises and experiences.

Mohegan Sun

Uncasville, Connecticut

In a region of southeastern Connecticut known as Mystic Country, Mohegan Sun is a massive casino resort owned by the Mohegan tribe, which has been in the area since before the pilgrims arrived. The casino sits on the Thames River and is just a short drive from the New England Coast and the Mystic Seaport area, which features museums, restaurants and an aquarium.

The resort features 1,600 guest rooms and 275,000 square feet of meeting space in two convention centers, as well as 40 restaurants, 30 shops, two pools and two spas. In the Earth Expo and Convention Center, there’s a 120,000-square-foot expo hall, a 20,000-square-foot ballroom and 12 meeting rooms. The Sky Convention Center features a 38,000-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into 10 rooms and 20 additional meeting rooms. The resort also contains multiple entertainment venues, including a 10,000-seat arena, a theater and two casinos with a combined 300,000 square feet of gaming.

“We’re different than other properties that force you to walk through the casino,” said John Washko, vice president of sales and marketing at Mohegan Sun. “We purposefully have designed it so all those areas are available for groups to utilize but they don’t interfere with the business, so the property is very thoughtfully designed.”

All the resources a planner could need can be found in-house, from audiovisual support to a transportation services team. Mohegan Sun offers an extensive catering menu to accommodate any meeting, from breakfast buffets to receptions.

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Home to one of only a few casinos in Arkansas, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort began as a horse-racing venue in 1904, but it eventually added a casino. In 2020, a new hotel tower with 198 guest rooms and a convention center was built. The event center is 18,000 square feet, including a 15,000-square-foot ballroom that can split into three sections. An additional four meeting rooms each seat between 40 and 50 attendees, while the boardroom accommodates up to 20. The event center’s pre-function space is known for its high ceilings and tall windows, which give it a chapel feel. Catering is exclusively handled in-house, and audiovisual equipment is provided.

“It’s a brand-new conference center with all the most up-to-date, modern technology available you would need to make a meeting successful,” said Adrienn Massaglia, director of sales at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. “After the meetings, people don’t have to worry about where to go to have fun because we have six restaurants on-site, we have the casino, we have an outdoor pool, and we have a spa and all the great amenities.”

Other amenities at the resort include a gym, three Top Golf Swing Suites, axe throwing, shuffleboard and two gift shops. Outside the resort, Hot Springs is known for the beauty of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains, as well as its historic bath houses. Attendees can take a ranger-led walking tour of the city, visit the historic bath houses and explore museum’s detailing the area’s extensive history.

French Lick Resort

French Lick, Indiana

Two historic hotels nestled in the scenic Hoosier National Forest form the sprawling French Lick Resort, a stunning meetings destination and relaxing getaway rolled into one. The French Lick Springs Hotel, circa 1845, has 443 guest rooms, while the West Baden Springs Hotel has 243. Between the two hotels, the resort’s amenities include a casino, 11 restaurants, two spas, five swimming pools, three golf courses, horseback riding, hiking trails, archery and bowling.

“Hoosier hospitality is at its finest here,” said Adina Cloud, director of sales at French Lick Resort. “We have over 1,000 associates, and we all work very hard to create wonderful experiences for our guests. We created our meeting space with meeting planners in mind.”

The resort’s total meeting space amounts to 163,000 square feet. French Lick Springs Hotel provides 105,000 square feet, with 27 meeting rooms, including a 31,600-square-foot exhibition hall, three ballrooms totaling 42,000 square feet and 18 breakout rooms. West Baden Springs Hotel has 11 meeting rooms, including the hotel’s opulent, 35,000-square-foot atrium. Additionally, the properties contain other distinct venues, such as the Pete Dye Pavilion, which features distinctive views of the golf course, and Stables Pavilion, an outdoor venue. Catering and audiovisual services are provided in-house, and attendees can also participate in team-building activities hosted by the resort, such as culinary challenges or games.

Off the resort, activities like a visit to the nearby Wilstem Wildlife Park, French Lick Winery and Distillery, and Patoka Lake are a must.