Your Northwest Gambling Guide

Gambling is a given at casinos, but these 10 regional spots offer so much more

This article appears in print in the January 2020 issue. Click here to subscribe.

Casinos, those marvelous cruise ships of the land, offer a cornucopia of entertainment options all in one place. Whether you’re a gambler, a buffet connoisseur, a spa enthusiast or a Michael Bolton fan, there’s a casino within driving distance of Seattle to scratch that itch. Below, find our uncomprehensive list of regional options, broken down by vital stats and special extras. 

Tulalip Resort Casino
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 37 miles
Lodging: Yes
Food and drink options: Eight, including the Eagles Buffet and seafood-centric spot Blackfish
Entertainment: On the 2020 schedule so far: MMA Supreme Showdown 5; a Lunar New Year celebration on January 25, welcoming the Year of the Rat; and Michael Bolton.
Extras: The Oasis pool may be indoors, but with its glass atrium, waterfall and attached outdoor patio, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise. For a more private form of relaxation, check out the T Spa, with its enticing menu of services, including massage, body treatments and Native American-inspired spa rituals.

Angel of the Winds Casino Resort
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 47 miles 
Lodging: Yes 
Food and drink options: Nine, including Whiskey Prime Steakhouse and Riverside Buffet
Entertainment: The 2020 concert lineup had yet to be announced as of press time, but 2019 highlights at this rock-leaning venue included Foghat and Bret Michaels. 
Extras: A recent expansion, completed and unveiled in October 2019, added a 16-lane bowling alley that features HyperBowling, a high-tech function that allows you to raise and lower bumpers with lighted targets, creating all different kinds of family-friendly games. Also part of the expansion, a sports simulator lineup that includes golf, hockey, cricket and, of course, zombie dodgeball. 

Swinomish Casino & Lodge
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 74 miles
Lodging: Lodge and RV park
Food and drink options: Six, including fine-dining restaurant 13moons and Fatburger
Entertainment: In addition to checking out regional bands and high-energy cover-band dance parties, you can count on singing karaoke every Sunday.
Extras: Golfers and nature enthusiasts alike should enjoy playing a round at Swinomish Golf Links, an 18-hole course situated right in between Similk and Fidalgo bays and offering spectacular views of both, not to mention a view of Mount Baker when weather allows. If you agree with that famous (and famously apocryphal) Mark Twain quote about golf being a good walk spoiled, Deception Pass State Park is just a 15-minute drive from the casino.

Ilani Casino Resort
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 150 miles
Lodging: No, although plans to build a hotel are underway
Food and drink options: Ten, including Line & Lure Seafood Kitchen and Tap
Entertainment: The Cowlitz Ballroom has an impressive list of past guests, including Pitbull, Jay Leno, Amy Schumer and Alanis Morissette. Performers already announced for 2020 include comedian Sebastian Maniscalco and the 15th-anniversary tour of Celtic Woman, among many others.
Extras: Unload some of your winnings by picking up an outfit or two at on-site boutique Marshall Rousso and completing them with accessories from Ruby Blue.

Snoqualmie Casino
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 27 miles
Lodging: No
Food and drink options: Six, including pan-Asian restaurant 12 Moons and Falls Buffet
Entertainment: Snoqualmie’s talent lineup, on two stages, includes everything from comedians and country musicians to beloved performers from Vietnam and Hong Kong.
Extras: While there’s no on-site hotel, for $10, the SnoExpress bus will pick you up and drop you off at one of 13 locations in the Seattle area—and with the ride, you’ll get a $10 food voucher and a $10 game-play credit.

Quinault Beach Resort & Casino
Ocean Shores
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 131 miles
Lodging: Yes
Food and drink options: Five, including Emily’s Oceanfront Restaurant
Entertainment: Local bands and DJs play in the Ocean Lounge throughout the week.
Extras: Spa services are available by appointment; for lower-commitment relaxation, soak in the Jacuzzi and heated indoor pool, which is family-friendly until 9 p.m., but no kids are allowed from 9 until midnight. For Bigfoot believers, the annual Sasquatch Summit assembles here every fall, providing “compelling speakers, research, evidence and a good time.” 2019 summit topics also included how to identify Sasquatch hoaxes and how to spot the differences between authentic tracks and fake ones.

Brunch by day, bar by night and bets any time at Quinault Beach Resort & Casino. Photo by Quinault Beach Resort & Casino

Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 276 miles
Lodging: Hotel and RV resort
Food and drink options: Six restaurants, including M&D – A Movie & Dinner Restaurant (more on that later)
Entertainment: Northern Quest’s eclectic programming includes everything from magic to MMA, The Commodores to Australia’s Magic Mike–like Thunder from Down Under. Sorry, Seattle saxophone fans, you just missed Kenny G—the smooth jazz star (and Franklin High School alum) played here in December.
Extras: At Topgolf Swing Suite, you can play a variety of virtual sports, including football, hockey, baseball and carnival games. The resort’s luxurious spa is called La Rive, which means “the riverbank,” and is billed as paying tribute to the culture of the Kalispel Tribe and “their reverence for nature and the healing powers of water.” Cinephiles will appreciate A Movie & Dinner Restaurant’s reserved lounge-style seating in eight intimate theaters, where you can order food before and after the show—and during, at many screenings.

Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 312 miles
Lodging: Yes
Food and drink options: Eight, including Twisted Earth Grill, with golf course views
Entertainment: Coming to the Coeur d’Alene Casino Event Center in January 2020: Bill Engvall, comedian, Blue Collar Comedy Tour fixture and Dancing with the Stars contestant.
Extras: Get a little fresh air when you book a tee time at Circling Raven Golf Club, a Golf Digest top-100 course. De-stress indoors at Spa Ssakwa’q’n, where you can enjoy a massage, indulge in a facial or soak away your troubles. And keep an eye out for the regular programs celebrating the traditions of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.

Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 18 miles (including the Seattle–Bainbridge Island ferry)
Lodging: Yes. Resort rooms were remodeled in 2015 with a focus on Native American elements and artists.
Food and drink options: Six, including the Salish Kitchen
Entertainment: Music lovers, get ready for R&B fave All-4-One; a tribute to “Ol’ Blue Eyes” called Sinatra Forever; and Wynonna (as in Judd) and her band, the Big Noise.
Extras: Free shuttles will whisk gamblers from the Bainbridge Island ferry dock to this waterfront casino. For golfers, shuttles are also available at the Kingston Ferry Terminal, just a 10-minute drive from Clearwater’s White Horse Golf Club, where the bucolic setting apparently allows for frequent wildlife sightings. There’s also a pool and Jacuzzi, beach access (weather permitting), a native art gallery to stroll through and Angeline Spa, offering body wraps, massages and more.

Emerald Queen Casino I-5
Driving distance from downtown Seattle: 32 miles
Lodging: A sister property in Fife, just 10 minutes away, includes a hotel.
Food and drink options: Four, including the International Restaurant
Entertainment: Flip through an online photo gallery of recent performers to get a sense of EQC’s sort of programming. Among them: Babyface, Blue Oyster Cult, Styx, and Cheech and Chong.
Extras: The EQC I-5 Bridge Nightclub hosts local bands every Friday and Saturday night, and sports fans will appreciate the Monday-night football parties.

Play the night away at Skagit Casino Resort. Photo by Skagit Casino Resort

Five more places to try your luck

Skagit Casino Resort
Performers scheduled to grace the stage of The Pacific Showroom at the Skagit Casino in 2020 include SNL alum Jay Pharoah and singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat; stay tuned for more talent as it’s announced.

Muckleshoot Casino
This spot in nearby Auburn boasts the biggest nonsmoking gambling facility in the state, made up of 1,000 video-gaming machines and 35 table games, completely separate from the smoking section. A hotel is coming in 2021.

Leave the tables for a superior snack break at Skagit Casino Resort. Photo by Skagit Casino Resort

Nisqually Red Wind Casino
The Blue Camas Buffet, one of the six on-site food options, offers a “Seafood Spectacular,” featuring Alaskan king crab, Dungeness crab, Nisqually River salmon, shrimp scampi and more, on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Point Casino & Hotel
Keep an eye out for The Point’s Spring Break 8 Beach Party events, held on Friday and Saturday nights in an event center that is decked out like a spring break beach party, complete with sand. Beach party themes for 2020 include tributes to Queen, the Eagles and Depeche Mode.

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel
Lucky Eagle’s Main Street Bar offers free entertainment on many weekend nights. For those with antsy kids in tow, Great Wolf Lodge—and its popular water park—is only 15 minutes away.

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