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Doubling Down at Casinos

Come for the games, stay for the architecture.

Around the U.S., standout casino properties are making a name for themselves with unforgettable design elements, world-class art collections and high-end entertainment. From Connecticut and New Jersey to Nevada, Oklahoma and Indiana, here are a few casinos that are worth seeing, even if you don’t bet a dime.ome for the games, stay for the architecture.

 Mohegan Sun


Native American motifs of earth, wind, fire and rain are incorporated throughout Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino, one of the largest casinos in the United States. Stories of the cosmos are incorporated into unique environments throughout the gaming spaces, retail shops, restaurant pavilion and hotel lobby. The crystalline exterior of the 1,200-room, 34-story luxury hotel was inspired by the rock and smoky quartz crystal used by the Mohegans to make arrowheads and ceremonial objects.

Interior details include the Tree of Life, waterfalls and pools. Wombi Rock, a three-story crystal mountain, was crafted from more than 12,000 individual plates of onyx that were fused to glass stands at the center of Casino of the Sky. A planetarium dome measuring 150 feet across covers the 115,000-square-foot casino, using fiber-optic technology to project constellations, sun cycles and clouds. Another artistic highlight is River Blue, a large glass sculpture by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly that took 2,500 hand-blown cobalt blue, silver and clear glass pieces to build a structure 14 feet wide and 25 feet tall.

The casino has more than 300 table games, nearly 5,000 slot machines and a state-of-the-art poker room. The resort has multiple entertainment venues, including the Wolf Den, the Mohegan Sun Arena and Comix Roadhouse, a Mandara Spa and the Mohegan Sun Golf Club, with 18-hole course and practice range.


Atlantic City, New Jersey

On the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk, Tropicana Atlantic City is a mix of retro Atlantic City charm and modern amenities, with its five hotel towers, 2,400 guest rooms and 125,935-square-foot casino with 150 table games, an 18-table poker room and more than 2,300 slot machines. It also features a sports book and Asian table games like baccarat and pai gow.

The Quarter at Tropicana is a 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex set in a two-story streetscape that resembles Old Havana in Cuba with more than 50 restaurants, entertainment venues, retail shops and a spa. The Marketplace, which opens to the Boardwalk, also has a Cuban vibe and offers 21,000 square feet of dining, entertainment and shopping.

The complex features an Imax theater, a nightclub, a karaoke bar, four escape rooms and the Tropicana Showroom, a 2,000-seat theater that hosts concerts, revues, sporting events and Broadway shows. The Multimedia Light and Sound Show, which was added in 2015, turns the Boardwalk-facing side of the hotel into a choreographed light and sound show displayed on a 66-foot-high curved LED screen surrounded by five double-sided, 24-foot LED screens with moving spotlights.

Horseshoe Casino

Hammond, Indiana

Horseshoe Casino Hammond is one of the largest floating casinos in the U.S., with 350,000 square feet of casino and convention space that rises four stories, or 116 feet, from the hull, above the four barges on which it is built. To accommodate the behemoth, the Hammond Marina needed to be dredged to 16 feet deep.

The casino sits right across the water from Chicago and is a 15-minute drive to Chicago’s hotels and the famous Navy Pier. The vessel’s main gaming floor has 3,000 slot machines and 100 gaming tables. The high-limit gaming room features 125 machines in denominations up to $1,000 surrounding an acrylic horseshoe statue that was the second-largest acrylic statue in the U.S. at the time the casino opened in 2008. Horseshoe Casino has a large poker room with 34 tables at all limits and has a private poker area. The Caesars Sportsbook is in a 5,300-square-foot space with more than a dozen 85-inch televisions, 10 betting counters and a deluxe lounge with chairs and couches.

The second floor features The Venue, the casino’s 3,400-person capacity entertainment space, and a buffet. The Venue hosts concerts and shows of all kinds. The vessel is adjacent to the casino’s main pavilion, with restaurants, a gift shop and meeting facilities.

Choctaw Casino and Resort

Durant, Oklahoma

The Choctaw Casino and Resort opened in 2006 with a 100,000-square-foot casino, about an hour from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Since then, it has been through four major expansions, including its newest 21-story Sky Tower addition, which opened in August. The Sky Tower was designed to give guests an experience that would rival Las Vegas resorts. It has a world-class Choctaw art collection that is displayed throughout the new tower and includes paintings, sculptures and special art installations by Choctaw artists.

In addition, there is a special immersive digital art installation called the Link that features beautiful and otherworldly scenes of wildlife that are ever-changing. A bear or bison may wander into view or a cluster of butterflies take off from their perch on a tree as guests wander by.

Sky Tower added 1,000 hotel rooms, 16 restaurants and lounges, two swimming pools, 3,300 slot machines, 40 table games and 30 poker tables, bringing the resort’s total number of guest rooms to 1,700; its casino increased the number of table games to 136 and the number of slot machines to 7,400. The League Sports Bar features 88 televisions and a 100-foot video wall that can be broken into 16 separate events at the same time. On weekends it is open for off-track betting.

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa

Reno, Nevada

It’s hard to miss the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa on Virginia Avenue in Reno. Not only is it connected to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center by a sky bridge, but out front it features a beautiful set of fountains that perform synchronized routines to music. There are two huge flaming torches that light up Virginia Street and can be seen from miles away. The resort’s glassed-in sushi and oyster bar sits between them for wonderful views of the flames and Reno’s main drag.

Atlantis is known for its four-star Spa Atlantis, with three pools of different temperatures, the Laconium Relaxation Lounge, the Brine Inhalation-Light Therapy Lounge, an herbal steam room, a cedarwood sauna and almost every spa treatment imaginable. The spa also has a tea lounge that offers dried snacks, fresh fruit, coffee, tea and infused waters.

The Atlantis Casino has 60,000 square feet of casino space with 1,400 slot machines and dozens of table games, including blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette and pai gow poker. It also features a race and sports book and a nonsmoking poker room and gaming areas. A cabaret stage in the middle of the casino provides live musical performances.