There were some surprises in this year’s poll, and many repeat winners from 2016. Here’s our analysis of the results.
BEST HOTEL – this is really a no-brainer. With the most rooms, most variations in room layout and renovations recently of the Grand Pequot Tower, it has to be Foxwoods. Next year might prove to be different, with Twin River’s hotel opening, Oxford Casino Hotel open for a year, and the opening of MGM Springfield.
BEST BARS – no change from last year. The many bars like Scorpion Bar and Centrale are scattered around the huge property. The only reason for our selection of Mohegan Sun is their casino bars all have craft draft beer, and great video poker. Foxwood’s pay tables for its VP bartops offers some pretty ugly pay tables, especially on nickel games such as Ultimate X & Super Times Pay.
BEST NIGHTLIFE – while Mohegan won the popular poll for this category, I can’t imagine beating out Shrine at Foxwoods, one of the best NightClubs on the East Coast.
BEST DINING OPTIONS & BEST DINING VALUE – When it comes to options, we felt Mohegan Sun offers the gamut on one property, especially in the area of lower cost eateries. But, I also feel when considering just high end restaurants, Foxwoods would edge out the competition. However, even the fun establishments such as Sugar are in the hefty price range at Foxwoods.
FAVORITE RESTAURANTS – It was nice to see the winners in this category. David Burke at Foxwoods has been a long-time favorite steakhouse for years. And Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse at Twin River is way over due for NETG recognition. A few others in the Steakhouse realm to be considered would include Slack’s at Plainridge Park Casino & Jordan’s at Mohegan Sun.
BEST BUFFET – Mohegan’s Sunrise Buffet is just the best, ’nuff said.
ENTERTAINMENT, BEST SMALL VENUE – Last year, the Wolf Den was hands down the #1 favorite. But some changes have taken place since 2016. The Wolf Den doesn’t offer the schedule it once did. Yes, the Sun offers outstanding free entertainment on the weekends, but free entertainment has increased at other properties. Foxwoods raised the ante in the Atrium. Plainridge Park Casino not only offers good entertainment at their Revolution Lounge, but also at the Loft – including Comedy. Newport continues it’s free tribute bands on the weekend, and Twin River’s Lighthouse Lounge continues to offer great free entertainment. To secure the top again, the Wold Den must have a full schedule.
ENTERTAINMENT, BEST LARGE VENUE – Even with the addition of MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor in 2019, the Mohegan Sun Arena will still be the best venue in New England.
BEST CASINO SLOTS – Slot machines become a very personal thing for those who only gamble on slots. Some like older classic reels or even classic video slots. Some enjoy the latest machine introduced to the casino floor. Mohegan Sun’s slot inventory is in a constant state of flux. While Foxwoods has recently added more slots and the latest slots, in 2017 they were still catching up with Stadium Gaming and renovations, especially in the Cedars Casino. Of course, Plainridge has many new slots since it opened in 2015, but the classic Aristocrat, IGT, and Williams games found in casinos like Newport Grand, Twin River, Hollywood Casino and the CT casinos are not to be found. The best mix is still Connecticut’s casinos.
BEST VIDEO POKER – Mohegan Sun is the only New England Casino to offer full pay VP – Jacks or Better – at the quarter level up. As long as they offer it, the Sun will continue to be the best VP in New England. We know from experience at their other properties that Wynn & MGM will never offer Full Pay VP, rarely even at $1 levels. So, this award may be good through 2020.
BEST TABLE GAMES – Table game players of all levels appreciate good rules & low starting limits, especially on traditional games. In New England, Foxwoods and MoSun have this covered. Maine casinos, while having similar rules, lack the amount and mix of traditional table & “carnival” games. Again, from experience, we expect Wynn & MGM to offer higher limits (MGM National Harbor low limit for BJ is usually $25) and less favorable rules (Wynn on the Las Vegas Strip has on 2X odds on craps tables). Here, Twin River offers table games with slightly higher limits, with most games starting at $10.
BEST RACEBOOK – The Sun took over first place in this category. While both CT casinos do have good racebooks, this may change in the future. Online better and sports betting in now on the legislative table in most New England states.
BEST PLAYERS CLUB – Even with changes, Foxwoods continues to lag behind Mohegan Sun. Penn National has made strides with its two New England Casinos (Plainridge Park, MA & Hollywood Bangor, ME) but this, too, might change with the introduction of MLife at MGM Springfield. With properties on both east & west coast, the portfolio alone will be enough to take the top spot.
POKER ROOM – Even without the World Poker Tour affiliation, Foxwoods continues to be the best in New England, and one of the best in the country.
WHAT WILL 2018 BRING?
MGM Springfield will definitely throw a wrench into the neat control that Foxwoods & MoSun has over the smaller casinos. Twin River continues to be the New England Enigma concerning where they will be in this mix. 2018 will be an exciting year in New England’s Casino Industry.