There were some different winners in our awards this year, but not exactly what we thought they would be. With MGM Springfield on the scene, I assumed that it would be well represented. Instead, Mohegan Sun added to it’s New England prominence. Here is our analysis:
BEST HOTEL – With the most rooms and most variations in room decor and layout, it has to be Foxwoods. Even with Twin River’s hotel opening, Oxford Casino Hotel open for over a year, Tiverton’s opening including hotel and the opening of MGM Springfield, Foxwoods is still the best choice for hotels. MGM Springfield’s Hotel is one of a kind, and we highly recommend trying a stay there. The many intricacies of Springfield history can be found through out the casino and continued in the Hotel decor.
BARS – When it comes to places for libations, there are two types in casinos. First, the typical bar, sometimes with entertainment, usually offers great drinks and dining options. The video poker bar is an important gambling choice provided, usually including slots, keno and sometimes electronic blackjack. Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun tied in this category, and why not with so many bars and VP bars available in their multiple casinos. But it should be mentioned that MGM Springfield’s Walk-up Bar and Commonwealth Bar have terrific ambiance. Now, if only they had playable video poker…….
BEST DINING OPTIONS & BEST DINING VALUE – Our voters pretty much nailed this. 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. Since we visit all New England Casinos, some restaurants need some mention. Tiverton Casino’s Tuscan Chophouse and Italian cuisine at Trattoria Romana are great restaurants with local ties. When it comes to great steak houses, New England’s casinos offer a wide variety of excellent steakhouses. Consider MGM’s Chandler Steakhouse, Jordan’s Steakhouse at Mohegan Sun, Cedars and David Burke’s Prime at Foxwoods, Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse at Twin River and Slack’s Oyster House & Grill at Plainridge Park for your next beef bonanza.
Again, NETG applauds the voters in selecting David Burke Prime as outstanding high-end restaurant. It has everything you’d fine in the best eateries in Las Vegas.
BEST BUFFET – Mohegan’s Sunrise Buffet is just the best, ’nuff said.
ENTERTAINMENT, BEST SMALL VENUE – The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun is hands down the #1 favorite. The Sun offers outstanding free entertainment on the weekends. But free entertainment has increased at other properties. Foxwoods raised the ante in the Atrium Lounge, Hard Rock Cafe and Centrale. Plainridge Park Casino not only offers good entertainment at their Revolution Lounge, but also at the Loft – including Comedy. Twin River’s Lighthouse Lounge continues to offer great free entertainment. Speaking of comedy, Roar! at MGM Springfield’s Armory and Mohegan Sun’s Comix leads the way.
ENTERTAINMENT, BEST LARGE VENUE – Even with the addition of MGM Springfield’s MassMutual Center, Mohegan Sun Arena is still the best venue in New England.
BEST SLOTS – I think it’s simple – wherever you win is where your preferred slots are. No one knows the payback percentage, and a slot players play is very short play and really can’t give anyone a good idea on how high the payout is. Most casinos have the same newest slots. But what I found interesting was the lack of Buffalo slots or Wheel of Fortune machines mentioned! Instead, Wonder Woman? who’d a thunk it?
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. Decent VP paytables can be found at Plainridge Park and Foxwoods.
TABLE GAMES – Players of all levels appreciate good rules & low starting limits, especially on traditional games. In New England, Foxwoods and MoSun had this covered, but recently have raised minimums and introduced 6:5 Blackjack. Maine casinos, while having similar rules, lack the amount and mix of traditional table & “carnival” games. Twin River & Tiverton offer table games with slightly higher limits, with most games starting at $10, and MGM Springfield has lowered minimums to be more competitive. While Mohegan Sun won this time, it will be anyone’s game in the future as all casinos seem to be offering the same games, same minimums and same rules.
An interesting change has been seen in two areas – favorite game and poker rooms. Craps has taken over as the popular table game in the casino. And when it comes to poker rooms, MGM Springfield, with what is now considered the most comfy poker room in New England, has made a great run at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to the point that all thee poker rooms, as well as Twin River Casino’s poker room, are in a dead heat right now. Mohegan Sun is down-sizing its poker room and moving it to a different casino area, which could really change the feel of their poker room. You can bet that poker is alive and well in New England.
BEST RACEBOOK/SPORTSBOOK – The Sun won this category last year, with Foxwoods winning this year. Rhode Island’s legal sportsbook must have been too new for most to be counted this year. When Twin River open their real betting area, it could easily win next year, unless CT and MA approves legal sports-betting this year
BEST PLAYERS CLUB – Even with changes, Foxwoods continues to lag behind Mohegan Sun. MLife at MGM Springfield could be a big players club in the coming years with properties on both east & west coast – especially access to Las Vegas Strip properties.
Thanks to all who participated this year. It’s always fun. What changes are in store this year? We’ll just have to wait……