There are casinos in the United States, and then there are these behemoth casinos. Not only can each herein boast of their excellent facilities, but also of their enormous indoor space and the acreage of their sprawling grounds.
Ultra-modern, palatial, and out to make a big dent in your pocketbook, these casinos cater to every whim of the paying public.
There’s gaming and then there’s next level gaming and, as some of the gambling universe’s most glamorous names jostle for bragging rights, it can be hard to keep up with who is offering the best selection of slot machines, restaurants and shopping malls.
When you think of U.S. casinos, your mind likely jumps to Vegas. Obviously, this is the primary gambling hub in the U.S., and widely considered the casino capital of the world.
Vegas undoubtedly has the most gaming activity packed into a single area, and some of the biggest and best casinos. But not all of the major establishments are located in southern Nevada.
In fact, you may be surprised to learn that none of the 10 biggest casinos in the U.S. are located in Nevada. That’s right, Sin City with the world-famous strip and its reputation as a gambling mecca doesn’t offer 1 of the 10 largest casinos in the U.S.
Let’s countdown the top 3 and see where we end up.
#3 – Mohegan Sun
This is that rare casino to downgrade in square footage.
Due likely to more casino competition popping up in the region, Mohegan Sun closed one of the three different casino areas under its roof in 2019. The combined square footage of the remaining two casinos under the roof: Casino of the Earth, and Casino of the Sky, is just shy of 300,000.
Being number 3 is still quite impressive and the Mohegan Sun certainly fits the bill with its 2 deluxe hotel towers, 3 story crystal mountain and 55-foot indoor waterfall. Not to mention the nearly 300,000 square feet of casino gaming.
You may be surprised that 1 of the 3 largest casinos in the U.S. is located in Connecticut. Well, 2 of the 3 largest casinos in the U.S. are located in Connecticut.
Prior to the closing of the Casino of the Wind, Mohegan Sun had 344,000 square feet, – the exact same as Foxwoods, its Indian cousin ten miles to the east.
#2 – Foxwoods Resort Casino
I should note here that Foxwoods Resort Casino bills itself as “The largest resort casino in North America.”
Key word here being “resort”, which makes this claim technically true, due to the massive size of the hotel and casino’s non-gaming space. Foxwoods has 2,200 hotel rooms whereas WinStar has 1,400. Foxwoods also has over twice as many restaurants.
Including hotels, convention space, recreation amenities, clubs, restaurants, retail shopping areas, and spas; the enormous Foxwoods complex has over 9 million square feet of indoor space, overshadowing the total size of WinStar.
However, Foxwoods Resort’s six connected casinos have a combined casino-only square footage of 344,000. This makes it gigantic of course, but still only the second largest casino in the United States.
WinStar also beats out Foxwoods in terms of gaming machines, defined as slot machines, video poker machines, electronic blackjack games, etc.
Foxwoods has only 4,800 slot machines, whereas WinStar has an amazing 8,100 different slot machines to choose from.
Foxwoods does have more than double the number of table games WinStar has with over 250 table games.
In sheer size though Foxwood doesn’t make the cut as the largest casino in the United States.
That brings us to #1 and to get there we travel from Connecticut to the great state of Texas. When you get there turn around and its 2 short miles to WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
#1 – WinStar World Casino
WinStar World Casino is just as big as it gets. Oklahoma isn’t on a lot of people’s radar as a gaming destination, and yet WinStar is huge even by comparison to the Foxwoods Resort.
I have family in the DFW area of Texas which is only about an hour from Winstar and have had the pleasure of making multiple trips.
WinStar hosted what may be one of my all-time favorite concerts when I saw Sturgill Simpson open for who I consider to be one of the greatest songwriters ever, Jason Isbell. They made for a night I’ll never forget and after the show we all hit the blackjack tables until early in the morning.
Maybe the most special memory was on the day of my sister’s wedding. My now brother-in-law and us groomsmen and our dads went to play the world-class golf course at WinStar. We were playing in groups of 4 and we were the final group.
As we came to the beautiful hole 9, the rest of our posse was loitering around the clubhouse overlooking the green. Of course, with all of the pressure a gallery brings the first 3 shots in our group missed the green.
I step up, palms sweaty, and manage to pure an 8-iron right at my target. The balls hit 9 feet right of the hole rolled left and disappeared.
I wasn’t sure where it went until the eruption of cheers from the clubhouse. Having my brother-in-law and our dads with us to share that moment on such a special day is a once in a lifetime experience. We speak of it often.
I digress, the casino is nearly massive enough to fit a golf course inside. I can assure you in that Oklahoma summer it would stay packed.
Here, there are more than 500,000 square feet of gaming space, with tons of slots, a large bingo room, endless table games, and thematic designs based on some of the world’s greatest cities.
The WinStar also hosts events, from MMA to theatrical entertainment, and even televised long drive competitions. It’s a full-fledged entertainment hub, and one with about as much to offer as any similar venue in the world.
With at least 600,000 square feet of gaming space, this super-size casino delivers a knockout blow to rivals with its 7,000+ gaming machines, around 100 table games, 800-capacity bingo hall and non-smoking poker room. Whether you’re a fan of off-track betting or playing blackjack, you’ll find your favorite game here.
And that’s just for starters.
This king of the casinos serves up an international atmosphere thanks to its eight gaming plazas that take their names from some of the world’s most famous cities.
After you’ve spent an afternoon in ‘Paris’ you can visit ‘Vienna’ for the evening, and the 17 on-site restaurants add to the global feel with everything from Italian to Mongolian-style cuisine.
Aside from the gaming appeal, you’ll be kept on your toes with the resort’s golf course, nightclub, sports lounge, pool bar and spa. Adding to its pull, this Chickasaw Nation-owned establishment is punching above its location by attracting top entertainers and events, thanks to a 3,500-seater Global Event Center and 7,700-seat Colosseum — venues a small city would be proud of.
But we bet it won’t be long before one of WinStar’s rivals sets its sights on the ‘largest casino’ title and has this gigantic casino looking over its shoulder.
So, there you have it.
Go big or go home; that’s what the movies will tell you. And it’s certainly a quote that the world’s casino bigwigs have taken to heart. It’s all about size and thinking big: bigger arenas, larger hotels, more games and those star names.
Winstar has certainly held to this approach. I’ve been able to see the evolution of this casino and the encompassing area firsthand and it’s been an amazing journey.
From its origins as a small bingo hall off I-35 nearly three decades ago to its current status as the World’s Biggest Casino, WinStar World Casino and Resort has a storied and surprising history.
I’m looking forward to what The Chickasaw Nation has planned for the future.
It’s an exciting time for land based US casino connoisseurs, as resorts continue to compete to provide the best all-round experience and race to become the largest in the United States, or even the world.