Michigan’s casino industry has grown a lot over the last few years, starting with Indian casinos, and then expanding further when the state started licensing non Indian casinos. Michigan now ranks among the top 12 states in the country in non native gambling revenue.
While it was the case in a lot of areas that Indian casinos stepped in to fill the void in states that did not allow for gambling licenses, which was the case in Michigan at one time as well, once they do start issuing licenses, then these casinos tend to dominate the market, for several reasons, not the least of which is that they can be built closer to the population and not just on Indian reservations.
The casinos in the Detroit area are a good example of this. People from Detroit used to have to travel to casinos but now there are several large ones right in the city. In the case of Michigan’s Indian casinos though, as it turned out, there is room for everyone in this market, and the state has 24 Indian casinos that also prosper, including the Island Resort and Casino in Harris, Michigan.
Harris is in the far western part of the state close to the Wisconsin border and is actually closer to Chicago than it is to Detroit, and provides access to casino gambling in an area of the country that is well away from major population centers, with the closest being Milwaukee, about a four hour drive away.
The Island Resort and Casino is owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community. They started out very modestly in the gaming business, first offering bingo at the local baseball field, where players played bingo from their cars, and then moved up to building a bingo hall in 1981. In 1985, the Hannahville Casino opened, which became the Chip In Casino, and this eventually led to their opening the Island Resort and Casino in 1998.
The property became expanded over the next few years, and the tribe isn’t finished yet, as they are currently in the midst of even more expansion. This has slowly but surely become a decent sized casino resort with even bigger plans on the horizon. There’s now a hotel tower, a new bingo hall, a convention center, an RV park, a spa, a sports bar, and a golf course to go along with their casino, so the Hannahville Tribe has done nicely with this over the years.
The Features of the Island Resort and Casino
Not a lot of people live within easy driving distance of this casino, so it’s mostly a resort, with its guests tending to stay awhile on a getaway vacation that you can also gamble at, in addition to enjoying all the other amenities offered here.
The 11 story hotel offers 314 rooms and suites, with rates starting around $85 a night, which is pretty reasonable. Standard rooms offer either a king or two queens, and the accommodations here are fairly simple by resort casino standards, and at 300 square feet on the small side as well, but the rooms are nicely and tastefully decorated and offer a nice level of comfort and service.
Moving up to a suite here does offer a bit more space, for instance their King Suite has 400 square feet, which is still not a lot, but it does come with some extras not found in the rooms like a whirlpool tub, an ironing board and iron, a hair dryer, and a larger television. All of the rooms here are non smoking, including the suites.
Better and more spacious suites are also available, right on up to the 1620 square foot Presidential Suite, which is much more like an upscale apartment than a hotel room, complete with a fireplace, a dining table, kitchenette, refrigerator, dishwasher, flat top stove, and garbage disposal.
There are several dining options here, including the 5 Bridges Steak and Seafood house, the Firekeeper’s Restaurant offering Midwestern cuisine, the Coral Reef Grille, Signature Subs and Pizza, T. McC’s Sports Bar where you can also grab a meal at, and the Coffee and Custard Shop.
This is nowhere near the dining selection you find at larger resorts, but the selections here are ample enough to take care of your dining needs.
Entertainment options include the 1.327 seat Island Showroom, featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. The Club Four One also provides regular live entertainment.
The centerpiece of this property is the acclaimed Sweetgrass Golf Club which is on the property, and the reason why a lot of guests come here. It was named best casino course by Golf Magazine.
The Drift Spa is on hand to relax you with one of their refreshing spa treatments, embracing the tradition of Native American healers. It also includes a salon. There’s also a convention center and an RV park here.
The Casino at the Island Resort Casino
The casino here is also pretty modest by resort casino standards, with only 55,000 square feet of gaming space, but that’s plenty of room to pack in all of the casino gaming that players are looking for.
There are 1200 slot machines on hand, which is a good amount and more than enough to provide all of the variety that casino slot players need and crave. They feature slots from the leading slot machine makers, such as Aristocrat, IGT, Bally, and Spelio, boasting the latest in technology and games.
There are also quite a few slot tournaments here to enter, and they also pay out some pretty nice jackpots for a casino of this modest size.
Several of the most popular table games are offered here, including Blackjack, Craps, Crap Shoot, Roulette, Spanish 21, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, and Let It Ride. Table limits start out as low as $2 and run as high as $500.
The casino isn’t open 24 hours a day but you can still play pretty late, up to 2 AM through the week and up to 3 AM on Friday and Saturday nights, and they open up again at 10 AM the next morning, and you do need to sleep sometime.
There’s also a 6 table dedicated poker room on hand, which is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but does offer a decent amount of action on the days that it is open, including daily tournaments with modest buy ins starting at $25 including the entry fee.
Bingo is how this place got started, and they still offer bingo here, 7 days a week. Electronic bingo and high stakes pull tabs are also available in their bingo hall.
The Island Resort and Casino may not be the biggest or the best around, but it still offers guests a nice getaway vacation and does have some pretty good gaming, and if you are a golfer, well all the better as their course here is a very good one indeed.