The Menomonee Valley, currently part of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, provided a bountiful habitat for Native American tribes for hundreds of years, until the coming of heavy industry, starting in the late 19th century and continuing on until today.
It had turned into what the Natives describe as toxic brown fields, and while progress often has its environmental costs, 150 years of this proved particularly hard on this land.
There are a number of Native American casinos, on Native American lands, and while this area of Milwaukee has traditionally been Indian land, that was long ago and it isn’t the case anymore. In spite of the current state of this land, the Pontawatomi Tribe of Wisconsin stepped up and acquired some land here with the idea of building a bingo hall, which would be the first off reservation Indian gaming center in the country.
So in 1991, Potawatomi Bingo was completed and opened, first starting as a 2,500 seat bingo hall, and it was a huge success right off the bat, opening to capacity crowds. The people kept coming, and in the following year, the tribe successfully entered into a compact with the state of Wisconsin to offer slot machines as well as bingo, and it took on the name Potawatomi Bingo Casino.
The people kept coming, and given that there wasn’t a lot of gaming options nearby, people would come from all over the region to enjoy themselves at this new casino. This led to the site being significantly expanded in 2000, going from about 45,000 square feet to about 300,000.
A poker room was added in 2004, and in 2006, they saw another big expansion, this time adding an additional 500,000 square feet of space. A 381 room hotel was completed in 2014, making this a true gambling destination.
So they needed a new name now, and are now known as the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. This casino continues to grow in popularity with each passing year, and now get over 6 million guests a year. The 16 story structure that they have built recently is the tallest building south of Interstate 18 in the city.
Features of The Potawatomi Hotel and Casino
While not that large by casino standards, the casino here is still of a pretty decent size, with about 45,000 square feet of gaming space, making them the largest casino in the state of Wisconsin. There’s more to this destination than just the casino though, and they do offer some pretty impressive features overall.
Many people still call this place the Potawatomi Bingo Casino, as it was known for almost all of its history, although they certainly do have a hotel now and the tribe has added that to its name to make that more clear to visitors, that they can stay here as well as play.
This is a modern hotel and in fact was just completed recently, and the motto of the hotel is sophistication meets comfort, and they focus well on both desirable elements. They offer king rooms, 2 queen rooms, and various suites, from the Casino Grand Suite to the Presidental Suite for those desiring the ultimate experience here, featuring 2,200 square feet of modern luxury along with an 800 square foot balcony.
The restaurant lineup here isn’t as comprehensive or impressive as you see at some casino resorts, but they do offer several selections, including Locavore, offering the finest organic and local sourced food in Milwaukee.
They also offer a steak house, a buffet restaurant, a food court, a sports bar and grill, a sushi bar, and an organic themed Italian restaurant. The Bar 360 offers drinks and live entertainment with a view of the casino floor as well.
The Northern Lights Theater provides guests access to top acts in an intimate atmosphere, and the larger Events Center, one of the largest venues in Milwaukee with seating for 2,700, features even bigger acts and shows.
The Potawatomi Casino
This complex began as a bingo hall, and while the casino games have upstaged bingo here, they still offer regular bingo games, but not just any bingo games. They warn that this is not your Grandmother’s bingo, and you can play up to 180 cards electronically. They even offer Bingo Glow Parties, where the lights are turned down, and the bingo games are turned into dance parties.
If you like betting on horses or greyhounds, you will love their modern off track betting room, all fully modern where you can sit back and enjoy drinks, place your bets in self serve stations, and sit back and watch all of the action unfold on 115 televisions.
There are nearly 3,000 slot and gaming machines on the casino floor waiting for you, with the latest and greatest themes, with a wide variety of limits from a penny all the way up to $100 a spin. They offer progressive slots with both in house jackpots and some even bigger ones linked to other casinos. There are a lot of jackpots here, ranging from 15 or 20 thousand to over a million dollars.
They use all of the latest technologies here, which is a benefit that you’ll see throughout the casino and complex, including offering smoke free areas as well as the latest in air purification for areas where smoking is permitted.
There are nearly 100 different casino table games to check out, and while the floor space may not rival the bigger casinos, the availability of gaming itself certainly does, with all the slots and table games they have here. They pack a lot into the space they have to be sure.
Players can enjoy all of the popular table games like Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Let It Ride, Mississippi Stud, and more, around the clock. If you are getting sore and want to keep going, their licensed massage therapists are ready to help you right at the table for as low as $1.26 a minute.
Massages at the table are also available in their poker room, and it’s a nice one as well, featuring 20 tables and lots of action. Choose either Texas Holdem or Omaha, with stakes ranging from $1/$2 no limit all the way up to $25/$50. Omaha has games running from $2/$4 to $20/40. The poker room is also open 24/7 and is nicely crowded which is exactly what you want to see.
Overall, this is clearly the premier casino and hotel in the region and is worth a visit even if you’re not from the area or in town, it is a destination worthy of a vacation. The Potawatomi tribe is committed to your comfort and satisfaction and rely on deeds not words.