Treasure Island is a pretty famous name in casino gambling, at least the one located in Las Vegas built by Steve Wynn and his Mirage Resorts company, and now owned by MGM Resorts International.
Far from the glitter of Las Vegas, in the small town of Welch, Minnesota, lies the original Treasure Island, owned and operated by the Prairie Wind Indian Community. You might think that the Vegas version of Treasure Island would be a much bigger casino, but the lesser known one in Minnesota is actually twice as large, and Las Vegas doesn’t even have a casino this big.
The hotel here is quite a bit smaller, and their 500 hotel rooms still make this a large hotel by normal standards, although nothing compared to the big hotels in Vegas. However, the Minnesota Treasure Island doesn’t rely so much on overnight stays for its casino traffic, as it’s only an hour’s drive from Minneapolis and it’s metro population of 3.5 million people.
There are a total of 20 casinos in Minnesota these days, all run by Indian tribes, and Minnesota was one of the first states to get in on the action once the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988, which provided Indian tribes the right to enter into compacts with the states to offer casino gaming.
Treasure Island is also the only resort casino in southern Minnesota to be located right on the Mississippi River, and they have taken well advantage of this, and not only have an RV park, they also have a marina where you can dock your boats, in addition to offering a cruise on the river to their guests.
Treasure Island started out as a bingo hall in 1984 called Island Bingo. Once the federal legislation was passed allowing them to extend into casino gambling, they jumped at the opportunity, and the next year, in 1989, their gaming area was expanded.
The property continued to expand over the years, and like many Indian casinos, they didn’t have the benefit of a big corporation plunking down huge sums of money, like the half a billion that Steve Wynn spent on the Vegas Treasure Island construction. Instead, they had to work their way up to being big, one piece at a time, which took several years.
This expansion still continues, and the most recent one was in February 2016, when their Lagoon and Wave Spa was completed. The casino operation has greatly benefited the tribe, and this has not only allowed them to raise themselves from poverty, they are now one of the biggest employers in Minnesota, and have also shared the wealth by donating millions of dollars to charity.
The Facilities at Treasure Island Resort and Casino
The rooms here may not be comparable to the best hotels in Las Vegas as far as luxury goes, but they are still quite nice, and certainly comfortable. They come with a good list of amenities like coffee pots, an ironing board and iron, a hair dryer, cable TV, and free WiFi.
Rates here are as low as $79 a night, sand those who are willing to spend a little more can book one of their suites, which are not only larger but come with extras such as a fridge and microwave and a whirlpool tub, as well as upgraded furnishings.
There are 7 restaurants here which will well take care of your dining needs, although those who prefer even more variety can make the short trip to Red Wing, Minnesota, just down the road, which provides several more.
The dining options at Treasure Island include the Tado Steakhouse, the Tradewinds Buffet, Currents Restaurant, Mango Bay Grill, Prime Thyme Sub Shop, Xtrema Café, and Island Perk. While the selection here may not be that exotic, they do offer a lot of honest to goodness American food and guests here are generally not left wanting to go anywhere else to eat.
As far as nightlife goes, they have 3 different bars to experience, the Cabana Bar, the Rare Bar ad Lounge, and the Barefoot Bar. Their 3,000 seat entertainment center as well as their Parlay Lounge both provide live entertainment, from famous acts of the past like Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and Boston, to local bands.
Other amenities include a spa, a marina, an RV park, a bowling alley, a water park, and a cruise yacht. Treasure Island is poised to take care of all of your entertainment needs.
The Casino at Treasure Island
This is a very large casino with all the action that any casino player could wish for. Players here can sign up for their exclusive Passport Club where they earn points for their play at the casino that are redeemable for rewards at the both the casino and the resort itself, in addition to special member only promotional offers.
There are over 2,200 state of the art slot, video poker, and keno machines to enjoy here, and this is not a cramped casino at all, as it is very spaciously laid out and you aren’t going to be bumping into other players the way you can at some other casinos where the players are packed in more tightly.
They also feature slot tournaments every hour, and you have to be 50 or older to play, so their more mature players get particularly well taken care of here. Native culture is particularly known for their respect for elders so elders can bet that they will get treated well here.
The staff here are particularly friendly in general and especially those in the casino, and they understand that the better time you have with them, the more likely you will be to come back.
There’s a good selection of table games here as well, including 27 Blackjack tables alone, in addition to other popular casino games like Fortune Pai Gow, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Holdem, EZ Baccarat, Crazy 4 Poker, and even Lunar Poker. The table games here are limited to card games, but there is a good selection of these anyway.
They also have a small poker room here with 6 tables which offers a good variety of live face to face poker, as well as tournaments daily from Thursday to Sunday, on the days that this poker room is open.
Treasure Island started out as a bingo hall and bingo still remains prominent here after all these years, with separate smoking and non smoking building facilities. While this is a smoking permitted casino, they do a good job of accommodating both smokers and non smokers, and feature the same state of the art air filtration system used by the best casinos in Las Vegas.
Overall, Treasure Island is one of the best casinos in the area, and while they mostly cater to the locals, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area crowd, they also get plenty of guests as well who come to enjoy everything they have to offer.