EMERALD QUEEN

2024 E 29th St, Tacoma, 253-594-7777; emeraldqueen.com

Transportation: Tacoma Dome Station is one-and-a-half miles away. Shuttle ferries overnight guests from the hotel in Fife to the gaming floor in Tacoma every half hour.

Game Time: Blackjack, roulette, craps, 2,000 slot machines, Keno.

Vibe: A labyrinth of ring-a-linging slot machines, smoky corridors, and neon lighting, this is no place for the faint of heart (literally).

At Your Service: Friendly, helpful staff serve drinks with a smile. Beefy security guards loom at every turn.

Dining: Sports Bar and Express Buffet serve hot dogs, ready-made Caesar salads, and Chinese food beneath a fluorescent glow. The International Restaurant has “cousine [sic] from around the world.”

Drinks: Walk-up cocktail windows and self-serve coffee and soda stations.

Entertainment: CageSport MMA and mega country stars pack the I-5 Showroom. Caters to Asian expats with a Cambodian New Year celebration and Asia Fest.

Nightlife: I-5 Bridge Nightclub gives northern New Jersey some stiff competition.

Get a Room: Emerald Queen Hotel in Fife offers discounted rooms for $83 if you show your concert stub.

Swag: If you’re in the market for M&Ms or engraved pencils, spend your hard-earned chips at EQC’s gift shop.

Smoking or Nonsmoking? Thanks to low ceilings and a crowded gaming floor, smoke even wafts through the designated nonsmoking areas.

Claim to Fame: Self-proclaimed “Entertainment Capital of the Northwest.”

The Pitch: “There is always something to do at Emerald Queen Casino.”

The Verdict: Come for a country show, stay for a round of slots, breathe in the secondhand smoke.

• • •

MUCKLESHOOT

2402 Auburn Way S, Auburn, 800-804-4944; muckleshootcasino.com

Transportation: No shuttles, but it’s on a local bus route.

Game Time: Blackjack, roulette, craps, 3,150 slot machines, 32-table poker room, Players Club.

Vibe: With its soaring mirrored ceilings, swanky cocktail lounges, and catchy house music (think Motown), Muckleshoot sets a bright and breezy stage for the twentysomethings.

At Your Service: Hip young blackjack dealers.

Dining: The usual assortment of buffets, grills, and delis—but the best deal is the tableside food service in the poker room.

Drinks: Fun cocktails and sake at Asian-themed restaurant 8.

Entertainment: Wally and the Beaves, a doo-wop cover band. You don’t come for the live music—you come to gamble.

Nightlife: Boogie under the disco ball to a ’60s cover band in the lively—and relatively tame—Club Galaxy.

Get a Room: Nearby Best Western Peppertree or La Quinta Inn and Suites.

Swag: Standard-issue tchotchkes (eagle-attacking-wolf statue!), glittering leather jackets, and dream catchers.

Smoking or Nonsmoking? Non in a room with 1,000 slot machines and 35 of 75 table games; the entire building is well ventilated.

Claim to Fame: Biggest poker room and highest limits in the state.

The Pitch: “The biggest and the best in the Northwest!”

The Verdict: Watch a game, play some poker, and drink some beers at relatively moderate prices.

• • •

SNOQUALMIE

37500 SE North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, 425-888-1234; snocasino.com

Transportation: Shuttle picks up from multiple locations in Seattle and costs $10, which you recoup at the buffet.

Game Time: Blackjack, roulette, craps, 1,700 slot machines, high-limit slots, 10-table poker room.

Vibe: Built to look like a lodge with warm lighting and post-and-beam decor.

At Your Service: Pretty young things in velour miniskirts and bustiers deliver cocktails on the casino floor.

Dining: Terra Vista restaurant has views of the North Cascades, El Gaucho prices, and a Mad Hatcher quail entree. On a busy Saturday night, hundreds of hungry gamers line up for the Falls Buffet.

Drinks: Lively bars with over 100 flat screen TVs and beer on tap.

Entertainment: From Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson in the ballroom to Joan Jett and Smokey Robinson at the outdoor amphitheater.

Nightlife: A cabaret and “ultra lounge” opens in May, and Asian bistro 12 Moons will replace the now closed and boozy Club Sno this summer.

Get a Room: Salish Lodge and Spa is three-and-a-half miles away. Next closest option is the Holiday Inn in Issaquah.

Swag: Local goodies like Chukar cherries and cedar-plank smoked salmon.

Smoking or Nonsmoking? Smoking almost everywhere, but big open spaces make breathing easy.

Claim to Fame: Stellar views of the North Cascades—if you ever go outside.

The Pitch: “Now that’s entertainment.”

The Verdict: Makes the strongest bid for “classiest casino,” but it needs to build a hotel.

• • •

TULALIP RESORT

10200 Quil Ceda Blvd, Tulalip, 360-716-6000; tulalipresort.com

Transportation: Shuttle from Sea-Tac, Port of Everett, and Seattle Premium Outlets.

Game Time: Blackjack, roulette, craps, slot machines, Keno, bingo, no-limits poker room.

Vibe: Vegasy carport with a waterfall, heat lamps, and smoking benches opens into a cavernous, loud, under-the-sea-themed casino floor.

At Your Service: Slick security guards wearing earpieces and black suits keep the clubbing crowd in check.

Dining: Tulalip Bay fine dining restaurant is helmed by James Beard House invitee chef Dean Shinagawa, boasts an award-winning wine list, and offers a quiet spot away from the gambling floor.

Drinks: Order at one of the many walk-up bar windows or sip martinis at the MPulse Lounge, next to the fire pit.

Entertainment: Outdoor amphitheater gets the Doobie Brothers and Jamie Foxx, and the Orca Ballroom draws comedians like Wanda Sykes in May.

Nightlife: Don a fedora or a sequined bustier and join the clubbers in the (very long) line for dinner and a show at the packed-on-weekends Canoes Cabaret.

Get a Room: Tulalip Resort and Spa is on the premises, and it’s pretty plush.

Swag: The gift shop caters to the bachelor and bachelorette crowd with hot-pink martini glasses, sparkly jewelry, and shot glasses.

Smoking or Nonsmoking? Nonsmoking poker room, smoking everywhere else except restaurants.

Claim to Fame: Tulalip Bay’s award-winning wine list, according to Wine Spectator.

The Pitch: “Fun is the name of the game at Tulalip.”

The Verdict: Closest thing to a Vegas resort experience in the state, with gaming, hotel, spa, shopping, and fine dining in one spot.

This article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Seattle Met.
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