You probably don't know it, but a tiny New England state is one of America's hottest gambling spots. Connecticut is home to seventeen venues offering games of chance and skill, thousands of slots and table games, and the two largest casinos in the northeast outside of Atlantic City.
The Constitution State made some seemingly minor legal decisions in the early 1990s that have led to the creation of New England's first and largest gambling hotspot. Connecticut law now holds that recognized tribes can offer any gambling allowed by the laws of the state as long as it takes place on their reservations. More than two decades after the new legislation passed, Connecticut is the closest thing to a hidden gem that the US gaming market offers.
Though the state's casinos are somewhat spread out across their entire territory, the true hotbed of gaming in the state takes the shape of a skinny triangle with New London in the south, Norwich to the north, and the capital of Hartford just half an hour to the northwest. Good news for people who want to visit – Connecticut is easily accessible, thanks to New England's excellent transit infrastructure.
Arriving By Car
Arriving By Plane
Most visitors who fly into the area land in La Guardia or JFK and make the rest of the trip in a rental car or by train or bus. Hartford's Bradley International Airport is on the small side, though you can certainly connect to Hartford from major airports in the area. You'll probably pay more than you would at a larger hub.
Arriving By Train
Amtrak is a major carrier in this part of the country. Connecticut is part of Amtrak's "Northeast Corridor," with a major stop in New London, in the heart of Connecticut's gaming country. Amtrak connects to New London from a number of large cities in the area, including Boston, New York City, and DC.
One of the state's two major gambling resort destinations, Mohegan Sun is home to three separate casinos: Casino of the Earth, Casino of the Wind, and Casino of the Sky. Though there's no real difference between the games on the three casino floors, they're designed with different decor to provide three distinct gambling experiences.
All told, Mohegan Sun has more than 340,000 square feet of gaming space, making it by far Mohegan Sun is home to 5,000 slot machines, 275 table games, a 42-table poker room open around the clock, an off-track racebook, two totally smoke-free zones, and a section of Asian-style games like Sic Bo, Pai Gow, and Baccarat.
The thirty-four story attached resort and hotel is designed with a Native American theme – lots of exposed beams, bright colors, tapestries, and historic photos and memorabilia. Attached is a 10,000 seat concert arena, multiple nightclubs and bars, an arcade and activity center for kids, a fully-featured spa, and an 18-hole golf course.
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Foxwoods Resort Casino is Connecticut's other major gaming resort. This is the largest casino in all of America, and one of the largest in the world. The casino sits on the historic Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation. Foxwoods is home to the world's largest bingo hall, a state of the art racebook featuring 50-foot digital projection screens, and the East Coast's largest poker room, twice the size of the largest room in Atlantic City.
Foxwoods is really six casinos on one large property, covering a total area of 9,000,000 square feet. All told, the space is home to 380 table games (with a focus on blackjack, craps, roulette, and poker) and some 4,700 slot and video poker machines. With just over 380,000 square feet of gaming space, the site plays host to a variety of decor styles and atmospheres. The attached resort property numbers some 2,260 hotel rooms, a huge gaming and activity center for kids and teens, and more than 30 restaurants and bars for the convenience of the guests.
Though the recession of 2007 took a toll on the state's gaming industry, nearly a decade later things are looking up. Newly-recognized tribal groups in the state are petitioning to open new casino venues. Increased competition from nearby states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey has only served to lower prices and increase activity at the state's two biggest casino resorts. Though the Constitution State was in danger of losing its casino business just a few years ago, the injection of some new capital into Connecticut casinos (and increased competition) has led to a sort of renaissance for the area. Renovations are under way at both Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun – a good sign that receipts are up and business should continue to boom.