First, a little history. The battle for a casino in New England was a hard-fought one. The Mashantucket Pequot Indian tribe actually had to sue the state for the permission to keep its own casino open. They argued that the state allowed churches and charities to operate “Las Vegas Nights.” Why not let the tribe operate a casino for its benefit?
Well, the snobby New Englanders said no go, but the Supreme Court gave the Pequots the go-ahead. The locals took the loss personally, and 22 lenders turned down the tribe’s loan request. But then the money men from Malaysia (yes, Malaysia!) stepped in and funded the project.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Foxwoods is now the world’s largest casino – and its most profitable. (Making some Malaysian investors look pretty darned good.)
The betting battle didn’t end there. When the original Foxwoods High Stakes Bingo and Casino opened in 1992, slot machines weren’t permitted. The Pequots did some dealings of their own, and the tribe was given the okay to offer slot machines in return for a yearly payment of 25% of the gross slot revenue. The government must have figured if you can’t beat ‘em, you may as well share the profits.
If you want your piece of that pie, a visit to Foxwoods is the sure bet. And it’s a popular one too – over 40,000 guests visit the resort casino every single day. That makes for some mighty fine “Vegas Nights,” Pilgrim.
IF YOU GO: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut
Place Your Bets At: the biggest casino in the world. (And if you’re betting it's in Vegas, you just went belly up.) That distinction alone makes the Foxwoods Resort Casino worth the trip. The complex is home to 7,400 slot machines, hundreds of blackjack and poker tables, and the world’s largest Bingo hall. An added thrill: on-site betting on the ponies.
Where To Stay: This resort’s all about options, so there’s three hotels right in the complex for your sleep and shower needs. But – sticking with the “bigger is better” theme – we’d put our money on the Grand Pequot Tower with its comprehensive business center, relaxing Grand Salon and Spa and even complimentary valet service. (Heck, everyone needs at least one guaranteed comp, right?)
Eateries of Note: Pick a restaurant, any restaurant….there are 25 of ‘em in the casino complex. All-you-can-eat types should head to the Festival Buffet, while those looking for a regional experience can get their fill of New England seafood at Fox Harbor. Have a sweet tooth? Those needing a sugar fix should head to Al Dente, where the tiramisu is yummy and flambé of the day offers a different hand each visit.
And For the Non-Gamblers: If you wants to dance the night away, the BB King Dance Club is the place. Or if you're willing to try games – but not gamble the rent money – head to the Treehouse at Foxwoods, a double-layer entertainment featuring over 140 of today’s top video games. Or venture off-site for some sampling at the Connecticut Wine Trail, where the scenery is breathtaking even before the first drink.