Most people planning to travel Arizona usually include a stay in the Valley of the Sun as part of their trip. For those looking to play a little poker or try their luck at the slots, Phoenix, Scottsdale and the surrounding metro-area offer visitors not only great weather but also great gaming. From the newest slot games to the best restaurants, our Phoenix-area casinos will surprise and delight casino gaming fans.
Here is a guide to the casinos in and around Phoenix and Scottsdale plus some recommendations on what to play, where to dine, which casino resorts offer golf and more — all in the beautiful state of Arizona.
Casino Arizona: Offering two locations — both of which are just off the Loop 101 freeway — these Phoenix casinos are closest to the major tourist hotels and Scottsdale attractions. Free limo service is available by calling 480-850-7790.
- Casino Arizona at Talking Stick: The Loop 101 freeway at the Indian Bend exit.
This is the newest casino resort in Scottsdale and the most convenient to the north Phoenix/Scottsdale mega-resorts such as the Fairmont Scottsdale, J.W. Marriott at Desert Ridge, The Westin Kierland or any of the posh resorts on Scottsdale Road north of Lincoln Drive.
Features: Opened in April of 2010, this casino features the newest and hottest slot games including Sex and the City, the new “community-gaming” fave, Beat the Field, the Wizard of Oz games and the newest variations on Monopoly®, Wheel of Fortune® and our personal favorite, GoldFish. (Pay tables on video poker are awful so stick to the slots.)
Poker rules at this location with the casino offering the largest poker room in Arizona. Lots of tourneys, promotions and games bring in a big local crowd as well as visitors attending high-profile events such as the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction and Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.
There is a high limit room for slots and table games.
Dining: There’s really something for everyone here — from a quick-serve coffee shop to fine dining spots, Talking Sticking offers a great array of restaurant options. The buffet is excellent as is the top-notch Orange Sky rooftop dining room with breath-taking views of the desert and surrounding mountains. For something quick and tasty, try the sandwiches with house-made sweet potato chips at the Black Fig Bistro.
Resort: 497 luxurious hi-tech rooms and suites plus spa.
Golf: Talking Stick Golf Course
- Casino Arizona at Salt River: The Loop 101 freeway at the McKellips Road exit. Convenient to Tempe, the Loop 202 plus central and Old Town Scottsdale.
Features: More than 1,000 slot, Keno and video poker machines dot the gaming floor at this expansive casino. It’s here that you can play the popular new Lord of the Rings slot machine in Phoenix.
The entertaining Vegas-style variety show – “Showstoppers Live” – is a high-energy musical tribute show with an ever-changing cast of performers.
High-end steakhouse “Cholla” offers pricey but excellent food, a great wine list, and is open until midnight on weekends. The more casual Willow Room is open 24/7 for burgers, breakfast and big fat deli sandwiches.
The Piano Bar is a relaxing spot for a glass of wine and some good music.
- Lone Butte Casino: Loop 202 at the Kyrene Road exit. Close to Chandler and the I-10 freeway. Good location if you are staying along the I-10 freeway.
Features: Another of Arizona’s newest casinos, Lone Butte offers 850 slot machines, live blackjack, casino bingo and poker. Games include Fortune Pai Gow Poker® Progressive, Let It Ride Three-Card Bonus® and Three-Card Poker® plus slots such as the popular eBay and Star Trek machines. High limit room with slots and tables.
Dining: The high-end Verona Chophouse restaurant features aged beef plus the adjacent cozy wine bar has a good list of bottles and by-the-glass choices. For those wanting something a little more casual, try the yummy Cafe 24/7 with its pretty little courtyard dining area.
Cascades Lounge is hopping with live entertainment nightly. You’ll also find the “Lucky Break” talent competition taking place here on Wednesday and Thursday nights January through June.
- Wild Horse Pass Casino: I-10 freeway at Wild Horse Pass Boulevard exit and just a couple of miles from the Lone Butte casino.
Features: Yet another sleek addition to the Phoenix gaming scene! This new casino (opened in November of 2009) features more than 100,000 square feet of gaming, six dining outlets including Don Shula’s American Steakhouse plus a 10-story, 241-room luxury resort. Home to 875 slot machines, live poker, blackjack, keno and a 1500 seat high-stakes bingo room, Wild Horse Pass brings all the excitement of Vegas to our town.
Dining: The aforementioned Shula’s steakhouse brings big beefy plates to the table while fun, casual spots like Ling & Louie’s are on board for lighter appetites. A food court offers even more options for diners.
Resort: 242 luxury rooms make up the new 10-story hotel tower. Beautiful views of the San Tan Mountains plus a fitness club and outdoor spa are just two of the draws for visitors.
Good to know: The Wild Horse Pass is next door to popular attraction, Rawhide Western Town, with its famous steakhouse and Wild West shows. There are also lots of special holiday events such as the big Fourth of July fireworks show making Wild Horse Pass the perfect spot to stay when heading to Rawhide.
Golf: Whirlwind Golf Course is on property.
- Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino: It’s a drive out to the town of Maricopa (about 40 minutes from Sky Harbor airport, exit Queen Creek Road off the I-10 freeway) but it is definitely worth it if you are a Harrah’s Total Rewards Club member wanting to get credit for your play or enjoy a free hotel stay.
Features: New slot games – think the popular Wizard of Oz, Beat the Field and more — plus lots of Super Times Pay video poker machines bring Phoenix players out this way. A small poker room with lots of regulars plus a separate bingo hall are also available.
Dining: The Range Steakhouse – a Harrah’s favorite – offers prime rib, lamb chops plus good seafood options like the sea scallops in chive butter. The ice cream sundae with hot fudge and berries is a must for dessert. The casino recently re-did their buffet and good reviews are coming in for the “cooking station”-style of serving and the new gelato bar.
Good to know: Since you’ve made the trek to Maricopa, be sure to stop at Arena Sports Bar (in town) for some of the best Buffalo wings in Arizona.
- Fort McDowell Casino: Located about 20 minutes from Scottsdale near the town of Fountain Hills, this casino is most convenient for those staying in north Phoenix or Scottsdale. The drive is worth it simply for the spectacular scenery you’ll see driving out on Shea Boulevard to the Beeline Highway and on to the casino. (You can even make a stop to see the world’s tallest vertical fountain for which the town is Fountain Hills is named.)
Features: New slots like Star Trek, Wizard of Oz, Sex and the City and Indiana Jones plus lots of video poker machines including a popular $.25 progressive. Pay tables on video poker are some of the best in the state. A poker room offers tons of special events and jackpots plus “early bird” and weekend events.
Dining: Inside the casino you’ll find lots of casual café-style options plus a buffet known for its weekend crab legs special. At the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort (adjacent to the casino) is the Ahnala Mesquite Room, a fine dining spot featuring local ingredients and gourmet dining. (The shrimp or fish tacos with watermelon salsa are outstanding.)
Golf: Wee-Ko-Pa Golf Course