There are numerous casinos located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but no brand has more locations than the Kewadin Casinos. Michiganders can find no less than five Kewadin properties scattered around the U.P.
The Kewadin Casinos are owned and operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and each of the five locations maintains its own amenities, features and identity. The casinos all have an age requirement of 19 years and older.
Of the five, the largest and most notable is the casino in Sault Ste. Marie. The venue boasts more than 800 slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno, and bingo. You can also stay in Sault Ste. Marie’s 319-room hotel, gather in the 30,000-square-foot convention center or see a show in the DreamMakers Theater.
The five Kewadin Casinos opened sports betting kiosks at all five locations in December 2020.
The Kewadin Casinoshave an online casino product as well well. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe announced in April 2020 that it had reached an agreement with venerable gaming provider GAN to power its online gaming operations.
Further, Wynn Interactive and the WynnBET brand is heading the partnership.
Kewadin Casinos has entered the online sports betting and online casino market in Michigan. The casinos’ owner/operator, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, announced it had reached terms on a partnership with gambling software developer GAN in April 2020.
In addition to GAN’s assistance with online casino software, the company is aiding the tribe in retail sportsbooks at all five casino locations. The kiosks opened on Dec. 14, 2020. There are three kiosks at the Sault Ste. Marie location, two at the St. Ignace location and one apiece at the three others.
According to statements from tribe officials, GAN in bringing both its platform and what is being called “certain operational services” to the Upper Peninsula.
The tribe is also partnered with Wynn in this endeavor. Wynn Resorts is one of the biggest names on the Las Vegas Strip. The brand is building up its online name.
The five Kewadin Casinos locations all opened sports betting kiosks on Dec. 14, 2020.
Of the five Kewadin casinos, the location at Sault Ste. Marie is the largest and most extensive in terms of its offerings. It is home to more than 800 slots, and slot players can make use of the machines at any time, day or night.
There are also numerous table games located at Kewadin – Sault Ste. Marie. Players can find blackjack, roulette, craps, and keno games. However, unlike the slot machines, these games do not run 24 hours a day. Instead, table games at this location operate under the following schedule:
Kewadin – Sault Ste. Marie maintains a bingo hall for players to relax and try a game with a more deliberate pace. Games begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and 2 p.m. on Thursdays and the hall is closed otherwise.
Finally, Kewadin – Sault Ste. Marie is the only casino in the group to offer a poker room. The six-table room offers cash games and tournaments. Unless specifically indicated, all games in the poker room are no-limit Texas Hold’em.
Like the other table games, the poker room operates with a more limited schedule than the casino overall or the slot machine section. It’s best to call ahead to be certain, but the poker room’s typical hours of operation are:
Kewadin – Christmas is one of the three smaller casino venues in the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa portfolio. However, the casino does manage to incorporate its natural theme into an appealing operation for those who visit.
Patrons to the Christmas location will find hundreds of slot machines available for play. The casino itself will welcome your business anytime between 9 a.m. and 1 a.m. daily.
Kewadin – Christmas also offers some limited table games for those who prefer a different experience. The location spreads both blackjack and Let It Ride between 4 p.m. and midnight on Wednesdays, Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
All of this gaming occurs in a pleasant Christmas-themed environment. There’s even a giant statue of Santa Claus welcoming you to the casino out front.
Kewadin Casino – Hessel is the smallest of the five in the Kewadin group. It is also the only casino of the bunch to focus entirely on slot machines.
So, you can find several of your favorite slot titles at this low-key establishment. Play begins at 9 a.m. every single day and lasts into the night.
Kewadin Casino – Manistique occupies an interesting spot in the Kewadin constellation of casino properties.
Like all locations owned and operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa, you can find a selection of slot machines available for play at the Manistique location. However, Kewadin – Manistique goes a different direction when it comes to table games.
In fact, the location is the only one of the five to offer virtual table games for players to use. Each table can seat five players, and every aspect of the game is automated, including the gameplay itself.
The nice thing about the virtual machines, however, is they are far easier to staff and maintain than the live tables. As a result, both the slot area and the virtual tables have the same hours of operation. You are able to bet until your heart’s content from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
If Kewadin – Sault Ste. Marie is the king of the Kewadin group, the St. Ignace location is certainly the prince. The property, located near the Mackinac Bridge that connects the U.P. to the lower peninsula, has nearly as many options, amenities, and features as its sister property to the north.
In terms of the casino itself, there are over 700 slot machines available for play. Kewadin – St. Ignace is also the only other Kewadin casino besides Sault Ste. Marie where you can play these machines 24 hours a day.
In terms of table games, St. Ignace opts for a meat-and-potatoes approach to its offering. You can take part in blackjack, roulette or craps, the three stalwarts of most casinos’ table games rosters.
The table games are limited in their hours, however. They are only available between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. daily, so plan accordingly.
Retaining a customer is always cheaper than acquiring a new one, so it’s no surprise that the Kewadin casinos have a loyalty program to reward those who return to their facilities often. The loyalty program is the aptly-named Northern Rewards Club.
There are many different benefits you can earn with your membership in the club. Possible redemption options include free hotel stays, free dinners, free tickets to shows and other entertainment, discounts on merchandise, and invitations to special events, contests, and promotions.
Of course, the benefits to which you are entitled are determined by your tier in the program. The Northern Rewards Club has four regular levels: Green, Silver, Gold, and Black. In addition, the club offers the Valor card, which is available for active and honorably discharged military members, police, fire, and EMS.
With the exception of the Valor card, all tier statuses are determined by how many tier points a player earns through his or her play. You can earn one tier point for each of the following actions:
Each tier requires several thousand tier points in order to grant access. Furthermore, your tier status will be subject to review every six months. So, you will have to play often to progress beyond the Green tier.
At the same time that you’re earning tier points, you will be earning club points. These points are the ones that can be used as a pseudo-currency while you’re onsite at a Kewadin casino. They are redeemable at a cash equivalent rate of 100 points per dollar, although it’s impossible to cash out your points at any time. However, you can simply swipe your card in order to pay for items at Kewadin casinos with your points. Along with all the goodies you can buy, you can potentially secure several dollars in free play, too.
Finally, Kewadin casinos understand that you might have to drive quite a distance in order to visit one of their properties. Furthermore, it can get quite expensive if you have to pay a bridge toll to do so. Kewadin has pledged to reimburse you with $8 in credits if you happen to cross the International Bridge or Mackinac Bridge en route to a Kewadin casino. There’s no point requirement to redeem this feature, and you don’t have to show a receipt, just stop in and receive your reimbursement.
Since it’s free to join this club, anyway, it seems silly not to take advantage, particularly if you were planning on visiting a Kewadin location. Make sure you don’t miss out on all the goodies.
Only two of the Kewadin casinos maintain hotels onsite. The rest rely on nearby lodging or are designed with local traffic in mind. However, both of the Kewadin hotels offer a pleasant respite from the gaming action taking place nearby.
The largest of the Kewadin casinos naturally has the largest hotel facility onsite. Guests can avail themselves of one of Sault Ste. Marie’s 319 rooms to relax and stay overnight.
There are three different types of room available for rental. You can choose a standard room, or you can kick things up a notch in either a suite room or a whirlpool room.
Standard rooms are what you might expect and come with an in-room coffee maker for your convenience. However, guests who choose a suite room will be pleasantly surprised to find a living room area, separate bedroom, kitchenette, and a jetted bathtub.
Whirlpool rooms go even further and provide you with your own in-room whirlpool. As comfortable as these rooms are, the biggest concern is how pruned your fingers will be when you finally get out.
All guests at the Sault Ste. Marie hotel have access to the indoor pool and fitness center. In addition, the site features a game room to entertain families with children.
Visitors to the St. Ignace property will largely find the same level of service as in Sault Ste. Marie. Though the hotel has just 81 rooms onsite, all of them are well-appointed for guests’ comfort.
The room types are the same as above and feature the same amenities. However, St. Ignace does not offer a whirlpool room option, so you’ll have to choose between standard rooms or suites. Each room comes equipped with its own microwave as well.
Like its sister property, St. Ignace maintains an indoor pool and whirlpool for guests to use. In addition, you can make sure to keep in shape in the property’s fitness center. However, the main attraction for hotel guests at St. Ignace has to be the view. The hotel overlooks beautiful Lake Huron.
Regardless of where you stay the night, you have to eat. So, all five of the Kewadin casinos have at least one place to grab a bite.
The flagship Kewadin location unsurprisingly offers the most options for dining of any of the five casinos. There are three different food locations onsite to choose for your meals. Plus, Sault Ste. Marie location is the only one to offer room service for hotel guests.
The Dreamcatchers Restaurant is the main location for getting something to eat when you’re at this property. The venue is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers a selection of breakfast classics, burgers, baskets, and steaks. There’s even a $3.95 breakfast special on Tuesday that will put two eggs, bacon or sausage, toast, and fries on your plate.
If you’re thirsty or in the mood for something a bit lighter, you can also try the Signatures Lounge. The pub serves sandwiches, appetizers, and beverages to lift your spirits.
Finally, if you want a bit more specialty food, you can give the Trail Deli a try. In addition to the obvious sandwiches that you can order, Trail Deli can provide hot wings, omelets, and even ice cream to those who want a different approach.
Like its larger sister property, Kewadin – St. Ignace also offers a selection of dining choices for visitors to the second-largest casino in the Kewadin family. There’s just no room service at this venue since there are only 81 guest rooms.
Nevertheless, patrons can eat a sit-down meal anytime between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. at the Horseshoe Bay Restaurant. This top location offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and spectacular views of Lake Huron.
St. Ignace’s watering hole is the Whitetail Sports Bar. There is room for 80 guests in this comfortable location, and you can grab a tasty meal, a refreshing beverage, or just watch a game here.
St. Ignace also offers the Campfire Deli as its own version of Sault Ste. Marie’s Trail Deli. Like its counterpart, you can order sandwiches, wings, and ice cream in this casual venue.
The Kewadin – Christmas location is a smaller location and only has a single option for grabbing a bite to eat. However, the one dining area at this casino faithfully keeps to the venue’s theme. You can get all kinds of greasy goodies, snacks, and beverages at Frosty’s Pub ‘n Grub.
Kewadin – Manistique boasts a rather quaint location, and its lone food option takes full advantage of the aesthetic while providing you with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can satisfy your palate at the Mariner’s Cove Restaurant, a cozy 60-seat venue that serves all manner of comfort food.
You can also play trivia, hear music, or watch a comedy show at Manistique’s Team Spirits Bar. Needless to say, you can also wet your whistle there, too.
Kewadin – Hessel is probably the most casual of the five casinos in the group. So, its low-key food option, the Northern Nook Bar & Grill, fits that vibe perfectly. The restaurant is quick, easy, and serves its entire menu all day long.
Three of the casinos in the Kewadin family have some independent entertainment options for patrons to enjoy. After all, it’s possible that you might want to take a break from the casino and see a concert, show, or comedy act.
There are three distinct entertainment venues at Kewadin – Sault Ste. Marie. The most significant of the three is the DreamMakers Theater, which is a traditional concert and theater auditorium. You can see acts as diverse as Black Label Society, Candlebox, and a retrospective about the show Hee Haw here.
For those who want a calmer musical vibe, try the Rapids Lounge, which is next door to the Huron Gaming Room. This area is designed to feature newcomers in musical genres like jazz, reggae, and country.
If you’d rather be more personally involved, head on over to the Signatures Lounge. Along with occasional entertainers of its own, Signatures hosts the only karaoke option onsite.
Kewadin – St. Ignace boasts two different venues for performers and entertainment. The first is the event center, which hosts musical acts in a traditional stage setting. Most of the acts that visit the event center tend to be country or rock, but check with the box office for a list of upcoming shows.
You can also see smaller shows or sing some songs of your own at karaoke in the Northern Pines Lounge. This area is in the very center of the casino. Just listen for people struggling to sing on-key and you won’t miss it.
The Team Spirits Bar at Kewadin- Manistique is a great place to grab a beverage if you’re a fan of the sports bar. However, Team Spirits also hosts comedy acts, trivia nights, and sports events on its big screens during the week. So, if you’re looking for a break from the action in the casino, head over there and see what’s happening.
The story of the Kewadin Casinos and their owners, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is one of struggle. Though the tribe’s people have inhabited the area surrounding what would become Sault Ste. Marie for hundreds of years, the tribe itself was not recognized as a unique entity until the 1970s.
However, the Sault Ste. Marie Chippewas have quickly risen to prominence. This rise is, in no small part, fueled by the success of its casino properties.
The first casino opened in 1984, and the fortunes of the tribe skyrocketed. There are now five Kewadin casinos, and the profits generated from them has allowed the tribe to expand into 15 other businesses, too.
By 2005, roughly 30 years after gaining its own recognition of existence, the tribe gained another bit of notice. Thanks to its many businesses, it employed more than 2,000 people, and was, thus, recognized as the largest employer in the entire Upper Peninsula.
The casinos and other businesses continue to serve as the wellspring of support for the people of the tribe. Expansion isn’t over, either. As recent court filings show, the tribe has designs on opening sixth and seventh locations in Ingham and Wayne counties. Of course, the lawsuit might slow things down, but it’s clear that nobody at the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is content to rest on their laurels.
The casinos opened retail sports betting with kiosks at each of the five locations on Dec. 14, 2020. Online casino and online sports betting operations launched in 2021.