The Ojibwa Casino Resorts are two tribal casino locations in Marquette and Baraga, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Both properties are owned and operated by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), a federally-recognized Native American tribe.
Each property has more than 300 slot machines and table games available. Now, thanks to a recent renovation, the Marquette location is slightly larger and offers a greater variety of games to play. Each property hosts poker on the weekends, and visitors to the Baraga location can also take part in games of bingo.
Michigan is soon to see the expansion of sports betting and online casinos across the state. The Ojibwa properties partnered with Golden Nugget Online Gaming for market access. Neither casino has a retail sportsbook, however.
Below is the premier guide to both of these venues. The gambling situation in Michigan is quite fluid, so make sure to check back frequently to see what’s new at the Ojibwa Casino Resorts.
Michigan and many of its casinos appear to be accelerating their timeframes for debuting online gambling. One side effect of the global pandemic has been to illustrate the importance of mobile gambling in other states that have already launched, so it’s no surprise there’s a desire to strike while the iron is hot.
That was the case for the Ojibwa Casinos and their ownership. In July 2020, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community signed a deal with Golden Nugget to provide a sportsbook and online casino app in the state.
Golden Nugget is perhaps not a well-known brand in Michigan, but it comes with high marks and deep success in other states. In New Jersey, Golden Nugget is the market leader in the online casino market, boasting 700+ games. And that is the brand’s bread and butter.
Tilman Fertitta, owner of Golden Nugget, said that online sports betting is good, but online casinos are “where the money is, that’s where the customer is more valuable, and that’s where the big money is going to be made going forward.”
The Ojibwa Casino Resort in Marquette is now the larger of the two KBIC-owned properties. Thanks to a $34-million renovation completed in late 2019, the venue now hosts more than 500 slot machines, several table games, and a small poker area.
Slot machines range in denomination from penny slots to $5 machines and there are standard slots, progressive slot games, video poker, and Keno slots available for play. Some of the latest titles to grace the floor include Lightning Link, Cleopatra Gold, and Mighty Ca$h Bonus.
As far as casino table games go, players who favor blackjack will find the most options and opportunities. The casino offers both pitch and shoe blackjack, with two decks for the former and six for the latter. Bet levels for blackjack games at Ojibwa are between $5 and $300 per wager.
It is also possible to find craps games, Let It Ride, and roulette at the Marquette Ojibwa Casino. All three games have bet levels as low as $3, and it’s possible to find bonus bets on both craps and Let It Ride.
One thing to note is that the table games at Ojibwa Casino in Marquette do not run for 24 hours a day. Instead, you can play most of the games between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight on weekdays and 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. on weekends. Call to double-check the availability before you come, particularly if you have to travel a bit to reach the property.
The Baraga Ojibwa Casino Resort offers many of the same amenities as its sister property. While the sheer number of slot machines available is lower, the options are roughly the same.
So, visitors to the Baraga property will discover more than 340 slot machines waiting for them. These machines offer denominations between 1 cent and $5.
There are video slot machines, progressive slots, video poker, and Keno machines available for play. Titles you’ll find at Ojibwa Baraga include Dragon Link, Quick Hit, and Fortune Coin.
The table games you can play at this casino are mostly standard fare. You can play roulette games, blackjack, or Let It Ride for anywhere between $3 and $300 per wager. Like the Marquette location, there are limited hours for table games at this casino. You can play between 4 p.m. and midnight during the week and from 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. on the weekends.
The Ojibwa Casino Resort in Baraga also has a bingo facility that operates four days each week with games run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday starting at 4:45 p.m.
The Rewards Club is available for any patron at either Ojibwa Casino Resort location. By signing up, you can put yourself into position to receive a host of perks for your play.
Each point you earn with your card is good for redemption at various tribal facilities. You can use your loyalty points for things like:
In addition, the Rewards Club is the hub for promotions that the two casinos have to offer. If you want to get in line for some goodies, a membership is the first place to start.
Operations at the two Ojibwa Casino Resorts have been temporarily suspended for some time in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. So, all of the promotions that the casinos typically offer are a bit out of date at this time.
However, both properties are pledging to return soon, and it’s a good bet there will be plenty of promotional offers to welcome you back to your favorite place to play on Lake Superior’s shores.
Promotions at these two casinos tend to be either weekly or seasonal. Examples of weekly promos at these resorts include:
Seasonal promotions come and go, of course, but they tend to be richer giveaways, since they don’t have to sustain all year. Obviously, the promotions below have expired, but you can start to get an idea about the kinds of promos that Ojibwa Casino Resorts are likely to have.
Here are some recent seasonal promotions:
Obviously, these promotions will be different once play resumes at the two casinos.
There are small poker operations in place at both locations of the Ojibwa Casino Resort. They are designed for cash gameplay only. There are no tournaments that run because of the size of the area.
At Ojibwa Casino Resort Marquette, there are three tables in the poker area. They are available Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Like most casinos, the Ojibwa Casino Resorts both have several amenities beyond the gaming options. After all, it’s best to create a space where people can relax for many hours on end.
At this time, the Baraga location is the only one to feature a hotel for its guests. Ojibwa Casino Resort Marquette guests will have to avail themselves of the lodging options surrounding the location for the time being.
However, the Ojibwa Casino Hotel Baraga is a small, but comfortable, place for gamblers to rest for the evening. The small property features 40 guest rooms, including two with jacuzzi service inside.
Guests at the hotel enjoy free wireless internet and access to an indoor pool with a whirlpool and sauna. Those who are government employees, members of AARP, or members of the Rewards Club can get special discounts as a reward for their loyalty.
There are also two restaurants onsite at Baraga and a bowling alley for the whole family. Best of all, the entire facility is smoke-free.
Both Ojibwa Casino locations maintain two dining options for those visiting their respective properties. In both cases, there is a place to get a decent bite to eat and a bar-type area.
For the Baraga location, you can get a decent meal at Lucky 7’s Baraga. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serves traditional American fare.
If you want to celebrate or, alternatively, drown your sorrows, there’s PressBox Bar and Grill. The watering hole has big-screen televisions, a dance floor for partying, and even eight lanes of bowling available.
Marquette just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of its location, and part of the overhaul included spicing up the food options. There are now two different places where you can cool your heels.
The first restaurant is MQT’s Superior Eats, which serves as the location’s main restaurant. You can get any meal, from breakfast to dinner, and sample some of the fresh catches hauled out of nearby Lake Superior.
The other option is the Marquette Tavern, which is the recipient of much of the renovation’s attention. The new bar is a sparkly and shiny place to get a cool beverage or something to nibble.
There are also meeting spaces located at both locations. In fact, the recent expansion to the Marquette property specifically added an event center to its portfolio.
That center can seat up to 1,200 people and the new Ojibwa Casino Concert Hall should be a great draw for the surrounding community to experience music and theatrical events for years to come.
Meanwhile, Baraga maintains two conference room facilities that are available for rental. Each room can hold up to 80 guests and is great for birthdays, graduations, family reunions, and other meetings.
Though the Ojibwa Casino properties are not terribly expansive in scope, they hold an important place in United States gambling history. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community lands were the first place to host a tribal casino in the US, which occurred after the tribal council issued a permit to tribal member Fred Dakota in 1982.
Though the action touched off years of legal battles, it was an important and necessary first step in bringing legal gambling to the Native American tribes around the country. Although Dakota got the ball rolling, the tribe only waited three years until opening its own casino in 1985.
At the time, the tribe elected to stick a few blackjack tables into a bowling alley facility that it owned. The bowling alley is still there, of course, but the growing casino around it is now known as the Ojibwa Casino Resort in Baraga.
Sometime after, the tribe decided to open a second casino in Marquette. Given that Marquette is growing rapidly, the new site became the recipient of a massive facelift and tens of millions of dollars in renovations.
Between the two casinos, there are nearly 1,000 slot machines, several table games, poker tables, a bingo hall, a hotel, and, of course, a bowling alley. Although you’d never mistake either location for a Vegas-style casino, both are excellent examples of how to build a casino operation from the ground up.