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Where to gamble in the Tacoma and Olympia area

Survey of casinos in the South Sound

Little Creek Casino might sound small, but it's one of the largest casinos in the South Sound.

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Casinos are some of the few places where you can walk around with a beer in your hand, enjoy some games, win some money if you're lucky ... ah, good times. Fortunately, the Tacoma-Olympia area has casinos big and small. Larger area casinos offer you just about everything a Vegas casino would, including table games from roulette to craps to pai gow, slot machines in various increments, restaurants, clubs and - most important of all - buffets, while the area's small casinos serve as night spots with a bit of a kick. Are casinos too smoky for you? Several of the major casinos have non-smoking areas.

Emerald Queen Casino

The biggest casino in the Tacoma area is Emerald Queen Casino, which has two locations just off Interstate 5. There's a complimentary shuttle between the two locations, if you want to try them both out. Both locations serve up plenty of gambling goodness. The newer location on Pacific Highway has more than 2,000 slot machines and just over 50 table games, while the location at East 29th Street has close to 1,500 games total. Both locations have non-smoking sections, but don't count on finding as wide of a game selection if you want to avoid the smoke. The Emerald Queen is home to the International Buffet and Pacific Rim Buffet, and also gets plenty of concerts and MMA events through its concert venue. 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma and 5700 Pacific Highway E., Fife

Muckleshoot Casino

Muckleshoot Casino is the largest casino in the Northwest and has the biggest and best of just about everything, including the biggest non-smoking gaming section in the state. Frequenting Muckleshoot can pay off if you join the Players Club, which allows you to redeem points at the casino's eight restaurants - including a large buffet - shops and nearby hotels. Special events such as 4X Points Happy Hour or points giveaways often allow you to max your points accumulation. While Muckleshoot is the granddaddy of casinos, it does not have as strong of an entertainment lineup as Emerald Queen and mostly gets smaller acts in its Club Galaxy as well as UFC fights. 2402 Auburn Way S., Auburn

Little Creek Casino Resort

Little Creek Casino might sound small, but it's one of the largest casinos in the South Sound. A full lineup of electronic slots and plenty of table games are made better by the Players Club, which will get you not only merchandise and food dollars, but also buy-ins to tournaments. The casino doubles as a resort and also offers the Salish Cliffs Golf Club, a buffet as well as the Squaxin Island Seafood Bar and a spa. 91 West State Route 108, Shelton

Nisqually Red Wind Casino

The Red Wind Casino has almost 1,000 slot machines and a modest lineup of table games, including blackjack, roulette and craps. The Blue Camas Buffet serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a seafood spectacular on Friday and Saturday, and brunch on the weekends. Entertainment options tend toward smaller acts at the Coho Cabaret. The Red Wind tends toward being a bit crowded. 12819 Yelm Highway SE, Olympia

Smaller casinos

If you want to enjoy a few table games and maybe a few slots, but don't like the crowds of larger casinos, there are some smaller casinos to choose from as well. Hawks Prairie Casino (8318 Quinault Dr. NE, Lacey) has no slots, but offers table games and daily poker tournies. Hawks Prairie is also known for its popular Riverbend Restaurant. Great American Casino (10117 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma) has 15 table games on tap, a nightclub and a restaurant. Macau Casino (9811 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma) offers 12 table games and daily poker tournaments and a restaurant.

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