After seeing where money is made, I went to go see where money gets spent!
Just a short drive down the highway from the Royal Canadian Mint is the Club Regent Casino, one of the two properties owned by Casinos of Winnipeg.
My first impression: the place is huge and it genuinely feels like it belongs in Vegas. (Disclaimer: I’ve been to Vegas twice. Another disclaimer: I’ve never gambled in a casino before.) Even though the Club Regent Casino’s undergoing extensive renovations (and thus a good chunk of it’s off limits), it still felt palatial.
When you walk in, all you hear are the familiar bloops and bleeps from the slot machines. As you enter deeper, the corridor expands into nooks and crannies of more slots and game machines, with designated areas for bingo, blackjack, and roulette. It’s an older crowd here during the day (like most Canadian casinos I’ve observed) and at night, the younger folk mingle.
Although they’re slowly phasing out their Aztec motif, it does give the Club Regent a certain themed-casino-of-Vegas ambiance. The ceiling is painted blue sky, and rock formations, fountains, and foliage create a simulacrum of ancient Mexico. All I know is that this would definitely be a place to escape a Winnipeg winter.
As I strolled through, I eyed the Casinos of Winnipeg events calendar and noticed Kim Mitchell was playing that night, and other upcoming acts included Steve Earle, Hanson, and the Proclaimers. I strolled past their gift shop, a dining lounge, a brand new McCafe, a retro Ice Cream Shoppe, and even a subterranean buffet. The place is also fully licensed, so yes, you can drink beer anywhere.
I ate at the buffet (BBQ ribs, prime rib, cake!) and even got a behind-the-scenes tour from Ken, the manager who has been working there for 13 years. Ken told me all about the Club Regent Casino, especially how it’s one of the best employers to work for, and how they’ve created one of the safest atmospheres for their patrons.
Being the nature geek that I am, I fell in love with the tropical coral reef aquarium.
But I figured, it would be silly to come to a casino and NOT play anything.
So I did what any self-respecting casino-goer would do: I signed up for a Casinos of Winnipeg Club Card. Among the discounts, exclusive promotions, and points, as a new member I got $10 worth of Free Play at the casino, ahem.
Next, I scanned the rows upon rows of slots and found the one that called out to me the most:
I placed in my new club card into the machine, fed the machine $5 (as you need to put your own money in before you can activate the $10 of free play), and tested my luck.
Well… let’s just say the luck wasn’t so good here, so before I spent all my money, I went over to another machine that screamed out to me. With only a few dollars left to spare, this is what happened:
I won $21.40! I quadrupled my money! And you know what they say about stopping while you’re ahead, right?
So what did I do to celebrate?
I bought ice cream.