Elbow River Casino Calgary Review for May 2024

Ziv Chen

Updated by

Ziv Chen


Michael Graham

Fact Checked by

Michael Graham

Content Editor

Last Updated on 29th April 2024, 12:23 PM


My glorious visit to Calgary was coming to an end, but there were still a few things I wanted to do. Seeing how it was a cool and rainy day, I decided to check my to-do list for an indoor activity. I quickly settled on a visit to Elbow River Casino as I was craving some Vegas-style gambling action. 

I was also getting a bit hungry and had heard that the casino had a very good Sunday buffet. So, I took the CTrain to Victoria Park Station and walked around the corner to the casino entrance. 

Now, I’ll tell you right off the bat that I did not win a progressive jackpot, much to my disappointment. 

However, I did get my money’s worth at the buffet. Plus, I had a blast at the poker table alongside trying my hand at many other exciting games. Let me tell you all about it.

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♦️ An Overview of Elbow River Casino

Elbow River Casino is located at 218 18 Avenue SE between 18 Avenue SE and 17 Ave SW. It’s right beside Macleod Trail, a couple of blocks from the banks of the Elbow River. I decided to take the CTrain, which dropped me off about a block away. If you choose to drive, Elbow River Casino has a safe and secure underground parking lot. It’s even heated, which is always comforting on a cold and damp day.

The outside of the casino is pretty plain in terms of architecture. However, that didn’t matter to me as I was more concerned with what was on the inside. And what was on the inside? Well, Elbow River Casino covers about 80,000 square feet of gaming space. 

While I had heard that it offered a Roman theme, it was a bit of an uninspired mish-mash. I did find it to be a little brighter than many other casinos I’ve been to in Calgary. Of course, the sounds of the slot machines presumably paying out immediately lifted my spirits.

Wanting to get some food in my belly, I made my way through the maze of 600+ slot machines to Jester’s Buffet, although I was tempted to abandon my buffet plan for a juicy steak at the sports bar. 

Overall, I found the casino to be clean, and there was plenty of staff buzzing around the floor. While my meal was by no means 5-star, it was still pretty good and, even better, reasonably priced!

Quick Info

🪪 Membership required:❌  No, but encouraged 
👔 Dress code:❌  No, but smart-casual recommended
🏧 ATMs:✔️ Yes
🚘 Parking:✔️ Yes, free parking
♿ Wheelchair accessible:✔️ Yes
🛏️ On-site accommodation:✔️ Yes
🍴 On-site restaurant:✔️ Yes, multiple
🍹 Free drinks and snacks:

✔️ Yes, servers circulating

🚬 Smoking:❌  No, but it does have smoking areas

🛎️ Services and Facilities at Elbow River Casino in Calgary

Before commencing my gambling excursion, I decided to walk around and take in the scenery. I first noticed that the spacious modern racebook was buzzing. In case you are wondering, Elbow River Casino does not have a hotel on-site. However, there are a few within walking distance, including the two-star Best Western Plus and Fairfield Inn. If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, I’d recommend the four-star Fairmount Pallister or Le Germain Hotel. 

It’s also worth noting that the casino is just a hop, skip, and jump from the Scotia Bank Saddledome, the home of the Calgary Flames. Personally, I’m more of a Vancouver Canucks fan myself, but it’s good to know. 

As you would expect, and unlike some new casinos, Elbow River is a non-smoking venue. I overheard one guest inquire where he could have a blast off of his vape. He was politely told that he could smoke outside and that re-entry was not an issue. Also, the servers will bring you drinks, but you have to pay for them even if you’re playing. 

Speaking of servers and floor staff, there was more than enough staff on hand, and they were generally quite cheerful and eager to assist guests. As mentioned, the casino floor wasn’t overly busy, which could have contributed to the quick service and friendly demeanour.

80K Sq. Ft Venue
30+ Live Tables
1 Entertainment Space
600+ Slot Machines
24/7 Always Open

I have to give a special shoutout to the Pai Gow dealer whom I encountered later in the day. Even though I forgot his name, he gave me a free and detailed lesson on how to play a game called Tile Pai Gow. 

Now, I have played plenty of Pai Gow, but this Tile Pai Gow is a little different. Instead of using cards, it’s played with dominoes. Interesting twist. Of course, I only picked his brain because the table was empty. After he gave me the lowdown, I played a few rounds for the minimum $10 bet. 

As for other services and amenities, Elbow River Casino is fully wheelchair accessible. In fact, the aisles are wide and accommodating, which is a nice touch. You certainly won’t feel packed in unless the place is filled to capacity. Also, there are ATMs in a couple of locations in the casino, although I didn’t intend to use one.

Speaking of servers and floor staff, there was more than enough staff on hand, and they were generally quite cheerful and eager to assist guests.

🎰 Games at Elbow River Casino Calgary

While I didn’t count for accuracy, Elbow River Casino’s gaming floor has over 600 slots on it. When compared to the best online casinos, that is not as huge number, but it does  includes a solid selection of jackpot slots, which are some of my favourites. I couldn’t resist trying my luck on the Diamond Millions machine, which, at the time, had a jackpot worth over a million bucks. After striking out there, I made my way to the poker room, which was really spacious and comfortable. 

I was surprised to find that the poker room had fixed-limit Hold ‘Em. Even though I prefer no-limit, I bought in for $200 and took my seat. To say the game was loose would be a huge understatement. I would say that the average VPIP was about 90%. That was fine with me, as I was in the mood for action. However, I didn’t get a lot of great cards, and I packed it in after about three hours. I wasn’t done gambling, though.

My next stop was the blackjack table, where I ground it out for about an hour at $5 per hand. It was then that I saw a boisterous crowd gathered around a roulette table. I’m not a huge roulette fan, especially American Roulette, given its higher house edge, but this was a fun, friendly, and sociable group. Even the croupier was entertaining. After a dozen or so rounds of taking abuse from the gambling gods, I couldn’t resist the urge to try my luck again at the progressive jackpot slots. That’s when I stumbled across the Tile Pai Gow table and received my in-depth tutorial. 

As I headed toward the Diamond Millions progressive slot for another go at that million-dollar progressive jackpot, I saw that there were several other table games going on. The Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em table had generated a decent crowd, as did a couple of the baccarat games. I also noticed a few players in the VIP area, although I have absolutely no business being around those tables. 

Overall, I thought that the game selection was pretty good. Yes, it could be better, but it has all of the essentials then some. The slot stations were clean, and the tables themselves were generally in tip-top shape, although a couple were showing signs of age. The dealers were polite and professional, as was the rest of the staff at Elbow River Casino. 

♣️ Poker :✔️ Yes, dedicated poker room
⚪ Roulette:✔️ Yes
🃏 Blackjack:✔️ Yes
🎲 Baccarat:✔️ Yes
🎰 Slots:✔️ Yes
💎 VIP:✔️ Yes
🏆 Tournaments:✔️ Yes, poker and slots

💰 Bonuses and Promotions at Elbow River Casino

Rewards programs are a little different at Alberta casinos in that each one offers the same loyalty rewards program. It’s called Winner’s Edge, and it rewards members playing casino games. You can sign up online before visiting Elbow River Casino (or any other brick-and-mortar gambling establishment in Calgary) or register at guest services at Elbow River Casino. 

When you arrive, you’ll just need to show your government-issued ID to get your card. It’s then just a matter of racking up loyalty points by using your Winner’s Edge card when you play. You earn one point for every $5 you spend on the slots or electronic table games. 

You can redeem your loyalty points for various prizes like free play credits. On top of that, you can use your Winner’s Edge card to get a 10% discount on select food and drinks at all casinos in Alberta. And yes, that includes alcoholic beverages. 

Members can also participate in ongoing contests and win awesome prizes like VIP vacations and luxury items. Through Winner’s Edge, Elbow River Casino runs regular promotions that offer tons of great prizes like bonus loyalty points, loyalty point multipliers, and free play credits. 

Another benefit of being a Winner’s Edge cardholder is that you get access to various responsible gambling tools. With a Winner’s Edge Card, you can monitor all of your gambling activity, including your win/loss stats. You can use their budgeting tool to set daily, weekly, or monthly limits on how much money you spend at the casino. The Winner’s Edge website has a direct link to GameSense Alberta, where you can find more responsible gambling resources. 

🎇 My Elbow River Casino Experience

Elbow River Casino is nothing special to look at. The exterior and its generic “Casino” sign don’t exude excitement like an eye-catching Vegas strip casino would. That said, it’s a relatively modern building in a safe and clean neighbourhood. Even though I didn’t drive there, I ended up checking out the underground garage, and I found that the security and parking spaces were plentiful. 

Entering the casino was pretty exciting. I could hear the sounds of the slots from well outside the entrance. One of the first things I noticed when I walked in was how roomy it was. As mentioned, the aisles are wide, and you don’t have to go through a serpentine maze of slots to get to other key gaming areas. The security guy was welcoming enough, although he seemed perplexed that I was wearing a Vancouver Canucks shirt.

The casino was mostly clean, although I’m not sure about that dreary carpeting. It sure contrasts with the brighter surroundings. But I quickly forgot about that stuff and took a second to soak up the sounds. The crowd was pretty small when I got there, but it was buzzing nonetheless. All of those smiling staff members made for an even friendlier and welcoming atmosphere.

I really liked the buffet brunch, but I loved Sammy’s Sports Bar. I went there after my second fruitless attempt at winning that million dollars. It was a little expensive, even for a casino restaurant, but it was a relaxing place away from the fray. The steak dinner was fabulous. There was also some NHL hockey on the big screen, which made me wish the casino had a sportsbook. 

On a side note, the restrooms were very clean. Well, I can only speak of the men’s room. It might be a little outdated, but it was comfortable, everything worked, and it didn’t smell bad.


Rewards club is a winner

The Winners Edge is one of the better rewards programs around and, better still, it applies to call Albertan casinios, making is exceptional value. 

💭 My Verdict on Elbow River Casino Calgary

I didn’t hit the million-dollar jackpot, but my Elbow River Casino experience was pretty satisfying overall. For starters, it was easy to get there. The CTrain was just a short stroll from my hotel, and it dropped me off about a block from the casino. It is in a safe area, which is always a good thing when you’re from out of town. I would have had no reservations about using the casino parking lot as it is warm, clean, and well-guarded. 

Speaking of well-guarded, the casino has plenty of security. In addition to the countless eyes in the sky and the security personnel, there are a few other burly guys lurking around to keep an eye on things. You will absolutely feel safe and secure. You should also be more than happy with the game selection. Hundreds of slots, an array of table games, a racebook, and a poker room equate to a well-rounded casino experience. 

I haven’t even mentioned that Elbow River Casino has live entertainment on the Bayou Stage on most Fridays and Saturdays. It sure isn’t Las Vegas, but it’s about as close to it as you will come to it in Calgary. I can confidently recommend it to any casino fans who find themselves in the area. 

What I Liked and Didn't Like

The game selection – especially the progressive slots.
Elbow River Casino is conveniently located and easily accessible
The food is pretty good
The staff and dealers were generally pleasant
The casino is safe and clean
Didn't Like
No craps
It would be nice to have a few more dining options
The overall décor is boring

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Meet The Author

25 Years
Ziv Chen
Ziv Chen
Writer Writer

Ziv Chen has been working in the online gambling industry for over two decades in senior marketing and business development roles. Ziv writes about a wide range of topics including slot and table games, casino and sportsbook reviews, American sports news, betting odds and game predictions. Leading a life full of conflict, Ziv constantly struggles between his two greatest loves: American football and US soccer.

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