PURE Casino Calgary Review for May 2024

Ziv Chen

Updated by

Ziv Chen


Michael Graham

Fact Checked by

Michael Graham

Content Editor

Last Updated on 13th May 2024, 02:33 PM


PURE Casino Calgary is operated by PURE Canadian Gaming, Alberta’s biggest and longest-running casino operation company. Opening its doors in 1997, PURE Casino Calgary was the third PURE Canadian Gaming casino to open in Alberta (after Edmonton and Lethbridge) and is also the third largest of the four sites. 

Located just minutes from downtown, PURE Casino Calgary is a haven for bettors seeking to escape the chaotic cultural capital and its crowded casinos. 

Featuring over 800 slots, a 24-hour poker room and a concert schedule with enough tribute bands to create a knock-off Coachella, PURE Casino is a small-scale gambling destination only a few miles from the beaten track.   

Check out my in-depth review of PURE Casino Calgary and discover what makes it a haven for casual gamblers, including its game selection, atmosphere, location, amenities, dining options, unique facilities, and more. 

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♦️ An Overview of PURE Casino

Just a hop, skip, and jump from the Trans-Canada Highway, PURE Casino is conveniently situated for road-trippers seeking a little gambling action to break up a long drive. 

You’ll find the casino on the corner of Barlow and 16th Avenue. This busy intersection has recently benefited from a major reconstruction project, improving traffic flow (so no hefty queues to or from the venue) and safety for drivers and pedestrians alike. 

At just 52,000 square feet, PURE Casino is one of Calgary’s boutique gambling destinations. While it manages to pack over 850 slots and 30 tables into the venue, there just isn’t room for a hotel. Nor is there much need for one since its proximity to the highway and lack of nearby amenities means most visitors may wish to avoid an overnight stay here anyway. 

There is a Best Western a 20-minute walk down the road, though I’d recommend booking yourself a downtown hotel and taking an Uber here instead. It’s less than a 10-minute drive, so it’s close enough to the bustling city center that you’ll have no problem booking a ride back. 

Plus, you can then enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown Calgary after your casino trip (rather than the parking lots, business outlets, and transit roads that border PURE Casino). 

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:

❌  No

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

🛎️ Services and Facilities at PURE Casino in Calgary

Food: Meridian Central Station is the property’s sole bar and eatery. Though it is located within the casino building, it’s detached enough that you’re not overwhelmed by the sounds of the casino floor. Serving food from 9:30am - 11pm and drinks until 1am, Meridian Central offers dinner specials from Thursday through Sunday, including a popular Prime Rib Special on Saturdays and an over 55’s menu on Thursdays. 

While most non-gambling guests come to a casino for dinner and a show, PURE Casino is one of the rare venues that attracts a morning crowd. Available from 9:30am to 11am, the $6.99 breakfast special is famous throughout the area, with long-haul drivers and retirees coming from all over Calgary to indulge in eggs, meat, smashed browns, toast and coffee, all for less than seven bucks. 

Staff: PURE Casino was voted one of Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” in 2020, so it’s no wonder the staff here are all so brilliant and accommodating. From the servers in the restaurant to the lovely ladies at Guest Services and the knowledgeable but entertaining dealers in the poker room, every staff member I interacted with left me with a very positive impression. 

That said, I did notice there never seemed to be quite enough of these high-quality staff to keep the casino running as efficiently as it should be. The food in Meridian Central was awesome, but the few working servers were rushed off their feet, and meals took a while to arrive. The same went for any drinks orders during live performances and the scarcity of attendants in the poker and high-limit rooms (I ended up ordering and waiting for my drink directly at the bar).

Despite enough requests from guests to warrant opening them, I saw blackjack and roulette tables remain closed throughout the night due to a lack of qualified dealers. After returning to my hotel downtown, I checked out the casino’s website and saw a dozen job openings, particularly for experienced dealers, bartenders, and servers. While the casino is clearly trying to remedy its staff shortages, guests who only have a few hours to check out the casino may leave with a sub-par impression. 

52K Sq. Ft Venue
30 Live Tables
1 Entertainment Space
800 Slot Machines
24/7 Always Open

Entertainment: Alongside the games themselves, one of PURE Casino’s main selling points is the Meridian Central Station concert space. A small and intimate venue, the concert hall hosts at least one event every weekend. 

While you won’t find any of your favourite famous acts here, you can find a knock-off version for a fraction of the ticket price. From Journey to Joan Jett, Spice Girls to Springsteen, Buddy Holly to Bob Seger - the Meridian is home to some of the biggest (tribute) acts in the world.

Accessibility: Minus a few outdated bathrooms in need of a refurb, PURE Casino and its concert hall are mostly wheelchair accessible. It also permits service dogs, although you should ensure you have both the ID and vest of your service animal. Otherwise, you may get rejected (this happened during my trip and made for a very uncomfortable conversation between security and the guest in question).

Featuring over 800 slots, a 24-hour poker room and a concert schedule with enough tribute bands to create a knock-off Coachella, PURE Casino is a small-scale gambling destination only a few miles from the beaten track.

🎰 Games at PURE Casino Calgary

PURE Casino is one of Calgary’s oldest land-based gambling establishments, so it can be forgiven for being a little behind the times and stuggling to compare to new casinos. However, it recently modernised its opening hours and now offers 24/7 gambling on both slots and poker. It is also home to the “Replay Arena”, an immersive electronic gaming space that’s exclusive to Albertan casinos.

PURE Casino has more than 850 slot machines to its name, an impressive collection that rivals many of its larger Calgary competitors (some of which have almost double the square footage). Bet limits start at just $0.01 and there are a great mix of traditional games and brand new releases. Included in this large library of games are the Alberta-exclusive progressive jackpots like Alberta Gold, which has an eye-watering $20,000 seed.

Both the table games area and Replay Arena are open 12pm-3am Monday through Friday and 10am-3am on Saturday and Sunday. Pure Casino is one of only two destinations in Calgary with the Replay Arena (and one of four across Alberta), which features automated games for solo play and a huge 14-foot screen for multiplayer games. The casino also offers around 30 table games where you can play blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker, pai gow, and chase the flush.

There’s also an additional High Limit room that’s reserved exclusively for the casino’s highest rollers. Nestled within a VIP gaming lounge for the utmost privacy, the High Limit area has five baccarat and three blackjack tables. Unfortunately, I don’t have a bankroll that is flexible enough to play here, so I can’t tell you much more about this luxury experience.

However, an area that I could (and did) wager in was the dedicated poker room. Available round-the-clock, this poker room is one of the few (if not the only) places in Calgary that has no caps on its betting limits, so players can stake it all on potentially life-changing payouts. There are ten tables here, which is more than enough to cater to the crowd sizes it draws in. There’s even an exclusive menu for dining inside the poker room. Who needs a fancy shmancy high-limit room?

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

💰 Bonuses and Promotions at PURE Casino

Most of PURE Casino’s promotions are found in the poker room. There are weekly and monthly poker tournaments, plus the annual Pure Poker Tour, with qualifying events occurring across the company’s four casino sites. Pure Casino also boasts three progressive Bad Beat and High Hand Jackpots - No Limit Hold’em Bad Beat, Pot Limit Omaha Bad Beat, and No Limit Hold’em High Hands - that you can win with a qualifying hand.

The only other notable gaming promotions are the casino’s rewards programs. PURE Rewards is the casino’s exclusive in-house program, which awards loyal players with hotel discounts, shopping vouchers, tickets for promotional draws, and extra rewards for hand-pay jackpots and buy-ins on specific games. You also get 10% off food and drinks at Meridian Central and exclusive event invitations. 

Alongside PURE Rewards, the casino is part of the Winner's Edge scheme. This unique program unites all of Alberta’s land-based casinos under one shared loyalty card, which you can enter on any slot or electronic table game and earn points to use on food and free play vouchers. 

With its daily dinner specials, the Meridian probably has more promotions per week than the casino does. While there are allusions to regular prize draws and promotions during the Pure Rewards sign-up process, in reality, they’re few and far between. This is a little disappointing, especially considering the casino doesn’t give out free drinks or even soda to its guests (coffee is the only freebie you’re getting here).

🎇 My PURE Casino Experience

Being situated on the side of a busy highway, PURE Casino doesn’t get a huge amount of foot traffic. Instead, most of its custom comes from bettors who visit the casino after dining in the restaurant or attending a concert. 

That means the atmosphere is low-key and relaxed, so while it doesn’t make a great pre-game destination, it’s a nice place to play if you want a quiet gambling experience.

I generally enjoyed my visit although I did find the lack of available dealers impacted on the experience. Perhaps I caught it at a bad time and those vacancies are not filled, who knows. 

Like in every area of the casino, the number of security staff is a little lacking. However, being right next to the highway and with no nightlife in the surrounding area, it doesn’t attract the crowds of partying locals who frequent Calgary’s downtown casinos. While they’re not stationed at every corner of the casino, there are enough bouncers to ensure that if a problem were to arise, they’d be able to handle it quickly and safely.


Join Winners Edge

The Winner's Edge scheme is a great rewards program to join at PURE casino if you plan on gambling at other Albertan casinos. 

💭 My Verdict on PURE Casino Calgary

All in all, PURE Casino is the perfect place to escape the crowds and enjoy some quiet gambling while remaining just minutes away from downtown Calgary. 

It's an ideal rest spot for road trippers and long-haul truckers (and an absolute haven for tribute enthusiasts), Pure Casino is a boutique venue that fits almost every form of gambling into a relatively small casino space.

It's important to manage expectations, though. Its 800 slots machines mean it's never going to compete with the best online casinos or the mega-resorts, although there is stuff that goes in its favour too, For example, land based establishments are still the best payout casinos in terms of speed out there. 

PURE Casino Calgary offers a really nice package within its limitations, which is all you can ever really ask. 

🧭 How to Get There

PURE Casino is located less than a 10-minute drive from downtown, while access by public transport takes around 40 minutes. If you’re staying downtown, you can catch the train from Centre Street to Marlboro, then walk to the Marlborough LRT station and take the train to Moraine Road. From there, it’s around a 9-minute walk to the casino. Honestly, I’d just skip the trains and take an Uber. 

If you’re driving to the casino yourself, you can take advantage of the large parking lot which has more than enough spaces for customer cars. Though there are music events pretty much every weekend, the venue is small enough that you won’t struggle to find a parking spot. 

What I Liked and Didn't Like

10% discount on food at Meridian Central with a rewards card
Five-star service from the staff
Excellent food options catering to a range of dietary requirements
Less than 10 minutes from Calgary’s culture & entertainment district
Ample parking space
Didn't Like
Long wait times for food and drinks
No bingo available
Located in an industrial area with no surrounding amenities

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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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