Grand Villa Casino Edmonton Review for May 2024

Ziv Chen

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Ziv Chen

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Michael Graham

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Michael Graham

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Last Updated on 13th May 2024, 03:34 PM

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Welcome to YEGas, Edmonton’s answer to the bright lights of Nevada! Okay, you won’t quite find Las Vegas-level gambling here, but you will find plenty of entertainment. Edmonton is one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, and the ICE District - the shiny new downtown plaza where you’ll find Grand Villa Casino - is its beating heart. 

In the decade since construction on the plaza first began, the ICE District has blossomed into Edmonton’s epicentre of cultural activity. Alongside the Grand Villa Casino, you’ll find Rogers Place (home of the Edmonton Oilers), multiple dining options, the Stantec Tower, an ice-skating rink, regular festivals, and more.

Grand Villa is owned by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Limited, an experienced company with over 30 properties across North America. Grand Villa Edmonton opened its doors in 2016, making it one of Canada’s new casinos, but disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered them until July 2022. As such, the casino has only had around 5 years of operational time. Two years after welcoming back its guests, I decided it was the perfect time to conduct a thorough investigation of this YEGas casino. 

Keep reading my in-depth Grand Villa Casino review for details on its location, game selection, dining options, promotions, accessibility, customer service, and overall atmosphere.

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♦️ An Overview of Grand Villa Casino

Grand Villa’s convenient location within the ICE District means it is easily accessible by public transport. Take the MacEwan LRT to either Bay Enterprise Square or Churchill Station, and it’s just a 10-minute stroll to the casino. More than 40 bus services run past the casino during the week, while a dozen operate within walking distance during evenings and weekends. 

If you’re driving in, you can enjoy free underground parking at lot #404, but be warned that it’s only free during non-event days. If you plan to bet a few hands (and sink a few pints) before an Oilers game, it might be worth ditching the wheels and hopping on the LRT instead. 

Attached at the hip to the impressive Rogers Place, Grand Villa looks from the outside to be a colossal casino packed to the rafters with state-of-the-art games. While it is indeed as modern, bright and spacious as its next-door neighbour, at 60,000 square feet, it’s a relatively small venue. However, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in location. 

Grand Villa doesn’t offer on-site accommodation, but there are plenty of hotels nearby. Those with a more flexible budget can stay a stone’s throw away at the 5-star JW Marriott. Boasting the best Spa in Edmonton (and a $300+ nightly price tag), this hotel is the ultimate place to unwind after an evening of entertainment. If, like me, you can’t justify spending almost a third of your rent on one night’s sleep, more affordable options are available within walking distance of the ICE district.

Quick Info

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

✔️ Yes, free water and coffee/tea

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

🛎️ Services and Facilities at Grand Villa Casino in Edmonton

Despite being under the ownership of a large corporation, Grand Villa has that boutique casino charm you don’t expect to find at chain venues. The customer service offered here is impeccable, from the staff at Guest Services to the bartenders and restaurant servers. 

There are fewer than 30 live dealer tables at Grand Villa Casino, and they’re not always open during off-peak hours. However, the dealers staffing them (when they are open) are very knowledgeable and will laugh along with guests while maintaining high levels of professionalism. 

Grand Villa has just one restaurant option: MATCH Eatery & Public House. You’ll find the same restaurant at most Gateway casino properties, all serving up delectable pub grub in a sports bar setting. I must admit, at first, I was a little disappointed by the lack of variety. But after ordering (and very quickly consuming) the steak sandwich, I can happily confirm that even if I were given another five or six restaurants to pick from, I’d probably still choose MATCH. 

Similarly, there is only one bar inside Grand Villa. The Centro Bar, located smack bang in the centre of the casino floor, provides a great range of drinks and snacks to guests who don’t want to wander far from their machines. It has a daily Happy Hour from 2pm to 4pm, which is precisely when you’d find me taking advantage of $5 bottles and $5.25 draft beers. You can also get a 6oz wine for $5.50, though the wine selection was a little poor. 

60K Sq. Ft Venue
28+ Live Tables
1 Entertainment Space
500+ Slot Machines
Open 12pm-3am

Venue size: At 60,000 square feet and just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Oilers’ home turf, Grand Villa is a somewhat small venue that fills up incredibly fast on match days. With less than 30 live tables, it’s not the greatest for large groups of serious gamblers. However, its awesome menu, boutique game selection and convenient location make it an ideal date spot or post-game hangout. 

Food and drink: Dining at Grand Villa Casino is limited to the MATCH restaurant and the Centro snacks and drinks bar. While some visitors may be disappointed by the lack of choice, the casino evidently opted for quality over quantity. The food is delicious, the service is swift, and the daily Happy Hour provides popular drinks at slashed prices. 

Accommodation: Owing to its smaller size, Grand Villa can’t accommodate guests on-site. However, there are plenty of nearby hotels at various prices that are all within walking distance of the casino. 

Accessibility: The casino is wheelchair accessible, including its bathrooms and restaurant.

I thought the dealers at Grand Villa were very professional. I can’t speak for those at other tables, but the blackjack croupier was knowledgeable, entertaining, and a great asset to the casino.

🎰 Games at Grand Villa Casino Edmonton

Despite its name, Grand Villa isn’t quite a palatial gambling paradise. There are just under 30 live dealer tables and around 520 slot machines. Most of the machines are in great working order, and the advantage of having fewer games than some of its competitors means that they’re not crammed together with very little wiggle room between them. The slots are turned on at noon; both slots and tables are open until 3am daily. 

The casino is a little slow off the ground during the day, so the table games don’t open until 2pm. Even then, if a few guests are waiting to play, some tables will remain shut. On the other end of the scale, almost every table is fully packed after an Oilers game, meaning you might have to wait a little while for a space to free up. However, there are plenty of video Blackjack and Roulette terminals to keep you occupied while you wait.  

Poker is easily one of the most popular casino games, and the advantage that land-based casinos have over online casinos is the social aspect of real poker games and tournaments. As a poker player, I was disappointed to learn that Grand Villa doesn’t have a dedicated poker room. These rooms, which are usually open 24/7, are a common feature of most Canadian casinos, and for a casino that opened as recently as 2016, not having a poker room is a little outdated. 

The only place you can play poker is on the main gaming floor, with only one variant - Ultimate Texas Hold’em - on offer. Other table games offered at Grand Villa include Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat. While the numbers may be low, the croupiers at these tables are some of the finest in the industry. Experts at keeping customers happy and resolving any issues or arguments, they do a great job entertaining the regular players and the enthusiastic Oilers fans. 

Along with the poker pros, high rollers may be disappointed to find no dedicated high-limit room available. There is high-limit Baccarat, but these few tables are buried amongst the regular tables on the main gaming floor. On the plus side, the regular tables offer low enough minimum wagers that bettors of any budget can get involved. 

Ultimately, Grand Villa covers most bases in its game selection. You can play all the most popular table games using a wide range of bets and enjoy a mix of new and classic slots with denominations from a penny up to double digits. I just wish there were more options for poker players, and it would be nice to see a few more high-limit options. 

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

💰 Bonuses and Promotions at Grand Villa Casino

Grand Villa Casino is part of the Winners Edge program, Alberta’s provincial casino rewards scheme. By signing up for a Winners Edge card, you can enjoy perks like freeplay, cash giveaways, and restaurant discounts. The casino also hosts Winners Edge promotions, such as weekly “Bonus Points” events and “The Grand Claw”, a token-based giveaway with prizes like gift cards, freeplay, vouchers, and more. 

Additionally, Grand Villa guests can sign up for the casino’s My Club Rewards program. In fact, you’ll need to do so to take advantage of the free parking. My Club gives you 10% off at MATCH, freeplay points, match play, event discounts, and more. It’s essentially Grand Villa’s version of the Winners Edge program. Neither offers any different perks to the other, so there’s not much point in signing up for both. 

Aside from these two reward schemes, Grand Villa Casino offers little in the way of bonuses. There are no major prize giveaways, and because there’s no poker room, you won’t find the usual Bad Beat progressive jackpots available here, either. 

That said, the casino does run a monthly slot tournament with a $1,000 prize pool. Winners of each round get a $25 gift card, but there’s limited space, so you’ll have to register in advance for a shot at a prize. These tournaments happen once a month, and you can find out the next tournament date and register your interest at Guest Services. Alternatively, the casino posts about its upcoming tournament on its social media pages. 

🎇 My Grand Villa Casino Experience

I spent three days in Edmonton checking out the casino and all it had to offer. From the gambling to the service and amenities, I enjoyed almost every aspect. If you time your Grand Villa Casino trip right, you can soak up the atmosphere of one of the city’s downtown festivals. However, Edmonton exceeds its reputation as Canada’s “festival city” and hosts so many that they’re almost impossible to avoid! 

Notable events include the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, Downtown Spark, Edmonton Fringe, Disco in the Park, and the Edmonton Heritage Festival. My visit coincided with the Craft Beer Festival, and a very happy coincidence it was! I drank my body weight in beer samples at the EXPO Centre, then took the 5-minute LRT ride to Churchill Station once the last orders were called. The brief 10-minute walk to Grand Villa Casino helped freshen me up in time for a few games of blackjack!

Talking of blackjack, I thought the dealers at Grand Villa were very professional. I can’t speak for those at other tables, but the blackjack croupier was knowledgeable, entertaining, and a great asset to the casino. The servers in MATCH - which, from my experience, is probably the best on-site restaurant of any casino in Edmonton - worked around the restaurant with a friendly smile. The casino itself was clean, and more staff circled regularly to clean up spills or messes. 

Beyond the poker room, my only complaints are the lack of live music and the limited promotions. Listening to local bands while spinning the reels of a slot is one of my favourite parts of land-based gambling (otherwise, I could do the same thing at home using the best online casinos and save myself the trip). Likewise, I felt as though I could’ve found more rewards by gambling online. That said, the limited venue size means that a live band just wouldn’t work, and the real reason I go to a physical casino is for fun, not profit. 

During peak times (particularly after a match at Rogers Place), the quality of the casino suffered a little. Jackpot hand pays could take some time to pay out, with staff members run off their feet. One player a few slots down from me won a $300 jackpot and was still waiting for a payout 45 minutes later. That does little to help the claim that land-based are the quickest and best payout casinos. Similarly, the popularity of the table games combined with their limited numbers meant you were often playing shoulder-to-shoulder with your tablemates (if you were able to secure a spot).

However, the casino atmosphere is at its best during these busy periods. During slow hours, there isn’t much of a vibe, and it seems the pit bosses are watching the clock and waiting for the evening to roll around before they open up all of the tables. 

⭐ Standout Moment

Catching an Oilers game in the impressive Rogers Place arena, witnessing them skate their way to glory, and then celebrating with a group of fellow hockey fans back at Grand Villa. The drinks were flowing, the atmosphere around the tables was electric, and I even managed to walk away with $80 profit!

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Join Winners Edge

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

💭 My Verdict on Grand Villa Casino Edmonton

After reflecting on my visit to the casino, my verdict is that Grand Villa’s main attraction isn’t necessarily its game selection or any of the other amenities you typically seek in a casino. Instead, its location in the bustling ICE District is probably its biggest selling point. 

That’s not to say the casino itself isn’t great. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here; it had enough games to keep all the guests happy, the customer service was fantastic, the food at MATCH was top-tier, and the overall vibe was spot-on. However, the combination of the casino and its surroundings helps it to stand out from other Edmonton venues. 

Thanks to its prime spot next to Rogers Place, it’s the perfect post-game hangout for raising a glass (or your bet) to an Oilers victory. Or, if a live music event is being held in the arena, it’s a convenient place to bring your date for a delicious dinner and drinks before the gig. You can carry on the festivities after a festival in the ICE plaza, and its accessibility by public transport means many guests will choose it over another venue, so they don’t need to worry about driving back home. 

Overall, Grand Villa Casino Edmonton is a boutique little hangout that aims to provide a well-rounded selection of games to casual bettors. Offering a decent selection of the most popular games, you’re likely to find a table or slot that suits your style (as long as you’re happy to wait a while on match days). 

The lack of a poker or VIP room means it’s probably not the best choice for serious bettors or high rollers, but it’s an excellent option for those who are visiting the area and fancy a few hours of entertainment. 

What I Liked and Didn't Like

Liked
Unbeatable location in the ICE District
Easily accessible by multiple forms of public transport
Well-curated menu of excellent food in MATCH
Happy Hour deals every single day
The incredible atmosphere on match days
Didn't Like
Quiet during the week, and not all tables are open
No poker room
Only one restaurant on-site
Parking isn’t free on event days

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Meet The Author

25 Years
Experience
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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