Gun Lake Casino Michigan Review for May 2024

Lynsey Thompson

Updated by

Lynsey Thompson

Writer

Michael Graham

Fact Checked by

Michael Graham

Content Editor

Last Updated 17th May 2024, 09:34 AM

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Ever since Gun Lake Casino opened in February 2011, it has been expanding and redeveloping to keep up with increasing demand.

An extremely popular casino, it is owned by the Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe. 

Although not the most modern of buildings, their latest $300 million development will see the addition of an eye-catching 15-storey hotel and Aqua Dome poolside entertainment venue.

With the exciting new additions scheduled to open in March 2025 which are sure to attract even more visitors to this busy spot, I went along to review what the Michigan casino has to offer.

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♦️ An Overview of Gun Lake Casino

Due to its continued expansion, the Gun Lake Casino floor is just over 150,000 square feet. To put that into perspective, it’s similar to Aria and Bellagio in Las Vegas, which means it has a lot of games.

When you are outside, the casino doesn’t look that much in all honesty. The low-rise two-tone tan coloured building is a little bit uninspiring. And, I have to say, I felt the same about the interior. 

Despite the fairly high ceilings, the lighting is really dark and the games are packed tightly together. This, combined with the dark coloured carpets made for a bit of a dimly-lit and confined gaming experience. 

But, in all fairness, I am used to a more contemporary gaming floor, the kind of which you get at brand new casinos or recently redeveloped ones. 

What I did like about Gun Lake Casino was that there were complimentary self-serve free soda and coffee machines around the casino which I made use of. 

Another positive is that the casino was well-maintained and clean throughout, despite being busy, and the staff I met were really friendly and welcoming.

Recent renovations have included adding additional bar and restaurant areas which have helped to modernise the resort too. So, all-in-all, there’s actually quite a lot to like about Gun Lake Casino.

Quick Info

🪪 Membership required:❌  No, but encouraged 
👔 Dress code:❌  No, but smart-casual recommended
🏧 ATMs:✔️ Yes, free to use
🚘 Parking:✔️ Yes, free parking
♿ Wheelchair accessible:✔️ Yes
🛏️ On-site accommodation:❌  No, but coming in 2025
🍴 On-site restaurant:✔️ Yes, multiple
🍹 Free drinks and snacks:

✔️ Yes, soft drinks

🚬 Smoking:✔️ Yes, but only in certain areas

🛎️ Services and Facilities at Gun Lake Casino in Michigan

Staff: All the staff that I spoke to were helpful and approachable. I played a few hands of blackjack and some roulette and both dealers were professional, although one was a little more chatty and friendly than the other. 

The bartender at 131 sports bar was charismatic and fun and the staff at the rewards desk were warm and informative too.

I only saw a couple of waitresses on the casino floor and they looked exceptionally busy. They never actually approached me while I played so I didn’t get a chance to order a drink. I’m told by some regulars that this service is minimal on most days so it might be best to get your drinks from the bar anyway.

Food: Harvest Buffet is the main eating option at Gun Lake. Open Thursday – Sunday, there are options for lunch and dinner buffets as well as Prime Rib and Crab Leg buffets too which cost extra. Prices range from $17.99 to $54.99 depending on when and what you book.

Other food options include the Shkodé Chophouse serving Steak and Seafood. Shkodé is the Pottawatomi word for fire, which is presented artfully through the restaurant, and it has a really good reputation. I didn’t get a chance to eat here unfortunately but it looked impressive. 

The 131 Sports Bar and Lounge is where I ate, ordering pulled pork nachos to share and a grilled chicken sandwich. Both were scrumptious and the portion sizes were big. There was a big LED wall showing all kinds of sports and I really enjoyed the lively buzz in there.

CBK (Craft Bar Kitchen) is another dining option which is a brewpub offering food and drink in a casual setting. One thing I did sample was the CBK beer wall. You pre-buy a CBK card, slide it into the machine, choose your beer, and you can self-serve beer by the ounce. 

This is a really nice idea and meant I could try lots of different drinks by just pouring small samples of each. You can choose from a range of IPA, lagers, beers and ciders. Angry Orchard is still my favourite though.

CBK also have an igloo eating experience which is basically a private dining area enclosed in what looks like a glass igloo. I’d never really seen anything like it, but it looked like it could be fun.

If you’re eating on the go, then the Grab & Go sandwich bar is a good choice or the quick service deli that sells genuinely the best brownies ever. Trust me, I have researched this topic thoroughly over a significant number of years.

150K Sq. Ft Venue
50 Live Tables
1 Entertainment Spaces
2.4K Slot Machines
24/7 Always Open

Entertainment: Regular live music and entertainment can be found at both 131 Sports Bar and CBK.

131 Sports Bar has something on every Friday and Saturday night ranging from country music to rock tribute acts to 80’s, or even Hip-Hop acts. They also have watch parties for big sporting events such as UFC. Meanwhile, Thursday nights are trivia nights.

CBK entertainment is more based around DJ sets, with occasional other acts such as Jazz and Folk music and even Duelling Guitars. 

Accommodation: The new 15-storey hotel tower with 250 rooms is expected to open in March 2025, but for now there is no accommodation at the casino.

Gun Lake does have local hotel partners all within a 17-mile radius though. These include Bay Pointe Inn, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids South, Baymont Inn and Suites, Comfort Suites South, and Best Western Plus Wayland.

Accessibility: Gun Lake Casino is wheelchair and walker accessible throughout the casino. They have a small number of wheelchairs that can be used by guests, but these are first come, first served so it’s always advisable to call ahead.

It was extremely busy. I went on a weekday and was surprised by how many people were in there. A local told me that weekends can be even more crowded.

🎰 Games at Gun Lake Casino Michigan

With such as large casino space you would expect a lot of games, and Gun Lake Casino doesn’t disappoint.

For a casino of this size you would normally expect between 1,800 – 2,000 slots but Gun Lake has almost 2,500. That makes it comparable for choice with some of the best online casinos, but it also shows how closely packed together they are.

It’s obvious that they are trying to squeeze every bit of value out of their square footage. 

Personally, I prefer a more spacious and light casino floor to play in and I did find this a little dark and claustrophobic for my liking. 

It was also extremely busy. I went on a weekday and was surprised by how many people were in there. A local told me that weekends can be even more crowded. I would say the majority of the clientele were on the older side.

In terms of the games, there was definitely more of a focus on traditional style games. I don’t necessarily mean old three-reel games, of which there are plenty, but you’ll find more standard games rather than licensed or branded ones.

Think more Wheel of Fortune and Dragon Link rather than Crazy Rich Asians or Little Shop of Horrors. 

It does, though, have plenty of progressive jackpot slots, with stand-alone and wide area linked progressives too. 

If you enjoy some high stakes slots, then there is a small high-limit area you can use. Don’t think you have to be a really high roller to use this though. I tried it out and could bet from as little as $2.50 a spin so it’s more accessible than you think.

If table games are more your thing, then there’s a good selection of around 50 tables here with all the usual favourites - blackjack, craps, roulette, and baccarat.

Poker pit games include standard Three Card Poker but also lots of progressive games such as Progressive Mississippi Stud, Progressive Four Card Poker, or Progressive Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em.

A high limit table games area is also available with minimum bets usually starting from around $50. Plus there’s a dedicated poker room open daily with Texas Hold’em and Omaha games available most days.

Bar-top gaming is available in a couple of bars in Gun Lake Casino. I saw it at Chill bar and On the Side bar and you could play video poker, keno, plus a few slots as well. Unfortunately, drinks aren’t comped for playing though.

If you’re into sports betting then Gun Lake Casino has teamed up with Parx Casino to offer in-house and online sports betting. You can place bets at the counter or at one of the self-serve kiosks within the 131 Sports Bar and Lounge.

Incidentally, there’s also a Play Gun Lake App where you can place sports bets and play online casino games too.

♣️ Poker :✔️ Yes, dedicated poker room
⚪ Roulette:✔️ Yes
🃏 Blackjack:✔️ Yes
🎲 Baccarat:✔️ Yes
🎰 Slots:✔️ Yes
💎 VIP:❌  No
🏆 Tournaments:✔️ Yes, poker and slots

💰 Bonuses and Promotions at Gun Lake Casino

Gun Lake Casino uses the GLC Rewards program to give guests and visitors the opportunity to build up points and redeem benefits.

To sign up, just go along to the friendly staff at the GLC Rewards Club desk with some photographic ID and register an account. You must be 21 years or over to join. 

Once signed up you can start showing your card every time you spend money in the resort. Reward points are earned for the following spend:

  • Slots and Keno: $1 = 1 Point
  • Video Poker: $2 = 1 Point
  • Appliques Gift Shop Purchases: $1 = 1 Point
  • Harvest Buffet, Shkodé, CBK, 131 Sportsbar & Lounge, Grab & Go : $1 = 1 Point

Points are not awarded for alcoholic purchases at any of the above.

If you’re a table games player, it’s not as specific but you can still earn points based on your average bet amount and hours played. Just hand over your rewards card to the dealer when you play.

When it comes to redeeming points, 500 points is the equivalent of $1. This can be used on slot play, table games, dining at Shkodé, CBK, 131 Sportsbar & Lounge, Harvest Buffet and shopping in the Appliques Gift Shop.

To redeem points you just do it directly at a slot machine, in a restaurant or shop or for table games, you need to visit the rewards desk.

Building up points also allows you to climb the tier status ladder. The higher you are on the ladder, the more benefits you receive as follows:

  • Experience – base level tier offering free valet parking and room discounts
  • Preferred (7,500 points) - all of the above plus shopping discounts
  • Reserve (30,000 points) – all of the above plus reduced credit card fees and free personal check cashing
  • Elite (120,000 points) – all of the above plus priority restaurant seating and alcohol discount
  • Elite+ (Invite-only) – all of the above plus zero credit card fees

One big benefit of joining GLC Rewards is the Bonanza Bucks Celebration Award. Bonanza Bucks is a big progressive promotion that starts at $20,000 and is guaranteed to hit by $50,000. 

There are two benefits. Firstly, anyone who plays slots using their GLC Rewards card can trigger the bonus. So you could randomly be awarded the huge Bonanza Bucks amount of up to $50,000 at any time during the promotion.

Secondly, when the pot is won, every GLC Rewards member automatically receives $25 slot freeplay.

🎇 My Gun Lake Casino Experience

I spent a fun day at Gun Lake Casino and got to sample a little bit of everything. I enjoyed playing table games and found the dealers to be really engaging and fun, which always adds to the playing experience.

Playing slots was a little less enjoyable due to how busy the floor was and how close the machines were to each other. However, there are a lot of slots, so you can always find something to play.

Personally for me, I found the slots to be quite tight and it was difficult to trigger bonus features, but maybe it was just one of the those days. 

I really enjoyed hanging out at the 131 Sports Bar and CBK. Both have a similar lively and casual atmosphere, which is my type of vibe. And I really liked the self-serve soda and coffee machines in the casino as I felt like I was getting some added value. 

I found the casino to be clean throughout, including the attended restrooms, and although it wasn’t to my taste decoratively, it did have plenty of atmosphere.

For me, Gun Lake Casino felt like a safe and friendly place to play, even if I didn’t do well gambling wise, I felt welcomed.

⭐ Standout Moment

The 131 Sports Bar and Lounge was probably my favourite bit of Gun Lake Casino. It was just a really fun place to be with a vibrant atmosphere. 

With a huge LED wall of sport, good food and drink plus fabulous service, I couldn’t fault it. I also liked the fact it had an outside lounge so it felt like the most open and naturally lit part of the casino too. 

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Chase the bonanza!

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💭 My Verdict on Gun Lake Casino Michigan

Obviously Gun Lake Casino is going through major renovation at the moment. Speaking to the locals, they are used to it as it seems to be constantly changing and expanding.

The latest development, though, will see a massive change. The addition of an on-site hotel tower and Aqua Dome with pool and entertainment will make it more of a destination resort than just a casino.

Personally, I think it’s a great step, but I do think they may have to look at upgrading a few other elements to keep it all in line.

The waitress service, for example, will need to improve and for me, they might want to look at modernising the casino décor. Guests visiting a brand new modern hotel will expect the casino to reflect this too. 

They may even have to, dare I say it, expand the casino once again to keep up with the demand. They certainly can’t fit any more slots into the current area that’s for sure.

As it is now, there’s no doubt about it Gun Lake Casino is a fun day out. I think the changes they have made over the last few years – renovating 131 Sports Bar and introducing CBK and Shkodé have made a huge difference. 

I really like the fact that the owners are willing to keep investing to keep this casino a great place to play. I think they have great foundations, especially the friendly and helpful staff, and I definitely look forward to returning once the renovation is finished.

🧭 How to Get There

Gun Lake Casino is situated between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Grand Rapids is the closest city which is around a 30 minute drive.

It is a little out in the sticks location wise but if you’re driving, then you come off Exit 61 on U.S. 131.

Parking is free and there’s both a parking lot and a parking garage so there is always plenty of space. 

If you’re not driving, then transport links aren’t great, so you may be better off using a taxi or ride share option.

There used to be a Gun Lake Casino shuttle bus available for $10 but service doesn’t look to be running consistently. However, when the new renovation is complete, this may become a little more regular.

What I Liked and Didn't Like

Liked
Nearly 2,500 slots
Varied table games
Friendly staff
Complimentary self-serve sodas and coffees on casino floor
Great sports bar
Bonanza Bucks Celebration Award in GLC rewards program
Didn't Like
Dark casino décor
No comped alcoholic drinks
Slot machines too close together
Minimal waitress service

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Meet The Author

8 Years
Experience
Lynsey Thompson
Lynsey Thompson
Writer Writer

Lynsey is a regular Las Vegas visitor and a keen slots and roulette player. As well as significant experience as a writer in the iGaming and gambling industries as an expert reviewer and journalist, Lynsey is one half of the popular Las Vegas YouTube Channel and Podcast 'Begas Vaby’. When she is not in Las Vegas or wishing she was in Las Vegas, Lynsey can usually be found pursuing her other two main interests of sports and theatre.

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