Kewadin Casino Hessel Michigan Review for June 2024

Lynsey Thompson

Updated by Lynsey Thompson

Writer

Michael Graham

Fact Checked by Michael Graham

Content Editor

Last Updated 29th May 2024, 03:02 PM

Kewadin Casino Hessel is one of five Kewadin casinos in Michigan owned by the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Opened in 1994, Hessel is undoubtedly the smallest out of the five casinos with the other locations situated in Sault Ste. Marie, St.Ignace, Christmas and Manistique.

Kewadin Hessel is situated three miles from the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands on Lake Huron. It has quite a remote location and hours of operation vary depending on the season.

Having visited three of the Kewadin casinos already, I thought I knew what to expect from the Hessel location, but it was actually very different.

In this review, I’ll take you through my experience of visiting and gambling at Kewadin Casino Hessel. 

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♦️ An Overview of Kewadin Casino Hessel

There is a defining characteristic of all Kewadin casinos. Although different in style and layout, they are usually full of character and offer a similar aesthetic in terms of bold wood, brick and rock design. 

There is also often something quirky in the design, like a stunning arched entrance, a waterfall, an intricate vaulted ceiling or even a huge Santa statue (bet you can guess which site that is at), but Kewadin Casino Hessel has none.

Arriving at Kewadin Casino Hessel, I was completely underwhelmed. Although the building had the familiar wood and stone architecture and a green sloped roof, it was just very plain and simple in design. 

From the outside, it looked like it could be a community or sports centre rather than a casino and I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.

In terms of theming, this didn’t really improve once I’d stepped inside. With a plain white ceiling, patterned carpet and a basic rectangular shape, the casino didn’t really have any defining character in terms of appearance.

Nevertheless, the floor was full of slots, so I was keen to explore what was on offer.

Quick Info

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

✔️ Yes, free water and coffee/tea

🚬 Smoking:✔️ Yes

🛎️ Services and Facilities at Kewadin Casino

Staff

I was greeted warmly by the staff when I entered Kewadin Casino Hessel and again at the bar when I ordered drinks.

Although the casino was quiet on the day I visited, it was clear that the players who were there were locals and there was some friendly conversation between them and the staff. 

It all just seemed very relaxed and casual throughout, like a local hang-out or bar rather than a specific casino atmosphere. But everyone I spoke to was friendly.

Food

The only food option at Kewadin Casino Hessel is Northern Nook Deli.

Open daily from 11.30am, the deli serves quite a wide choice of food from all day breakfast to sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, burgers, and a range of appetisers.

Prices were reasonable with pizzas starting from $9.99 and burgers from $13.99, and the big breakfast sandwiches were only $5.45. I grabbed one of those, Sausage, Egg and Cheese, and it was really yummy and filling too.

With the casino being so small, the Deli was right beside the slots, meaning you only had to walk a few steps to grab a bite to eat.

3.8K Sq. Ft Venue
0 Live Tables
0 Entertainment Space
130 Slot Machines
9am-1am Open

Entertainment

As far as I could see there was no regular entertainment on site. However, there did look to be some live music acts occasionally in the bar.

This, too, was a casual area, with some bar seating and a couple of chairs. I also saw signs for a Happy Hour every day from 5.30 to 7.30pm with $1 off beer.

Outside of that the main entertainment comes from the casino itself with various promotions. 

Slot tournaments run every Monday and Tuesday with daily prize pools. There’s also specials days for players to win Kewadin credits - Tuesdays are Valor Days while Wednesdays are Senior Days. 

Every Friday night is Ladies Night. From 5 to 7.30pm, female guests can play for a chance to win Hot Seat Draws and Prize Draws too.

Kewadin Casino Hessel also offers regular prize promotions as part of the wider Kewadin group. At the time of writing, they have a Money Bees A Buzzin promotion on with Hot Seat Draws and prize draws offering up to $500 cash.

Outside of the casino, Hessel is perfectly situated for those who love the outdoors and water sports. Hessel Beach Park is only three miles away and offers swimming and a beach area. There are also lots of other outdoor activities on the doorstep including golfing, boating, fishing, and snowmobiling.

The beautiful islands of Les Cheneaux are probably the most well-known local attraction though. Made up of 36 small islands, they offer both relaxation and adventure, with winding hiking trails, charming craft shops, kayaking, and art galleries.

As I got more comfortable, I did end up spending a nice couple of hours here on the slots and I found everyone to be friendly. I left feeling like I was glad I had visited.

Accommodation 

Kewadin Casino Hessel doesn’t have a hotel. However, it has one fully-furbished cabin on site.

Recently renovated, the cabin offers picture-perfect accommodation nestled in the woods just across from the casino with an outside porch area.

Inside, there’s a lounge area with TV, sofa, table and chairs, a kitchen with a microwave and oven and there’s also a separate bedroom and shower room. The loft area has additional beds too.

The Hessel Cabin offers an ideal headquarters to stay close to the casino while also being able to explore all of the local attractions and it can be rented by the day, the week or the month.

If you’d prefer to bring an RV, then there is a campground on site at Kewadin Casino Hessel. The site is located just across from the casino and offers electrical hook-up from $22 per night with 40 berths available. 

Meanwhile, if you want to book a hotel, then just five miles to the west of Kewadin Casino Hessel you will find the Comfort Inn of Cedarville.

Accessibility

Kewadin Casino Hessel is all on one floor so is accessible to wheelchair and reduced mobility users.

🎰 Games at Kewadin Casino Hessel

You’ll find around 130 slots at Kewadin Casino Hessel including some virtual table games. There are no live tables games at this casino.

Casino opening hours fluctuate according to the season. June to October it is generally open from 9am to midnight every day, staying open until 1am on a Friday and Saturday. 

November to May it usually doesn’t open until 10am and closes at 11pm or midnight at the weekend.

I found a good mix of slots in the casino, a lot of old-style three and five-reel games, but also some modern video slots too. There were some favourites of mine here which surprised me including Lightning Link, Huff ‘n More Puff and Lock IT Link.

The more I played there, the more I enjoyed it to be honest. Initially put off by the casual non-casino like appearance of the venue and the lack of character, I found myself relaxing into the more casual atmosphere and actually had some fun. It started to feel like it did have some personality after all, it was just different.

If you do enjoy table games, then you’ll have to make do with virtual blackjack and roulette, and these were both busy when I visited. And if you enjoy sports betting then you can place bets at the kiosk just beside the casino bar.

As of 2022, all Kewadin casinos allow guests 18 and over to gamble in their casinos.

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

💰 Bonuses and Promotions at Kewadin Casino Hessel

All Kewadin properties, including Kewadin Casino Hessel, operate the same loyalty program which is Northern Rewards.

The program allows you to build up points every time you gamble in a Kewadin casino which then enables you to claim rewards back in return.

To sign up to Northern Rewards, go along to a rewards desk at any Kewadin casino with some photographic ID and complete a registration form. Once registered, you can build up two different types of points - Club Points and Tier Points. 

Every $4 bet in slot play and every $8 bet in video poker will earn you one Club Point and one Tier Point, while every $10 bet on table games will earn you one Tier Point. 

Obviously you can’t play live table games at Kewadin Casino Hessel but they are available at Kewadin casinos in Sault Ste. MarieSt. Ignace and Christmas.

Club Points have a monetary value and can be redeemed against products and services at Kewadin resorts. This includes hotel stays, dining, show tickets and gift shop purchases as well as slot freeplay. 100 Club Points is equal to $1

While Tier Points help you climb the status tiers and increase the range of benefits you can receive as follows:

  • Green Card (1–1,499 Tier points) – comp rooms, 5% dining and shopping discount, comp shuttle service from airport, valet service
  • Silver Card (1,500–7,499 Tier points) – as above plus 10% discounts, birthday offers and 2x point multiplier days
  • Gold Card (7,500–34,999 Tier points) – as above plus exclusive invitations, room upgrades, guaranteed show reservations, 15% discounts and 3x multiplier days
  • Black Card (35,000+ Tier Points) – as above plus guaranteed hotel reservations, late check out, access to Executive Host, 20% discounts, 4x multiplier days

The Valor Card is an additional card offered to all active, retired and honourably discharged military, police, fire, and EMS. This card is basically the equivalent to the Gold Card and gets you all of those benefits.

The good news about Northern Rewards is that you can build up points at all Kewadin resorts. The other good news is that regardless of what tier you are, Club points can be used towards the cost of a range of items, you can even just use them as slot freeplay if you choose. 

Other benefits to being a Northern Rewards member include entry into all promotions and special events. Plus, you can take part in ‘Player’s Day Mondays’ in the casino where you can receive up to $30 Kewadin credits when you gamble.

Make sure you’re signed up to the Kewadin monthly mailer so you can get offers and promotions sent to you directly each month.

🎇 My Kewadin Casino Hessel Experience

I think I made it quite clear that my initial impressions of Kewadin Casino Hessel weren’t exactly positive.

When I arrived at the casino, I actually wasn’t sure whether I wanted to go in. Nothing about it felt welcoming from the outside. And I just had this feeling I was going to stick out like a sore thumb when I walked in. 

In honesty, I did, but it wasn’t in the negative way it sounds. It is clear that Kewadin Casino Hessel is more of a local’s place. Everyone seemed to know each other and I stood out because of that.

I’m used to walking into a big casino and feeling completely anonymous, going about my business and no one even noticing. It’s impossible to do this here.

But, as I got more comfortable, I did end up spending a nice couple of hours here on the slots and I found everyone to be friendly. I left feeling like I was glad I had visited but wondering and doubting if I would ever feel the need to return.

⭐ Standout moment

I can usually pick a standout moment quite easily from visiting any casino. A feature, a view, or an experience that sticks in my memory and makes a casino distinguishable from others. It says quite a lot that I’m struggling to find one from Kewadin Casino Hessel, as the casino itself was just so non-descript. 

If I had to pick one, it would probably be listening to the chit-chat between the locals and the staff. They clearly had a really good rapport and that set the tone for the relaxed atmosphere.

💭 My Verdict on Kewadin Casino Hessel

I would say that after a rocky first impression, Kewadin Casino Hessel did grow on me a bit. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I would choose this type of casino over the usual mega-resort casinos I usually go to. Not in a million years.

I’m just saying I could see a certain charm to this no-frills, no-nonsense casino.

However, while this may be a ‘drop-in if you’re passing’ kind of place, it’s certainly not somewhere I would travel to visit. Ultimately, there’s just not enough about this casino to make me want to visit again as it is. 

With that in mind, I will be taking an interest to see if more money is invested into Hessel to bring it more in line with the other Kewadin casinos in the future.

🧭 How to Get There

If you’re travelling by car, take the I-75 to exit 359, then head East onto M-134 to Three Mile Road. Turn left there and the casino is around three miles along that road. Free parking is offered on site for casino guests.

If you’re staying locally, a Kewadin shuttle service runs every day from area hotels, local attractions and city campgrounds. To arrange transport, all you have to do is call the shuttle line and request a pickup. 

If you’re flying, the nearest major airport is Chippewa County International Airport (CIU / KCIU) which is 29 miles from the centre of Hessel. 

What I Liked and Didn't Like

Liked
Relaxed atmosphere
Relaxed atmosphere
Good variety in casino despite small size
Pleasant reasonably-priced food
Northern Rewards program
Didn't Like
Non-descript theming and style
Limited casino with no table games
Just not enough to make a worthwhile visit

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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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