Great Blue Heron Casino Ontario Review for 2024

Ziv Chen

Updated by Ziv Chen


Michael Graham

Fact Checked by Michael Graham

Content Editor

Last Updated 30th May 2024, 02:39 PM

On my latest trip to Southern Ontario, I found myself a little north of Oshawa in a quiet place called Port Perry. It’s a beautiful peninsula located on Lake Skugog and surrounded by sandy beaches. It’s also the site of the Great Blue Heron Casino. 

Being such a huge fan of casino gaming, I decided to check it out. Seeing how the Port Perry area is not heavily populated at all, I wasn’t expecting a lot out of the casino. Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise?

Great Blue Heron Casino opened in 1997, and it is owned by the Mississaugas of Skugog Island First Nations. The facility underwent extensive renovations throughout 1999 and 2000 before more renovations in 2021 saw the addition of over 100 hotel rooms. 

It now offers one of the most complete casino experiences in Ontario and perhaps all of Canada. It sums up the old adage of big things coming in small packages.

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♦️ An Overview of Great Blue Heron Casino

Great Blue Heron Casino is a 24/7 facility situated at 21777 Island Road in Port Perry. It sits between several local beaches, including Sunrise Beach and Fralick’s Beach. 

Now, this area doesn’t have much in the way of public transportation, but the casino is easy to get to by taxi, ride-share, or car. The casino also provides free parking and a shuttle bus that leaves Port Perry three times each day.

Great Blue Heron Casino isn’t a very large casino. It only has about 25,000 square feet of gaming space, but don’t let its size fool you. You’ll find over 600 slots, 20+ live gaming tables, and electronic gaming stations. The complex has a poker room that serves up Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha for various stakes. 

What sets Great Blue Heron Casino apart from most other Canadian casinos is that it also has a sportsbook. It is one of only four Canadian casinos that offer on-site sports betting, which I found to be very exciting. 

Built-in 2021, the Great Blue Heron Hotel is attached to the casino. It has over 100 comfortable rooms that start at around $135 per night, which is pretty reasonable. There are two small bars located off the main gaming floor and one restaurant aptly called the Water’s Edge. You can also get snacks at the Quick Bites kiosk.

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, free soda and coffee stations

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

🛎️ Services and Facilities at Great Blue Heron Casino in Ontario

I went to Great Blue Heron Casino on a Wednesday afternoon, so it wasn’t too busy at all. I didn’t have too many interactions with the floor staff, but the ones that I did have were pleasant. 

They were friendly, helpful, and made me feel at home. I thought that the dealers were also congenial and they knew what they were doing. I know they need to concentrate on staying on top of the games, so I don’t usually start conversations with them unless I have a question about the game. 

As you will soon learn, I had a very good time there. I think that I will stay in the Great Blue Heron Hotel during my next visit. The rates are fair, and the rooms are modern and come with all the comforts of home, including a big-screen TV, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a fridge. Guests also have free access to the hotel’s fitness centre.

The only restaurant in the casino is the Water’s Edge, but there is also a small snack bar near the main gaming floor. Water’s Edge is open daily between 8am and 11pm, except for Thursdays, when it’s open until 11:30pm. It is a cozy and casual establishment that serves a bit more than the standard pub fare alongside a variety of breakfast dishes. 

The casino doesn’t serve free alcoholic drinks, but you can enjoy free soft drinks, coffee, and tea at a drink station near the casino floor. You can smoke in a couple of designated smoking areas outside, but there is no smoking inside the facility. 

If you need cash, you can use a credit card or debit card at the cashier or use one of the ATMs. The entire complex is completely wheelchair accessible and adheres to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulations.

25K Sq. Ft Venue
20+ Live Tables
1 Entertainment Space
600+ Slot Machines
24/7 Always Open

Smoking: Smoking is only allowed in designated outdoor areas.

Venue Size: Great Blue Heron Casino has about 25,000 square feet of gaming space.

Food and Drinks: Guests can enjoy free soft drinks and coffee. There is a small snack bar and the Water’s Edge restaurant.

Accessibility: Great Blue Heron Casino is wheelchair accessible.

You have to keep in mind that Great Blue Heron Casino is a smaller local casino. It is not at all like those huge themed Vegas casinos. Its 25,000 square feet of gaming space should tell you that. Still, there is a lot more to it than initially meets the eye.

🎰 Games at Great Blue Heron Casino Ontario

Great Blue Heron is a smaller casino at just 25,000 square feet, but it has a lot of excitement packed into that tiny space. It all begins with over 600 slot machines that offer a full range of themes and features, including large progressive jackpots. 

I thought that the casino’s table gaming offerings were pretty good but far from ideal. While you won’t find too many niche games like Pai Gow and craps, you can play almost all popular games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and a variety of casino poker variants. If you want to spend your table gaming time in solitude, then Great Blue Heron Casino also offers several electronic table games. It's a little too much like the experience you get at the best online casinos for my tastes, but if you like that then you will love this. 

Even though I was excited to hit the poker tables for some Texas Hold ‘Em, I had to stop at the Great Canadian Sportsbook. Like the casino complex, the sportsbook is small, but it offers a lot of fun and excitement with the many big-screen televisions, betting odds trackers, and sports bar. You can place your bet at the betting window or use one of the self-service betting kiosks. I imagine that this sportsbook gets pretty busy during football season. Again, it is one of just four retail sportsbooks located in Canadian casinos, which is special.

During my visit, I spent most of my time in the poker room. It offers a mix of Omaha along with limit and no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em with stakes ranging from $1/$3 up to $20/$40. The chairs are comfy, the tables look new, and the room is nicely decorated with a Native theme. I was given a seat at the $1/$3 table right away, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead and reserve a seat as those waits can be long if it’s busy. 

Coincidentally, there was a $152,000 bad beat jackpot being offered at the time of my visit. Also, the poker room offers a pretty decent menu that includes burgers, sandwiches, and other pub fare, like a huge selection of local and international beers.

After about three hours of ups and downs at the poker table, I thought I’d try my luck at a few table games at Great Blue Heron Casino. I started with several hands of Let It Ride before moving onto the Mississippi Stud table. 

Most tables have a $15 minimum, but I managed to find a $10 blackjack table. That particular table was very sociable and upbeat, as a low-stakes table should be. The dealers were all professional, and the playing areas were spotless.

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

💰 Bonuses and Promotions at Great Blue Heron Casino

If you don’t have a Great Canadian Rewards card, you should get one at the reception booth as soon as you enter. You can also get one online. It’s free, and you will immediately receive up to $25 in free play credits. 

Membership gives you access to a variety of perks, including dining discounts, hotel discounts, pre-sale access to concert tickets, and invitations to exclusive members-only promotions.

This rewards program has five tiers, with each new level providing members with more generous perks and prizes. Every time you use your card to play casino games, eat at casino restaurants, or stay at participating hotels, you earn points that can be redeemed for free play credits. Even if you are just going once, it’s well worth taking two minutes to sign up and get that instant free play reward.

The casino also runs several promotions throughout the year. Many of them are draws that offer such things as luxury items, vacations, cash, and gift cards. Visitors can also participate in slot tournaments, although they are usually only offered during the peak season. 

🎇 My Great Blue Heron Casino Experience

You have to keep in mind that Great Blue Heron Casino is a smaller local casino. It is not at all like those huge themed Vegas casinos. Its 25,000 square feet of gaming space should tell you that. Still, there is a lot more to it than initially meets the eye. 

I thought that the Native theme looked great. The facility was very clean, including the gaming stations, the floor, and the washrooms. The casino is nicely laid out with the slots and gaming tables providing players with plenty of space to move around. 

Slot fanatics should be satisfied with the variety of games, while table gamers should be happy with the table game selection, although I would have liked to have seen a few more variants and other games like craps.

I really liked the poker room. The table I sat at had a few sharp regulars, but it was mostly recreational players. All of them were fun to play with, and the dealers and servers were superb. The biggest and most welcome surprise was the sportsbook. Yes, it’s small, but it has everything you’d expect, including a bar, multiple big screens, and self-service kiosks. This adds a whole new dimension to the casino experience.

Look, I have been to bigger casinos with more games and amenities, but I still thoroughly enjoyed my Great Blue Heron Casino experience. It easily exceeded my expectations.

⭐ Standout Moment

My standout moment was coming across the sportsbook. This is a rarity in the Canadian casino realm and I hope that it catches on. This would be a great place to bet on and watch your favourite sports teams after you’ve taken a spin on slot machines.

💭 My Verdict on Great Blue Heron Casino Ontario

In terms of the many local casinos I’ve been to over the years, Great Blue Heron Casino ranks among the best. I cannot stress enough that this is a local casino and not a large destination casino resort like you’d find in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Sure, it doesn’t have the biggest selection of slots and table games, but it has more than enough for its size. On top of that, it has a dedicated poker room and a Great Canadian Sportsbook. 

I would have liked to have access to a few more dining options, but the food was still good, and it wasn’t quite as expensive as it is at many other Ontario land-based casinos. I’m warming up to the idea of staying at the on-site hotel during the summer as it is connected to the casino and close to several awesome beaches and other attractions. That said, I wouldn’t think of visiting there for a few days without having a car. 

If you are in the Fort Perry area and you feel like playing a few casino games, then I recommend a visit to Great Blue Heron Casino. It isn’t Vegas, but it’s as close to it as you’ll get in Fort Perry and the surrounding area.

What I Liked and Didn't Like

Good selection of slots and table games
Poker room with Omaha and Texas Hold ‘Em
Great Canadian Sportsbook
Clean and safe
Free parking
Didn't Like
Limited dining options
Limited table gaming options
The casino is a little out of the way

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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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