River Rock Casino Vancouver Review for May 2024

Ziv Chen

Updated by

Ziv Chen


Michael Graham

Fact Checked by

Michael Graham

Content Editor

Last Updated on 1st May 2024, 01:54 PM


River Rock Casino Vancouver celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2024, so I thought there would be no better time to check out this BC casino. With two decades of experience providing bed, board and betting to tens of thousands of visitors, River Rock is one of Vancouver’s most popular gambling destinations. 

Not only is it famous as a standalone venue, but River Rock is one of 25 gaming facilities owned by Great Canadian Entertainment, Canada’s largest gambling corporation. As the proprietor of Canada’s biggest land-based casino - Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto, which is also one of Canada's brand new casinos - Great Canadian Entertainment knows a thing or two about catering to large crowds. 

Check out this in-depth River Rock Casino review for details on the casino itself and its dining options, atmosphere, accommodation, promotions, parking, location, and more. 

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♦️ An Overview of River Rock Casino

Depending on the size of your strides, River Rock is no longer than a 5-minute walk from the Bridgeport Station of the Canada Line SkyTrain. Located just a 20-minute train away from downtown Vancouver and a five-minute drive from Vancouver Airport, River Rock Casino is ideally situated for those looking for entertainment during a layover as well as a place to celebrate after a Canucks win at the Rogers Arena. 

The casino is large and spacious, fitting over 1,000 slots and 170+ live and electronic table games across several gaming floors. With no live music, there’s not much of an atmosphere within the casino, but a dedicated show theatre hosts music and entertainment events right next door. 

The resort contains a luxurious and modern 400-room hotel attached to the casino via the Sky Bridge. Each room comes with amenities like a hair dryer, bathrobe, coffee/tea and air conditioning, and there are accessible rooms available for wheelchair users. Just be aware that the hotel’s lone elevator is shared between guests and staff, so reaching your floor during room-cleaning hours may result in a lengthy wait. 

Mini fridges are available in every room, but no outside food or drinks are allowed inside. Instead, the hotel has an ongoing Bed & Breakfast package, which includes a luxury hotel stay and a $20 dining credit for breakfast at The Buffet. This is a family and pet-friendly hotel, meaning you may be awoken by thundering young feet charging towards the pool. 

For those looking to relax outside of the casino, a pool and fitness centre is open daily from 6am to 10pm. You can also unwind in the hotel’s spa, dine at The Buffet (the resort’s only restaurant outside of the casino), dip in the pool, and ride the nearby Skytrain downtown for just $4. 

Quick Info

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

✔️ free tea/coffee and soda

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

🛎️ Services and Facilities at River Rock Casino in Vancouver

Having over 70,000 square feet of resort space and 100+ live tables to man means that River Rock has a huge staff roster. Sometimes, these large venues lose that personal touch of customer service that boutique casinos are known for, but fortunately that’s not the case here. 

The dealers are highly knowledgeable, and almost all live tables are open at peak times. The staff of cleaners who rotate around the casino floor are friendly, and the customer service in the restaurants and bars is exemplary. 

As long as you treat the staff with respect, they’ll extend the same courtesy to you. I saw more than one guest being removed by security after yelling at the bartenders at R-Bar, the only dedicated bar space from which to buy alcoholic drinks (aside from the restaurants). 

Great Canadian Entertainment has imposed a two-ounce-per-hour limit on drinks at River Rock Casino despite not implementing the same limit across all of its other properties. The staff must impose this limit as per their job responsibilities, so remember not to shoot the messenger if you get cut off. 

River Rock Casino currently has four dining options: Sea Harbour (a Cantonese restaurant), Chopsticks Noodle House, Rock House Burgers & Fries, and Zio’s (a thin-crust, stone-oven pizza joint). The resort will soon open a Gordon Ramsay Steak restaurant - the first of its kind in Canada - though the exact date of its opening has not yet been confirmed. 

A large Starbucks is available for those with a sweet tooth who crave coffee and cake (though they charge a 2% fee on all card transactions).

ATMs are available around the entire venue, though be warned that each transaction will incur a fee. It’s best to withdraw your money in one large chunk rather than make several small withdrawals. The entire venue is wheelchair accessible, including the hotel rooms and bathrooms. 

70K Sq. Ft Venue
75 Live Tables
2 Entertainment Spaces
1.1K Slot Machines
24/7 Always Open

Venue size: River Rock Casino is over 70,000 square feet. While still a decent size, it’s not one of the biggest casinos in BC or even in Vancouver. However, it still manages to fit an impressive number of games inside while maintaining enough space between each table and machine not to feel cramped or overpacked. 

Smoking: Smoking indoors is prohibited, but dedicated smoking areas are outside the casino and hotel. Who’d want to smoke inside when you can have panoramic views of the Fraser River during your smoke break?

Food and drink: There are four restaurants (soon to be five) within the casino offering a range of cuisines, including dim sum, seafood, noodles, burgers, stone-baked pizza, fried dishes, steak and more. You can buy alcohol inside the venue, though there are no late-night bars and drinks are limited to 2 ounces per hour. 

Accessibility: Both the hotel and casino at River Rock are completely wheelchair accessible, with accessible rooms, elevators, and ramps.  

Accommodation: River Rock has a modern 400-room hotel attached to the casino by a Sky Bridge, with its own buffet-style restaurant, pool, hot tub and spa. It’s a five-minute drive in one direction to Vancouver Airport and a five-minute walk in the other to Bridgeport Station.

The dealers are highly knowledgeable, and almost all live tables are open at peak times. The staff of cleaners who rotate around the casino floor are friendly, and the customer service in the restaurants and bars is exemplary.

🎰 Games at River Rock Casino Vancouver

With over 1,100 machines to choose from, River Rock Casino boasts one of the largest slot collections in Vancouver. That may not sound a lot if you are used to the best online casinos, but it's plenty for a land based property. Bets range from a cent to a dollar, and there’s a separate slots room that houses BC’s most expansive selection of $1 slot machines. In this case, $1 is considered a ‘large’ bet, though many other casinos offer slots with denominations as high as $25 per spin.

High rollers may be disappointed here, but budget and casual bettors are well-catered for. River Rock has the most slots of any casino on the West Coast, the largest progressive jackpot network, and more Baccarat tables than any casino in North America. 

Like its slots, River Rock’s live dealer table games are budget-friendly, with entry from $5 upwards (or even just $1 if there are enough players at the table). Enjoy all the classic games plus exciting variants like Freebet Blackjack and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Like most land-based casinos, I noticed that roulette was by far the most popular game at River Rock. Despite this, the hours for roulette are restricted to just 11am to 2am daily. 

If slots, baccarat tables, and largest jackpots weren’t quite enough, you can also enjoy the greatest selection of electronic table games in British Columbia (104, to be precise). These stadium-style terminals allow you to bet on roulette, blackjack, and baccarat games simultaneously. 

An additional perk of River Rock Casino is that, unlike several other Canadian casinos, you can wager on horses. From 9am until the final race of the day, River Rock’s racebook is a lively and exciting way to diversify your gaming and watch the race unfold with an extra layer of suspense. 

River Rock has a dedicated poker room, though Texas Hold ’em is the only game available. Other poker games like Four Card Hold’em, Fortune Pai Gow and Texas Hold’em Bonus are available on the regular gaming floor. Poker tables are open 24 hours on the weekends, starting at 10am on Friday and ending at 4am on Monday. Weekday hours are from 11am to 4am. 

It’s not the largest space, so wait times for a table can be pretty long when you register in person. Luckily, you can enjoy slots and other table games nearby while you wait. If you know you’ll want to play poker during your trip, it’s worth contacting the Pit ahead of time and reserving a spot over the phone. 

Every Sunday, there is a Superstack poker tournament with up to sixty available spots. With a $200 buy-in, it’s aimed more toward seasoned poker players than bushy-tailed novices. A smaller buy-in of $100 is available every Wednesday night, though there are only 33 spaces up for grabs. 

Cash is king at River Rock Casino, but that does mean for quick payouts on winnings - certainly faster than even the best payout casinos online.

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

💰 Bonuses and Promotions at River Rock Casino

River Rock Casino is enrolled with Encore Rewards, British Columbia’s provincial loyalty program. Every dollar spent on slots/electronic tables and in a restaurant earns one point. 1,000 Encore points earn you $5 of freeplay. Essentially, you’ve got to spend $1,000 to earn five $1 bets. In my opinion, this is hardly rewarding. 

Unfortunately, the Great Canadian Rewards program prevalent at other GCE venues (including Great Canadian Casino Vancouver) do not extend to River Rock, so Encore is the only form of loyalty reward you get here. 

That said, there are a few one-off or monthly promotions that you can join in. Every Saturday night, there’s a Jackpot Bonus draw, where each hand pay jackpot earns you a ballot. However, you must have already won a jackpot to enter the draw, which defeats the point in my eyes. The only other promotions are a Run It Twice poker special (offered on No-Limit Texas Hold’em) and a free play bonus for Triple Diamond, Elite, and Prive members (basically all high-rollers).

Most Canadian casinos offer a Bad Beat progressive jackpot. River Rock not only offers its own local Bad Beat jackpot (which usually weighs in at a healthy five-figure sum), but it also has a Super Bad Beat network that pools together a portion of all poker bets at three other Great Canadian casinos: Casino Nanaimo, Elements Casino Victoria, and Great Canadian Casino Vancouver. Luck wasn’t on my side at River Rock, so I’m trying my hand at Elements next - wish me luck.

🎇 My River Rock Casino Experience

Residing just a 20-minute train ride from downtown Vancouver, I expected River Rock to be a lively venue full of pre- and post-night-out shenanigans. However, with no live music to entertain guests, just one lonely bar, and a very restrictive limit on alcoholic drinks, River Rock doesn’t exactly attract a younger crowd. Most casino attendees are guests at the hotel, usually chosen for its proximity to the airport and BC Ferries. 

The dining options are great, with a mix of upmarket and family-friendly vibes. Again, many of the restaurant guests are from the hotel (while its buffet options look tempting and delicious, the $50 price tag wasn’t quite enough to tempt me). I’m looking forward to trying the Gordon Ramsay Steak restaurant when it opens, though hopefully, he will leave his insults in the UK. Us Canadians are too nice to berate - right, Mr. Ramsay? (Please don’t call me an idiot sandwich). 

Those who do come to the casino who aren’t guests at the hotel or killing time during a layover are usually here for the poker tournaments. Since many people were waiting (some patiently and some not so much) to get into the poker room, the atmosphere could sometimes turn a little grumpy. However, those of us who were happily spinning the reels of our $1 slot machines were having a lovely time. With over 1,100 slot machines and 100+ EFTs, you’re spoilt for choice. 

The Show Theatre hosts a good selection of live music and one-off performances, though they’re not exactly chart-topping artists. If you have a taste for tribute bands, classical concerts or late-’60s rock bands, you’re in for a treat.

Conveniently situated within five minutes of both the airport and the SkyTrain, River Rock’s location can’t be faulted. Parking is ample and free, but be aware that the parking lot is also a five-minute walk from the resort. Nearby parking in the parkade is available, but this incurs a fee. I realized this too late and had to walk back to the parkade, move my car to the further lot, and then trek all the way back in again. 

Security is dotted around each area of the casino and at most entrances and exits, reassuring guests both in and around the casino that their safety is not at risk. The one bonus of the extreme drinks limit is that there aren’t any drunken guests swaying around or starting fights (if you manage to get drunk of 2 ounces an hour, you’re a serious lightweight). 

⭐ Standout Moment

A highlight for me was the River Rock Racebook. Aside from at other Great Canadian Entertainment venues, you rarely see racebooks at land-based casinos. I loved placing my bets and then watching the race unfold in real time, all while sipping on my hourly-permitted cocktail and enjoying some delicious bar snacks.


Head Downtown for a night out

Although River Rock is a nice casino, it is a little devoid of party atmopshere. If that's what you're after, head to Downtown Vancouver instead. It's incredibly easy. 

💭 My Verdict on River Rock Casino Vancouver

All in all, River Rock is an excellently located venue with a slightly underwhelming atmosphere but an awesome selection of games. If you’re here for the hotel, you can easily access all of Vancouver’s nearby attractions and amenities. 

If you’re here for the casino, you’re in luck, for it boasts one of Vancouver’s greatest collections of slots and table games. 

If you’re here for a raucous night out with lively vibes and a good social atmosphere, catch the SkyTrain back downtown and try again there. 

What I Liked and Didn't Like

Very convenient location near the airport and SkyTrain
One of the largest slot collections in Canada
Friendly casino staff
Wide range of cuisine options
River Rock Racebook
Didn't Like
Underwhelming atmosphere
Extreme limit on drinks

Licensing Authorities and Testing Agencies

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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