Mardi Gras Casino & Resort has a little something for every type of gambler, with more than 90,000 feet of gaming space, four dining options, and one of the only 16 dog tracks racing greyhounds in the United States along with simulcasts of off-track horse and dog racing.
|Address:||1 Greyhound Dr, Cross Lanes, WV 25313|
|Horse race betting:||Yes|
Greyhound and horse racing
The 100-year history of dog racing has seen a decline in recent years as new ways to spend gambling entertainment dollars have become legal.
Even though the widespread availability of lotteries and the growing number of legal casinos has left 40 states without an operating dog track, the racing at Mardi Gras remains strong.
A full schedule of races is available five nights a week with a full slate of wagering options, including quinellas, trifectas, and the boxing of those bets (meaning selected dogs can finish in any order).
Officials at the Cross Lanes track recognize some of the national decline in dog racing is fueled by concern over dog safety and care, so they only employ top dog racing experts who know how to properly care for and meet the medical and nutritional needs of the dogs.
The track also finances an aggressive adoption program, making sure retired dogs are given a good home to live out the rest of their lives.
Along with the dogs, which are the live show, is a simulcast of horse and dog races from around the country. There are currently 24 different horse tracks and nine dog tracks that simulcast their races and on which you can place bets.
In accompaniment to the five days a week of in-person dog racing, there are seven full days of televised action, including the best dog racing, harness racing, and thoroughbred racing from coast-to-coast.
Other gaming options
As is the case with most dog tracks across the country, a full gaming facility comes as a package deal. The casino offers 900 slot machines and a full complement of table games like blackjack, roulette, craps, three-card poker, and criss cross poker, all spread out over 90,000 feet of gaming space.
They also host poker tournaments six nights a week at the casino, which features bounty tournaments, accumulator tournaments, turbo tournaments, and no-Limit hold ’em tournaments.
If entering a tournament isn’t for you, tables for hold ’em, pot-limit Omaha, Omaha hi-lo, and seven-card stud can also be found in their poker room.
Other resort amenities
Dining and drink options are plentiful inside the casino and resort. There is the French Quarter Restaurant and Bar, featuring steaks, seafood, cocktails, wine, and champagne.
The Grill at First Turn overlooks the race track, giving you the ability to eat, drink, bet, and win, all from the same seat at the table.
For lighter fare, quick bites can be found at Cafe Orleans and Crescent City.
The casino comes with six different bars scattered around the gaming area. There is also their featured bar and lounge – Louie’s. There, you will find live music on Friday and Saturday nights, a dance floor, and a full-service bar featuring specialty cocktails and a collection of craft beers.
To round out the Cross Lanes venue is its 150-room resort with its own full-service drinking establishment – the Jackson Square Bar.
Promotions and rewards
Like most other casinos in the region, Mardi Gras publishes a monthly calendar of upcoming promotions. They feature the $400,000 Cookin’ Up Casino Cash Giveaway, which is a once a week (but four times a day) drawing to give away a total of $400,000 a month.
There is Senior Tuesday, where guests 50 years old and over receive free valet parking and extra points on the Wheel Spin kiosk game.
Jump the Hump is naturally a Wednesday promotion where Players Club members receive 3x the entries for the Cookin’ Up Casino Cash Giveaway that week.
On Sundays, guests who earn 50 points or more will earn free plays on their favorite football-related slot machine, in a promo called Touchdown Playback.
Signing up to join the Players Club isn’t just free – it actually pays you. Immediately upon registration with a valid ID, new members are given $10 in Casino Cash. Provide a valid email address to receive a second $10 payment to your account.
Using your card at slot machines and rated table or poker games adds more points to your account, which can then be redeemed for food and drink, merchandise, and room nights at the resort.
Accumulate enough points, and you’ll begin to receive invitations to exclusive parties and events, receive personalized concierge service, and become eligible for members-only hotel rates.
The casino’s past and future
After more than 25 years of owning and operating the Mardi Gras Casino & Resort, Hartman & Tyner officially sold the casino in March 2018 following the death of one of its principle partners.
In a statement released by Hartman & Tyner regarding the sale, they said of the new ownership group, Delaware North, “We are proud of our history in West Virginia and have every confidence that Delaware North will use its experience and resources to continue Mardi Gras as a premier gaming resort destination.”
What that change in ownership will ultimately mean is still a work in progress. Delaware North does have resources at its disposal, and it appears to be using them to expand operations.
The 900 slot machines are getting a facelift, and older machines are replaced with newer models. Now that sports gaming is legal in West Virginia, the new ownership group is looking at adding a sportsbook to the offerings.
The more than 100-year-old Delaware North operates resorts and sports and entertainment venues in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, and it’s the owner and operator of Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in Wheeling, West Virginia.
With an annual revenue of $3.2 billion and more than 55,000 employees worldwide, it’s clear operations will be trending up in the coming years.
As Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said of Delaware North, “I think their ownership is the best possible outcome for the casino, its employees, and the county.”