Elbow River Casino & Racetrack

The Elbow River Casino is in downtown Calgary, close to both the Stampede Grounds and Victoria Park train station. This casino was recently voted the “Best Place to Gamble” in a Fast Forward Weekly poll. The Vegas-style gambling options were noted by the panel. Elbow River Casino is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily. Entertainment and fine dining options are available to enjoy alongside the varied types of gambling.

There are more than 600 slot machines to choose from. This list includes popular games, including multiple progressive jackpot games. A poker room with 24/7 access focuses on Limit Hold ’em, Limit Omaha and Pot-Limit Omaha, with a series of high-hand jackpot prizes. You can also watch and bet on horse racing in an OTB (off-track betting) area.

On this page, you will find all the information you need to get the best from your visit to the Elbow River Casino. We detail the range of slots and the poker room, before looking at the OTB options. Details on promotions and rewards also appear below — alongside information on the entertainment and dining options.

The casino at Elbow River

The Elbow River Casino is located on 218 18 Ave. SE Calgary, Alberta. It is part of the “Red Mile” 17th Avenue Entertainment District. This casino operates within Alberta’s charitable gaming model, which leads to the company splitting the net proceeds with charitable organizations. These charities are obligated to reinvest their portion of casino proceeds into the Calgary community through worthy projects.

In addition, employees at the Elbow River Casino support one another and their communities through several efforts, including such initiatives as donations to food banks and gifts for families at Christmas.

Slots machines

In total there are more than 600 slots and gambling machines on the casino floor at Elbow River. The denominations start at just one penny. In the slot section, you will find multi-denominational machines as well as a series of video lottery terminals. These VLTs are separately operated by the province.

One of the most exciting aspects of the slots range is the potential to win progressive jackpots. Some of these are in-house, ensuring that the winner will come from within the Elbow River Casino. Others are province-wide, offering the chance to win the bigger prizes in the linked “wide area” pools.

Here is a rundown of all the progressive jackpots that you can win at Elbow River, with the starting (minimum) jackpot amount:

  • Alberta Gold: A progressive jackpot starting at $20,000.
  • Diamond Millions: With a progressive prize starting at $1 million, this is the biggest and most sought-after prize in Alberta.
  • Jackpot Junction (The Grand): The highest of the Jackpot Junction prizes, with the prize starting at $150,000 and a guaranteed payout before it reaches $250,000.
  • Jackpot Junction (The Special): This second Jackpot Junction progressive is guaranteed to be paid out by the time it reaches $100,000.
  • Jackpot Junction (The Express): The lowest of the Jackpot Junction prizes, this will be paid out before the total reaches $25,000.
  • American Original: The most accessible jackpot prize, with a jackpot amount that starts at $4,000.

Note that there is plenty of big win potential on slots that do not have progressive jackpots. Many have bonus features, multipliers and wild symbols — all giving you a shot at a big win.

Elbow River Casino poker room

The poker room at the casino is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be accessed via the door on the corner of 17 Avenue and Macleod Trail South. As you play you can enjoy the regularly scheduled complimentary food and beverages offered to poker players.

The poker room at the Elbow River Casino specializes in different games from those at most Canadian poker rooms. In most rooms, a large majority of the tables are No-Limit Texas Hold ’em. This room specializes in the following:

  • Limit Texas Hold ’em with limits of 4-8, 15-30 and 20-40.
  • Limit Omaha with limits of 4-8.
  • 1-2 Pot Limit Omaha.

However, if you do want to play another game format in the poker room, you can ask a member of staff, who will attempt to open a game for you.

Within the poker room, there are jackpot promotions. For example, if you play Limit Hold ’em and are dealt a royal flush, you will be paid an immediate $500. A straight flush pays $100. Land quads and you are entered into a weekly draw to win $500. When playing Limit Omaha, a royal flush pays $300 in cash and a straight flush enters you into the weekly $500 draw.

You can win double the above amounts if you are lucky enough to hit those hands between midday and 1 p.m., between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., or between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. — consider these to be poker “happy hours.”

Off-track betting at Elbow River Casino

With a large number of big screens and desk seating, the OTB options at the Elbow River Casino are some of the best in Alberta. The OTB site screens more races than anywhere else in Calgary. These are streamed in real-time from tracks in North America and internationally — giving you the opportunity to place bets on several horse racing formats.

Winner’s Edge loyalty program

The casino has recently signed up for the Winner’s Edge loyalty program. This is a province-wide program run by the Alberta government. Being province-wide, players can use the rewards earned at Elbow River at other Alberta casinos and, likewise, use points earned at other casinos at Elbow River.

Players will earn one point for every $1-$5 wagered on all electronic slot machines and table games. You can then redeem these points for either free play or for entry into members-only contests. You can also enjoy 10% discounts at restaurants at the casino.

You can sign up for the program by heading to guest services at the casino. Keep an eye on your current points level either online or by using one of the kiosks at the casino.

As part of the program, you can win a monthly $5,000 cash prize. The more you play, the more entries into the ballot you will receive. There are incentives for more ballot entries if you play on a Monday or a Tuesday. Other contests include chances to win holidays and cruises, or their cash equivalents.

Elbow River Casino events & entertainment

There are three main entertainment options at the casino:

  • Bayou Stage:  If you enjoy live music, you can dance the night away at the Bayou Stage. Head on down each Friday and Saturday night; the live music will begin at 9.30 p.m.
  • Sammy’s Sports Bar: This venue plays host to nine big-screen HDTVs, as well as two high-definition projectors to bring you the best in sporting activities. This is the perfect place to watch the Calgary Flames with other sports fans.
  • Yuk Yuk’s: This comedy club has been part of the Calgary culture for more than 35 years. With multiple shows every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, you will see the best comedians who are passing through Alberta.

Dining options at Elbow River Casino

There are three dining options at the casino:

  • Sammy’s Sports Bar: As well as the TVs and projector screens that you can see from the tables, you can also dine at the bar. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sammy’s offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
  • Jester’s Deli: Head to the deli for the perfect place to pick up a quick bite before you play. Snacks, sandwiches and hot bites such as crispy chicken wings, potato wedges and a two-piece chicken dinner all appear on the menu.
  • Jester’s Buffet: In the Jester’s Buffet you will find a wide selection of foods to keep you sustained while you play.

How does the Elbow River Casino compare?

The Elbow River Casino is a popular venue in Calgary. It caters to those heading downtown for fun, as well as the more serious players. Slots are always popular, and the range of progressive jackpots on offer certainly gives the casino an added buzz. There are million-dollar jackpots won on a regular basis — including province-wide progressives. The poker room is perfect for recreational poker players, specializing in limit games at a variety of stakes. With the Winner’s Edge loyalty program, you can earn as you play, and redeem those points both at Elbow River and at casinos elsewhere within Alberta.

With three entertainment venues, there is plenty to keep you occupied away from the slots and the poker tables. And if you want to enjoy a great range of food while watching the game, Sammy’s Sports Bar is a must. While there are no casino table games at Elbow River, you will find plenty to keep you entertained.

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