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Niagara Falls, ON Casinos

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Casino Hotels' started by TXactuarial, May 16, 2017.

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  1. TXactuarial

    TXactuarial High-Roller

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    I'll be staying at Casino Niagara on Saturday and want to know whatever there is to know. How is the casino gaming? Are the drinks free? Is it worth it to go check out Fallsview? How's that poutinerie behind the casino? What should someone who has never been to Canada experience there?
     
  2. hawki39

    hawki39 Low-Roller

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    My wife and I were there years ago....As I recall there were no free drinks....we did OK playing the slots and left small winners. Taking the tour "behind the falls" and doing the boat ride with the rain ponchos are both well worth it. WE enjoyed the touristy atmosphere and the laid back feel of the place. Getting the hop on hop off passes for the open air bus is a great way to see all the attractions.
     
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  3. Happygirl21

    Happygirl21 VIP Whale

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    I second the touristy Behind the Falls and the boat ride. There was a lovely garden not too far away and if I recall, when the kids where small we went to some miners thing along the river.

    If you like frightful scarey houses, visit Nightmares Fear Factory. I broke the soles of my shoes and ripped up my ex husband's pants, it was crazy! For a laugh visit their website www.nightmaresfearfactory.com .

    As for the casino, there was nothing significant that stands out. I have to say, it's been a while since I've been there.

    One thing, unless it's changed, avoid the diner show, Oh Canada Eh. It put the cheese in cheesy.

    Have a great time!
     
    My boy's 21st Birthday count down is on!
  4. notfromconcentrate

    notfromconcentrate Connoisseur of dive casinos and obnoxious outfits

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    Toronto resident here. Been to Niagara several times. Can answer your questions directly, and provide additional insights.

    First of all, you aren't going to be "staying at Casino Niagara", because there isn't a hotel attached to Casino Niagara. There are two casinos in the region. The major/swanky one is the Fallsview Hotel and Casino, which does have a hotel (and two more connected with direct access). There's also Casino Niagara - which is sort of the "low roller" joint. They're just a few minutes away from each other - but it is important to note this distinction, as you'll have a very different experience at both places. It is also important to consider the location of where you're staying, relative to where the casino is, in terms of back-and-forth logistics.

    Now, for your questions...

    - How is the casino gaming? Passable. You'll find some okay rules for blackjack, decent odds for craps, mostly double-zero roulette wheels, and a lot of carny games and baccarat. I don't play slots or VP, so I can't comment on how loose the slots are or how good the paytables are, but I'm sure there are some outside sources where you can discover this. Neither Fallsview or Casino Niagara is especially tourist-oriented. Niagara is seen as being sort of the gambling mecca of Ontario, catering mostly to locals (and, of course, the savvy Americans coming over to take advantage of their strong dollar and no W-2G forms/IRS reports). I'm much too accustomed to Fremont Street standards of gaming to be overly excited by much of anything in Niagara - but like I said, it's passable. I'd consider it to be on par with most of Atlantic City. That's the comparison I'd make.

    - Are the drinks free? Soft drinks and coffee/tea, yes. Alcoholic drinks, no. It's illegal to provide free drinks of any kind, anywhere in the province of Ontario. Waitresses will still come around offering drinks, but you'll have to pay for them when you get them. I honestly can't remember the last time I was in a Canadian casino and had a drink, so I can't tell you what they'd run you. With respect to buying your own booze, things work a bit differently here. You can't just buy beer/wine or even liquor at a grocery or corner store. The main place you'll buy alcohol is at a place called the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario), a government-owned retailer. The closest one to the casinos is at Ferry Street and Fallsview Blvd. If I were you and I was driving over the border, I'd bring some of your own. You can legally bring in up to 1.5 litres of wine, 1.14 litres of liquor, or 8.5 litres (24 355 ml cans/bottles) of beer/ale (per http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/atl-lat-eng.html).

    - Is it worth it to go check out Fallsview? If you're referring to the Fallsview Hotel and Casino resort, I would say yes, absolutely. The resort itself is pretty nice, I think. There's a nightclub inside called Dragonfly, quite a few cool restaurants, and like I said above, the casino is a bit more high end than Casino Niagara. If you're referring to some place in which you can check out a view of Niagara Falls - oh my gosh, yes. Truly a world wonder. Check it out both during the day and at night. If you'd like a really good view of it, try to get a table by the window at the Keg steakhouse inside of the Embassy Suites. Here's an idea of the view you'll get: http://www.guestserve.com/acimages/pics/1101286-2.jpg

    - How's that poutinerie behind the casino? Sadly, can't tell you. I have a rare allergy to potatoes, and don't know what poutine tastes like. But what I can tell you is that poutine is perhaps Canada's most iconic food item aside from bacon and maple syrup. So give it a go. I can also tell you that Smoke's Poutinerie is the best-known place for poutine, with several locations across the province. There's one on Victoria Ave, down the street from the LCBO.

    - What should someone who has never been to Canada experience there? To be honest with you, the only thing I have anything good to say about for the Niagara area is the falls. The area, unfortunately, has become a tourist trap, a lot like Paris or New York. It's absolutely plagued with corny and unimaginative attractions such as arcades, a wax museum, and "haunted houses". If you're looking for some unique Canadian experiences, try to go to a place like Boston Pizza during a hockey game, and you'll see what the Canadian hockey spirit is like. There's also some excellent wineries in a driving distance from the city. But honestly, most of the "attractions" you'll find in Niagara Falls are just an expensive way to kill time if you're bored.

    ---

    One other thing I should caution you of is this thing called the "tourism fee". It is standard practice for hotels and restaurants to add an arbitrary percentage (usually between 5% and 10%) to your bill as though it's a tax, when in fact, it is not. This is a highly disputed matter in the tourism world, because this is a fee levied by the businesses themselves, and not any tourism board or similar entity. To give you an idea of how this is applied, let's say you bought a pint of beer for $7.00. Your bill would look like this...

    Beer Pint $7.00

    Subtotal: $7.00
    Sales Tax 13%: $0.91
    TIF 5.9%: $0.41

    Total: $8.32

    Most people would just see the $8.32 total and pay it with a tip, not giving it a second thought. But this can add up on hotel stays or dinners that run into the hundreds of dollars.

    Unfortunately, they've gotten clever and have started adding "Tourism improvement fee of x% applies to all purchases" to the fine print of various things, so they can claim "it was advertised, therefore you agreed to pay it". Thus, you're unlikely to be able to get out of it with your hotel stay. But when dining in restaurants or going to bars, look out for this charge, and treat it like a scam, because that's basically what it is.

    ---

    Sorry for the lengthy reply. I hope this was insightful. Please feel free to ask any more questions and I'd be happy to provide insight as best I can. Looking forward to a nice Trip Report! :D
     
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  5. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    The exchange rate is $1.36 CDN for $1 USD, don't know the rate at the cage, but the slots don't accept US Currency. I agree that you should check out Fallsview, it's a little nicer than Casino Niagara. The buffet at Fallsview is $21 for dinner with a players card and it's pretty decent, some tables have a view of the falls.

    I've stayed at a Quality Inn across the street from Fallsview and it was actually pretty decent and in a great location. If you have time, there's Dillon's, a distillery about a half hour away, they have a Rye that I've been wanting to try. They also make a Gin that is a wee bit over the top with botanicals. Forty Creek distillery is also out that way.

    About 15 years ago we took the tour behind the falls and also went on The Maid of the Mist, it was fun. I always make a stop at the duty free on my return to the US, just know your prices. It seemed as if booze from the UK was the best deal, so I picked up some Plymouth Gin. I picked up some Cuban cigars for friends, but I had visions of Midnight Express when lined up for customs.

    But my only Canadian Poutine experience was at a Wendy's in the Calgary airport, it was pretty good. Oh, if you see pea meal bacon on the breakfast menu, give it a try.
     
  6. TXactuarial

    TXactuarial High-Roller

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    Thanks for the informative responses. Does anyone know where to get the best exchange rate? Is the rate at the cage at least reasonable?
     
  7. bobby jones

    bobby jones VIP Whale

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    Niagara resident. Not much to add to above comments. Fallsview casino definitely a must. Casino Niagara is more the locals joint.

    If you want to casino hop Seneca two minutes across the river is decent as well.

    In terms of restaurants, 21 club steak house is decent. I prefer ponte vechio for Italian. If weather is nice we like to go to outdoor lounge R5. They have a small bites menu. There is also a Brazilian restaurant braza with similar feel to Samba at mirage. For views the Hilton has watermark up top with great view of falls
     
  8. DBear

    DBear VIP Bear

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    Best view of the falls is Maid of the Mist! Boat trip to the base of the falls. I've been to niagara dozens of times but took me years before I went on the maid of the mist and it was sooo amazing. It's awe inspiring when you're at the base of the falls watching a 180 degree wall of water come thundering down.

    Casino Niagara has connected hotels but separate from the casino itself. I stayed at a crowne plaza that was connected. Lots of cheesy attractions, kinda like a midway carnival atmosphere but that's what makes the atmosphere. Fallsview is the newer classier joint but both are worth exploring. The midway type of attractions, can't remember the name of that street is just a block or so from casino Niagara but falls view is closer to the falls itself. Fun place, makes you feel like a kid again.
     
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  9. TXactuarial

    TXactuarial High-Roller

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    I should clarify, I'm staying at the Sheraton adjacent to the casino.
     
  10. DBear

    DBear VIP Bear

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    I can't speak to exchange rates at the cage but I would assume the best rates would be at your home bank. If you can, I'd try to exchange there before your trip.
     
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  11. DBear

    DBear VIP Bear

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    That's right on Clifton hill, the street with the fun houses and midway type of environment. Fun street, cheesy but fun. You can walk to falls view but is a mile or two.
     
  12. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    How is the casino gaming?

    Limits can be high on weekends, but with the exchange rate you may not notice. You'll be near the original casino, which has fewer on site amenities than Fallsview.


    Are the drinks free?

    Not the real ones.

    Is it worth it to go check out Fallsview?

    There are more dining options around Fallsview, including a couple Brazillian steakhouses. They also have a showroom, so you could see what act they have in. But in terms of the gambling, other than having a poker room, not that much extra to justify the trip.

    What should someone who has never been to Canada experience there?

    I guess I'll go with the Sundowner (strip club down Lundy's Lane). Somewhat different performance rules than you may be used to in the states.

    Other than that, it is a touristy area, so not a lot. Check out the falls. There are wineries nearby if you care. There is a half decent craft brewery on Clifton Hill. Good golf in the area.
     
  13. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Unless you're bringing a huge bankroll, it almost doesn't matter because you're going to either blow it all or win big so you'll re-convert back into USD at the same rate. I would call the cage and compare it to your bank rate before you take off. I use a credit card with no transaction fees for all purchases. The restaurant cashiers and most businesses accept US currency.

    It's a great tourist area and my folks took me to Canada several times as a kid, Niagara Falls, Expo '67 in Montreal and Nova Scotia in my teens. Went Cod fishing using hand lines and it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

    The US side of the falls is somewhat depressing compared to the Canadian side, but there is a NY state park off the Niagara river that's worthwhile.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
  14. TXactuarial

    TXactuarial High-Roller

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    I've never heard of a place exchanging currency back and forth at the same rate
     
  15. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    You're right, my bad, it was about a year ago since my visit where I lost a good chunk of my modest bankroll playing 5 cent STP VP. I have a couple of suppliers in Canada, so I'm cognizant of the exchange rate. All of my deals are in USD.

    I just called the casino and they are buying at $1.33 and selling at $1.40. So if you give them $100 USD, you'll get $133 CDN. So if you turn that $133 CDN back to the cage, you'll get $95 USD back. The rate can change at any time.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
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  16. Wonka

    Wonka Tourist

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    if you like dining.. my personal fave is the 21 noir restaurant in fallsview. they offer this chilled seafood platter which is fantastic, i get seated near the window everytime, so it's a nice view of the falls and i think weekend nights there is a fireworks show :)

    as for gambling, fallsview BJ, is mainly auto shoes on the main floor (occasional deck shoes). the HL room has all deck shoes starting at 100 min. slot selection is huge, so many to choose from.
     
  17. TXactuarial

    TXactuarial High-Roller

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    Wow that's a great rate. Thanks for the info
     
  18. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Rates could change by the hour, but the spread should be consistent.

    One of my colleagues from Toronto bought a house in Florida when the exchange rate was close to parity, and the real estate market was down. A few years later, he is up about 50% on the value of his property plus the appreciation of the US dollar relative to CDN, he made another 30%. Nice work if you can get it.
     
  19. TXactuarial

    TXactuarial High-Roller

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    Anyone ever tried to cross the border on foot while intoxicated?
     
  20. hawki39

    hawki39 Low-Roller

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    A question on the "Tourism improvement fee"? Aside from getting hooked into it on your hotel bill...Can you Legally refuse to pay it elsewhere? Can you dispute it Before you book the hotel room?
     
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