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Firekeepers Casino

October 22, 2009

  • 11177 Michigan avenue E
  • Battle Creek, MI 49014
  • (269) 660-5722
  • Website

OK, so I’m doing this a little out-of-order.  I’m kind of a stickler about at least having one or two exterior pictures with my posts and I forgot my camera on Sunday, so I held off until my next trip back to East Lansing when I could hop off the highway real quick and snap a few shots. 

Anyway, a few years ago, my brother and I created a monster.  As a Christmas present, we decided to get my parents tickets to Las Vegas.  They had never really gone on a vacation other than the family trips we took in my youth.  We thought it’d be nice if they could get a way for a few days.  The Vegas trip has now become a twice a year thing for my mom and aunt and whenever my dad wants to do something special with my mom, he takes her to a casino. 

Let me preface by saying they’re not problem gamblers.  My mom comes with her money and she doesn’t care if she wins or loses.  It’s not about making money.  She just has fun gambling.  She has no ATM card or credit card to get more cash so when she’s out, she’s out, but she’s pretty good about stretching her money out for several hours.  It doesn’t bother her at all to play penny slots.  Like I said, it’s not about winning big.  She just enjoys the slots for some reason.

As a treat to my mom, we decided to head out to Firekeepers Casino in Battle Creek after we finished unloading the U-Haul.  I’m not a huge fan of casino’s and really, neither are my brother or dad, but we know it makes mom happy and she’s been itching to go to Firekeepers since she saw the sign erected and lit up last summer on her way to see us in Lansing. 

Firekeepers Casino is on Michigan Avenue outside of Battle Creek.  You get off the Interstate at exit 104 and follow the poorly erected signs.  As long as you’re aware the casino is east of the exit, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it. 

There is quite a bit of parking around the complex.  We chose to find a spot in the garage just because it would be a little easier.  We happened to park on the second level which has a walkway into the casino, so we didn’t have to go outside or ride an elevator.  There is an escalator once you get inside to take you down to the gaming floor.

Firekeepers is pretty nice space.  My family is from Illinois so they are really used to the old river boat casinos.  The Indian casinos in Michigan are a real treat.  The layout of Firekeepers is one huge, open gaming floor.  The riverboat casinos have multiple levels and everything is really cramped into the space.  While there are machines covering every possible inch of space, there are large  walkways and aisle’s.

The thing that still gets me about the Indian casinos is the lack of security.  As we were walking in, there was one uniformed security guy and no cameras or ID scanners.  The riverboats in Illinois have a turnstile that everyone has to go through.  At Firekeepers (and other Michigan casinos) you just walk in like it’s a shopping mall. 

That open space also makes the entrance feel less like a mall.  The restaurants are blended into the gaming floor and not “on land” before you enter the gaming area. 

J noticed, and was really impressed with the lights.  They were hanging lamps that slowly changed colors.  Everytime we looked up, the lights had changed.  J was really fascinated that the designers would take so much time and money for something as simple as lighting. 

My mom found a machine right away and my brother headed off to do his thing.  I have no idea where my dad went, but J and I sat down at a nickel machine.  Within five minutes, J turned $5 into $55.  We should have stopped there, but what’s the fun.  Ten minutes later, it was all gone. 

We walked around a little more before I finally saw a Wheel of Fortune machine.  I usually have decent luck, so I put in twenty bucks.  I got up $14 and cashed out.  My plan was to play only the $14 I just won somewhere else.

We walked around a little bit and found two rows of machines with absolutely no one playing.  Wierd, huh?  Not really, they were “no smoking machines.”  I loved it because my sinuses and eyes were really giving me a hard time from all the smoke.  I sat down at one thinking it was a penny machine, but it turned out to be a dollar.  I figured the hell with it.  If I actually hit, I can win some actual money.  Of course, I didn’t hit much of anything and the $14 was gone in a hurry.  Since the $20 was already in, I kept playing.  I lost it all.  No biggie.  It was only $20 and it killed sometime.

After that, we just sort of walked around waiting on the rest of my family and trying to locate everyone.  We never made it really far and didn’t even walk the whole floor.  It’s quite large. 

After an hour or so, my dad finally found us and we rounded everyone up.  My mom was pretty close to even.  My brother was done everything he brought with him and J and I were out maybe $30 between the two of us, but we didn’t go there needing to win.  It would have been nice, but we really just wanted to do something that we knew my mom would enjoy.

Firekeepers Casino is a really nice place.  I can’t stand the smoke which is a big reason J and I don’t go to casino’s more often. I think my mom liked it and if we still lived in Lansing, she would probably stop every time on her way home.  If she ever wants to go back, I’d be more than willing to go back, but it’s doubtful that J and I will go back on our own.  It’s just not our thing.

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