Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge Guide

The Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge is located on the Leelanau Peninsula, which is home to miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline. The casino is owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, a federally recognized Native American tribe in Northern Michigan. This tribe also owns and operates the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel in nearby Williamsburg.

This is a smaller casino than many Michigan resorts. It contains more than 350 slot machines and a small selection of table games. You will be able to enjoy live bingo games at Leelanau Sands. This casino has partnered with global gambling company William Hill for both its (live) sportsbook and online gambling. As well as the casino options, there is a 1,000-person capacity venue and a 50-room hotel at Leelanau.

This page features all of the information you’ll need to maximize the enjoyment from a visit to the Leelanau Sands Casino. You’ll find details of the casino games, sports betting, bingo and all of the rewards available to players below.

History of the Leelanau Sands Casino

Leelanau Sands Casino was one of the first casinos to open in Michigan, although originally it was a bingo palace. The casino is located in the Grand Traverse region, where you’ll find breathtaking bays and a large number of attractions, including hiking, biking, fishing and golf courses, as well as wineries, museums and sandy beaches.

The casino is owned and operated by Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, who are located 23 miles north of Traverse City, in Leelanau County. The tribe received its federal recognition in 1980. It was the first tribal group to do so under the conditions of the Tribal Federal Acknowledgement Process adopted by the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, in 1998.

Today, the casino features a rich mix of slots and other casino games. The announcement of a deal with William Hill in 2020 will see apps and websites allowing you to gamble online from anywhere within Michigan.

Slots at Leelanau Casino

In total you’ll find more than 350 casino slot machines at Leelanau Sands. The selection includes everything from three-reel slots with mechanical reels to the latest complex video slots with break-out bonus features. Progressive jackpots add to the excitement of many titles.

Here are some of the more popular games listed on the Leelanau Sands website:

  • Lightning Link: Look out for the distinctive cabinet where you can enjoy four games in one. Happy Lantern (Asian themed), Magic Pearl (underwater), Sahara Gold (desert) and High Stakes Las Vegas are all available. They share key “hold and spin” features and the linked progressive jackpot.
  • The Walking Dead II: Based on the popular TV show (seasons three and four), this game includes the features Michonne Attack, Reel Growth, Wild Horde, Governor Jackpot Bonus and Governor Free Games. The grand jackpot starts at $2,500.
  • Cash Wheel: This is a bonus-rich game, where the features just keep on coming. With the quick hit format in play, huge wins can happen at any time. You can also land three spins of the Cash Wheel. Land up to 12 free spins where all of the wins are doubled.

Progressive slots play a major role at the casino — games where a portion of every qualifying bet adds to the jackpot prizes. The in-house progressive prizes run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Different jackpots have different requirements. For example, you might have to spin them at maximum stakes to be eligible for the prize. It’s always good to check the rules first.

Table games

You can enjoy several of the most popular casino table games at Leelanau Sands Casino. Here is a look at the available games and the stake limits:

  • Blackjack: Stakes range between $5 and $200 per hand, although other table limits are available on request.
  • Craps: $3 minimum bet levels enable players of all bankroll levels to enjoy this lively dice-based game.
  • Roulette: Inside bets range from $1 to $25. Outside bets range from $1 to $500.
  • Three card poker: Stakes of between $5 and $100. You can also place a $1 side bet to have a chance at winning the progressive jackpot.

Euchre tournaments take place every Monday at 7 p.m. with an entry fee of $10, with 100% of the prize pool paid out. Bingo takes place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 5 p.m., and $15 will buy you a midweek bingo packet. The special bingo event on Sunday takes place at midday, and $20 will buy you a seat.

Sports betting at Leelanau Sands Casino

Leelanau Sands Casino has made a partnership with global sports betting giant William Hill. The deal will cover both retail sports betting at the casino and online sports betting. The deal has seen the setting up of a retail sportsbook at the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, and a satellite location at the Leelanau Sands Casino.

Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, has said that “Michigan will be a key state in William Hill’s US expansion due to its large population and deep-rooted sports culture with so many popular college and pro sports teams.”

Online gambling options

As part of the deal detailed above, William Hill is the official partner in all online gambling the casino supplies. This includes both sports betting and online casino gambling. William Hill is now the largest sports betting business in the US and brings its many decades of experience into the Great Lake State.

Leelanau Sands Casino rewards and promotions

New players at Leelanau Sands Casino can sign up for the Grand Rewards Players Club. You’ll start at the Sapphire level (the blue starter card). You then move through the levels. Ruby is next, followed by Emerald, Pinnacle and the top level, Onyx.

You’ll gain an immediate 10% off food and retail as a member of this rewards club, and further rewards await as you move through the levels, including:

  • Discounts on gas, hotel rooms, restaurants and more.
  • Pre-sales on concert tickets.
  • Invitation-only events.
  • A personal host.
  • 30-minute slot machine holds.
  • Complimentary VIP experiences.

As well as earning reward points at Leelanau Sands Casino and Lodge, you can use the same card at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa and the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel.

Alongside the rewards program, you’ll find a series of other benefits and bonuses. A Happy Birthday bonus can see you win multipliers and e-credits for that one special day every year. Beachin’ Wins is a promotion that can give you a chance to win a share of $50,000 in cash. Simply play at the casino on selected days, and you will be in with a chance of winning. Members of the casino who are 50 or older can enjoy seniors slot tournaments and win a share of $3,000 in e-credits in the Forever Young promotion.

Leelanau Sands Casino Hotel

The Lodge at Leelanau Sands Casino is a 50-room hotel, set high atop Leelanau Peninsula’s rolling hills. You can book standard rooms, bay-view rooms and the Suite. All rooms include Wi-Fi as standard, 37” LCD flat screen TVs, in-room coffee makers, air conditioning and in-room dining.

There is a free shuttle to and from the casino for all hotel patrons, and you can enjoy the outdoor deck with incredible views of the local scenery.

Dining options

Big Dex’s is the main eating option at the Leelanau Sands casino, open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy the monthly special, a burger, or a healthy meal from the soup and salad bar as well as grab-and-go items to eat on the move.

Head to the Leelanau Sands Casino website for local restaurant recommendations.


If you enjoy live music, the Leelanau Sands Casino Showroom is the perfect venue. This hosts up to 1,000 people for regular shows. Acts have included the rock and roll thrills of Daughtry, the magic of Criss Angel, Magic Mike XXL and regular acts like polka bands, Time Machine and Chico & The Other Band.

You will also find entertainment in the casino itself, with live performers playing on weekend nights.

How does Leelanau Sands Casino compare?

Leelanau Sands Casino is not one of the bigger casino resorts in Michigan. If you are looking for a site with thousands of games spread over thousands of square feet, this site might not be for you. However, if you like a friendly atmosphere, and a selection of quality, this casino and lodge might be ideal.

The slots range covers all the most popular titles from the biggest studios. Many feature progressive jackpots. Table games are varied, with all of the favorites featured — though lacking the full range of poker-themed and novel table games that you will find at the bigger venues. Bingo is a popular option, as are the new sports betting options open via the partnership with William Hill. With the rewards club, the picturesque locality, the hotel and more, Leelanau Casino could be the perfect retreat.

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