The Graton Resort & Casino is just an hour north of San Francisco but would fit right in on The Las Vegas Strip. Nothing about the Graton says “traditional casino”: no dark and smoky rooms here, but over 3300 slot machines and 131 table vibrant table games surrounded by lights and 42 flat screens so you don’t miss any of the action.

But now the massive resort is getting even bigger, focusing on adding 10 big-name restaurants – including one led by pizza master Tony Gemignani. “You’ll see a lot of families coming to Graton just to eat,” says Greg Sarris, tribal chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

The resort’s spa is another big draw here, offering all kinds of pampering, including a hand and arm massage appropriately named “Slot Support.”
“Casinos have evolved to serve everyone, even people who don’t gamble,” explains Sarris. “We want everyone to feel welcome here.”

Players Will Benefit Too

Of course, things have improved for those coming over to gamble too. Slot machine manufacturers are working hard at producing machines that feel less like a gambling device and more like an interactive video game. “You’re seeing features like haptics built into the experience, 4D displays and some are branching into role-playing games,” says Kari Stout-Smith, Cache Creek’s general manager and chief operating officer.

The Cache Creek Casino Resort, located in nearby Brooks, is another casino keeping up with the changing times. They now have slot games with 4D displays and are soon opening a 4,500-square-foot pool complex and a 13,000-square-foot event center.

“This expansion is about continuing to diversify our offerings to include people who enjoy gambling as their primary form of entertainment, but also people who are casual gamblers or may not gamble at all but love to have a fabulous spa experience, steak dinner or glass of wine in the evening,” Stout-Smith says.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.