I took my first trip to Potawatomi casino in Milwaukee this week – that makes Wisconsin my 10th gambling state if you are keeping score. I didn’t even know Milwaukee had a casino so I didn’t pack my cash which made the trip fairly benign from the start. It was late on a Tuesday night and between a long workday and lack of funds I figured a quick scouting trip was all I could handle.
Potawatomi is very conveniently located close to downtown Milwaukee which I believe is probably it’s biggest strength and weakness. The positive side is fairly obvious in that it doesn’t take a lot of travel time to get there if you are in Milwaukee for business. The negatives are more complicated and relative based on your point of view.
I hate to bash a place based on one short visit so I will caveat the rest of this post with the fact that it is based on only a 3 hour visit on a random Tuesday night in June.
The headline of this post is my primary recommendation to the owners – raise the table limits. I was fairly impressed with the sheer volume of table games available. There are four distinct areas in the casino with table games one of which is a small high-limit room and another small non-smoking area. The biggest issue I had was that none of the blackjack tables were above a $25 limit and many of them were $5 limits full of people you’d expect to see playing $5 blackjack in Milwaukee on a Tuesday night.
The high volume of low limit tables brings in a flood of low end players in track suits (and even a couple in their pajamas) smoking constantly and buying in with 15 bucks. They might as well buy a scratch off ticket, at least then there is a chance of winning. I’m all for people having fun gambling, but I don’t see myself walking into this place with a few grand in my pocket and feeling comfortable.
I’m sure the company knows their customers and what it takes to turn a profit, but there needs to be a way to attract both ends of the gaming spectrum. With the large floor plan and available tables even a change of layout could help. Moving the $5 limits to one of the larger open areas and reserving some portion of the floor for only higher limit games is a start. In fairness they seemed to try this in small doses, but the overall ratio of low to high end tables was so big that it didn’t make much of an impact.
I’ll be in Milwaukee for business on a fairly regular basis in the coming years so I’ll be sure to try another visit or two to Potawatomi and keep everyone posted on my experiences.