Academy of Country Music Announces Casino of the Year Nominees

The Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards has announced its nominees for “Country Music’s Party of the Year,” scheduled for next month on Thursday, May 11.

Academy of Country Music Awards casino theater arena
Luke Combs performs at the 2019 Country Music Awards in Nashville. The 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards has nominated 11 casinos for its “Casino of the Year — Theater” and “Casino of the Year — Arena” categories. (Image: Getty)

Among the list of nominees are 11 casinos that are finalists for two categories: “Casino of the Year — Theater” and “Casino of the Year — Arena.” The 58th edition of the ACM Awards will stream live exclusively on Amazon Prime from the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.

The ACMs left Las Vegas last year after hosting its annual awards shindig at Mandalay Bay since 2003.

Country music icons Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks are slated to cohost the 58th ACMs. And for the gaming industry, the focus of the star-studded gala will be learning which casinos come out on top as it relates to hosting country music concerts and festivals.

Along with the Country Music Awards, the ACM Awards are some of the most prestigious prizes in all of country music. But while the CMAs are fully fan-voted, only members of the ACM elect nominees and vote on the finalists. The ACM includes nearly 5,000 members.

The ACMs are headlined by the “Entertainer of the Year” category. Its 2023 nominees include Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, and Morgan Wallen.

Casino Categories

Another distinction between the CMAs and ACMs is that only the latter recognizes the importance that commercial and tribal casinos have on the country music industry.

The ACMs began honoring casino venues in 1998 with the introduction of the “Casino of the Year” category. The award for the 2013 show was split into categories based on venue capacity, with casino categories for small, medium, and large capacity venues being honored from 2013 through 2018.

For the 2019 show, the ACM again modified its casino recognitions to include “Theater” and “Arena” components. To qualify, a venue must host at least five country music concerts or dates a year.

The 2023 “Casino of the Year — Theater” class includes Deadwood Mountain Grand, Golden Nugget Lake Charles in Louisiana, Resorts World Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., and Soaring Eagle in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

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The 2023 “Casino of the Year — Arena” nominees include Ontario’s Fallsview Casino Resort, Harrah’s Council Bluffs in Iowa, Harveys Lake Tahoe in Nevada, Mystic Lake Casino Showroom in Prior Lake, Minn., North Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights, Wash., and Turning Stone Resort Casino in Upstate New York’s Verona.

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Previous Winners

MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was the casino arena of the year in 2019 and Mohegan Sun Arena took the honors in 2021. There was no awards ceremony in 2020 because of the pandemic.

As for the best casino theaters, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa won the award in 2019 and Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Okla., received the decoration for 2021.

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