When Americans think of casino cities, they automatically think of Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. It only makes sense. Las Vegas has been THE gambling destination in the United States for over a century. Its proximity to Hollywood makes it a prime location for stars to make the trip to play a few hands of poker.

Las Vegas is the place to be seen. It has been since the days of the Rat Pack. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop all held court in the casinos of Sin City. Today, stars like Ben Affleck, Nicholas Cage, Jonah Hill, Shania Twain, Adam Sandler, and David Hasselhoff are all Las Vegas stalwarts.

 
Love him or hate him, the reason that Atlantic City got put on the map was the man who became the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. Trump’s real estate successes in the New York area led him to build casinos in Atlantic City. He looked to build ones that rivaled the biggest and best casinos in Las Vegas.

He also brought in entertainment to rival Las Vegas.  Boxing matches involving “Iron” Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, and George Foreman all took place in Atlantic City due to Trump. He brought WWE’s WrestleMania 4 and 5 to town. He also brought Aretha Franklin, Bon Jovi, the Jacksons, and Whitney Houston to the city.

Atlantic City’s advantage was the close proximity to New York City. It became the place to be seen for the rich and famous on the east coast of the United States. It wasn’t uncommon to see luminaries like Drew Barrymore, Nick Lachey, Jamie Lynn Sigler, and Jon Bon Jovi frequenting the establishments on and around the legendary Boardwalk.

 

But for all the hype these 2 cities get, they’re not the only places in the United States to gamble. In fact, 40 states and 2 territories currently have either commercial or Native American owned casino gambling available.  Most of the casinos outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City are priced more reasonably than their more famous counterparts.

14 – San Juan, Puerto Rico

One of the hidden gems in the world of casino gambling cities is San Juan. There are 5 casinos in the city (some are closed and still rebuilding after Hurricane Maria in September 2017). There are also another 11 casinos on the island all within 100 miles of each other.

Puerto Rico is a popular choice to vacation for gambling. One reason is that it is part of the United States, so citizens do not need a passport to travel to the island. Because of this, they use US currency, so people do not have to worry about exchange rates.

 

Another popular reason to travel to Puerto Rico is the beautiful beaches. There are almost 300 miles of coastline on the island and the beaches there are consistently ranked among the best in the world. Puerto Rico also offers features that other US locations can’t. For example, it’s the only place in the US to visit a tropical rainforest. It also has the world’s largest river cave system.

People also visit for the food and drink the island offers. Puerto Rican food is ingrained in the culture. Native dishes like tostones, mofongo, flan, arroz con pollo are staples on the island that every visitor should try.  And if you’re into alcohol, Puerto Rico is the home of Puerto Rican rum, and they invented the Pina Colada.

One of the more popular times to visit is in the winter, where the temperatures hover at a lovely 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  So when you’re tired of gambling, there’s a lot to do on the island. But the casinos are the major draw and have some of the best in class service of any casino resorts in the world.

 

13 – Deadwood, South Dakota

When people think of Deadwood, they think of the HBO TV series of the same name from the mid-2000s. They may also think of the early residents of the city such as Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, or Calamity Jane.

Deadwood casinos combine the latest gambling technology with the heritage of the city’s outlaw culture of the late 1800s.  Visitors to Deadwood can take part in a variety of activities beyond gambling. These include daily historical re-enactments, concerts, spas, and shopping plazas.

But the main reason to go to the city is for gambling. With over 20 casinos, Deadwood provides all the games you can think of:

  • Slot machines
  • Video poker
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Craps
  • Baccarat
  • Keno

They’re all available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  One of the unique things about Deadwood is that not all casinos offer the same games. This encourages visitors to “casino hop” to try all the different games and explore all that Deadwood has to offer.

12 – The Poconos, Pennsylvania

I watch a lot of classic television. I prefer shows from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. One popular theme in shows from this era is that the Poconos was a popular vacation destination–especially for honeymooners on the East Coast.

I recently watched the 3 episode finale of the classic police show from that era–Barney Miller. One of the characters, Inspector Frank Luger, gets married in these last few shows. His original idea for the honeymoon was the Poconos. In the final episode, he returns from the honeymoon to reveal that he actually went to Haiti.

 

The Poconos is known for its outdoor recreation. Visitors can take part in activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, and skiing. In the past decade, the Poconos has also been known for gambling. The area has 2 major casinos, one is owned by the Mohegan Indian Tribe and the other is a commercial casino.

Between the 2 casinos, there are over 3,600 slot machines, racetrack betting, and these table games:

  • Mini baccarat
  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Pai gow
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Texas hold ‘em

 
They also offer a great selection of restaurants including Wolfgang Puck’s and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

11 – Miami, Florida

Miami has a lot to offer: beautiful beaches, great food, a robust nightlife, and some hot casino action. Visitors to Miami casinos will find they can play at over 5,000 different slot machines and almost 100 different poker tables.

Along with that, gamblers can try their hand at over 30 other games and tournaments. These include games like blackjack, craps, roulette, jai alai, bingo, and baccarat. And when you’re done gambling, there is still a lot to do. The nightclubs in Miami are world famous. You can go to great clubs like the LIV where you can meet a lot of the celebrities that visit the area. Or you can go to 24/7, 13,500 square foot club E11EVEN. E11EVEN combines sports bar, a rave, a gentleman’s club, and a disco, all under the same roof.

 

Miami also has lots of nature-based attractions. You can visit places like the Miami Seaquarium or the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. When you’ve finished touring the attractions, the shopping in Miami can’t be beat. The best place in Miami to shop and people watch is the Lincoln Road Mall. It’s known as “the Fifth Avenue of the South”.

10 – Detroit, Michigan

One of the best-kept secrets of the Motor City is the gambling industry. Detroit has 3 major casinos in the city.

These are:

  • MGM Grand Detroit
  • Motor City Casino Hotel
  • Greektown/JACK Detroit Casino

Between the 3 venues, there are over 8,000 slot machines. They all also offer standard table games such as blackjack, Texas hold ‘em, craps, roulette, and baccarat. The MGM Grand Detroit also offers unique games like pai gow, 2-way monte, and criss cross poker.

Detroit offers some great venues for sports and entertainment such as Comerica Park, the Cobo Convention Center, Ford Field, Comerica Park, and the Renaissance Center. All these are centrally located and are a few miles from the MGM.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the 4th casino in the area. The city of Detroit is on the border of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Over the border, you can find the 100,000 square foot, Caesars Windsor.  The Caesar’s Windsor has some advantages over its Detroit counterparts. First, it allows sports betting. So far, this is illegal in Michigan (but it may be changed soon). Second, the American dollar has more spending power. In Canada, $1 US is worth $1.30 Canadian.

9 – Cripple Creek, Colorado

Located near Colorado Springs, Cripple Creek started as a mining town in the 1890s. In fact, one of the largest gold strikes in history was discovered in Cripple Creek.  Cripple Creek is one of only 3 places in Colorado that allow gambling. The town of 1,200 people contains 9 casinos.

Visitors to the city are mostly going to find slot and video poker machines. There are some table games, but not a lot. All said the town has:

  • Over 3,500 slot/video poker machines
  • 33 blackjack tables
  • 10 poker tables
  • 4 craps tables
  • 4 roulette tables

One of the unique features of the town is its desire to highlight its roots. When you are in Cripple Creek, you feel like you’re in a mining town from the late 1800s. That’s not to say that it’s not a town with modern amenities, because it has them.  But the mining theme is dominant in the town.

When you get tired of gambling, you can try the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad to several small ghost towns and gold mines. You can even tour a real gold mine with a real miner. Throughout the year, Cripple Creek features events such as the Cripple Creek Ice Festival, Donkey Derby Days, and a Gold Camp Christmas.

8 – Tunica, Mississippi

On the border of Tennessee and the Mississippi River, the town of Tunica has 9 casinos. These 9 casinos boast of over 10,000 slot and video poker machines and over 300 table games.  People from Tennessee and Georgia flock to Tunica as there are no casinos in either state.

Visitors to Tunica casinos can play a variety of table games. These include blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, several variants of poker, and electronic keno. Tunica offers tournaments to qualify for the World Series of Poker each year.

7 – Gulf Coast, Mississippi

Due south of Tunica is the Gulf of Mexico. A 30-mile span Gulf, Mississippi has 14 casinos. These start at Biloxi on the east and run to Bay St. Louis on the West. Much like their northern counterparts, you can find thousands of slot and video poker machines and hundreds of table games in the area.

Northern Floridians and Alabamans flock to the area to gamble and enjoy all the area had to offer. Most of the casinos have been rebuilt from the ground up after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The area, including the casinos, was devastated by the effects of the storms. But in the decade that followed, they rebuilt and grew.  Besides the games, the area is a popular summer beach area.

6 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia has a unique collection of casinos. In all, there are only 4 casinos in the city. A 5th is slated to open in 2020. Philadelphia is unique because of the types of casinos.

The city currently has:

  • 2 racetrack casinos
  • 1 stand-alone casino
  • 1 hotel and resort casino

The 5th casino that’s now under construction will be a hotel and resort. All 4 casinos offer slot and video poker machines as well as table games. Players can find games like craps, blackjack, roulette, poker, mini-baccarat, and pai-gow available at all 4 of these locations. Some locations also have games such as baccarat, big 6 wheel, Spanish 21, Sic-Bo, Mississippi stud, and casino war.

Philadelphia is rich in history and even served as the temporary capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. So when you want to take a break from gambling, you can visit sites like Independence Hall or the Liberty Bell.

 

You can also check out the music scene. Made famous by the show American Bandstand and showcased in the Rocky movies, Philly has a diverse and thriving music scene. You can even head over to the intersection of East Passyunk Avenue and South 9th Street and determine for yourself who had the better Philly Cheesesteak, Pat’s or Gino’s.

5 – New Orleans, Louisiana

There’s so much you can do in New Orleans. You can hang out of Bourbon Street. You can visit the French Quarter, or you can take in a Saints game.  But along with the New Orleans original cocktail, the hurricane, and the Café du Monde’s beignets you can gamble. Casinos in New Orleans have over 4,500 slot and video poker machines. They also have over 120 table games to choose from. These include blackjack, poker, roulette, baccarat, and craps.

There are 5 casinos operating in and around New Orleans.

They include:

  • Harrah’s Casino New Orleans
  • Carnival Club Casino
  • Cresent City Casino
  • Paradise Casino
  • Boomtown Casino & Hotel New Orleans

You can also bet on keno, off-track betting, horseracing, simulcasting, and racebooks.

4 – St. Louis, Missouri

The St. Louis area is a great place to visit. Usually, when I go there I first try to go to the Gateway Arch. There’s such a great view of the city from there. One of the other places I try to visit is the Budweiser Brewery. I love to see how the beer is made, taste the samples, and, of course, see the Clydesdales. The other thing I like to do is gamble.

There are 6 casinos in the area (not all in the actual city, but all within 25 miles). One is an actual riverboat casino (but doesn’t leave the dock anymore).

These 6 casinos have:

  • Over 8,000 slot/video poker machines
  • Over 250 table games
  • Popular games like Texas hold ‘em, craps, roulette and blackjack
  • Unique games like Cajun stud, and 4 card prime
  • One casino even offers an Asian gaming section

After gambling, you’ll always be able to find things to do. There’s a slew of restaurants, bars, and after-hours clubs to keep the party going all night long.

3 – Chicago, Illinois

Ok, so “Chicago casinos” is a bit of a misnomer since none are actually in the city of Chicago.  But 8 casinos are within an hour’s drive of Chicago. There are also many bars and restaurants that have video poker machines. Chicago is an amazing city to visit. There’s so much to do and see (although I would plan spring or autumn visits. Winter can be blustery cold and summer can be scorching hot).

I have 4 goals outside of gambling every time I visit Chicago:

  1. Eat an authentic Chicago hot dog with the nuclear green relish
  2. Have a wet Italian beef sandwich
  3. See the Cubs
  4. See the White Sox

As you can guess, I generally try to hit the city in April, May, or September to achieve all these. But the main reason for my visits is gambling.  I usually stay close to the city. So I either go to Horseshoe Hammond Casino in Hammond, Indiana or Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois. Both are less than 20 miles from the city.

But depending on the time of day you go, it can take up to 2 hours to get from either location into the heart of Chicago. The casinos in the area offer nearly 5,000 slot and video poker machines and several hundred table games. All the standard are available, so you can try your hand at poker, baccarat, and roulette.

2 – Reno, Nevada

Many times, I don’t like to go to Las Vegas. It’s in the desert and is usually too hot for my tastes.  But I like the feel of Vegas. I like the action. And the place where I can get some great Las Vegas-style action in a cooler climate is about 600 miles north in Reno.

Reno has some great restaurants, wonderful events like the Great Balloon Race, and fun activities like strolling along the Riverwalk. They also have my favorite outdoor activity, skiing. But Reno is known as a gambling town. They have 20 casinos. There are thousands of slot/video poker machines and several hundred table games. Aside from the weather, another thing that Reno casinos have that make them superior to Las Vegas casinos is better hospitality. As a Texan, I value friendliness, and Reno casino workers are friendly.

 

Also, there isn’t the feeling of being rushed and restricted in Las Vegas. It’s a casual atmosphere in all the venues. That’s why I keep going back.

1 – Connecticut

New Englanders flock to the 2 cities in Connecticut with casinos on a regular basis to gamble. That’s because until MGM Springfield opened in August 2018, there were no major casinos to play at.  There are 2 main casinos in Connecticut. These are the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino.

These casinos take up nearly 9.5 million square feet of space. They have over 12,000 slots and video poker machines and over 600 table games. These venues offer table games such as poker, punto banco baccarat, 6 and 8 deck blackjack, keno, bingo, craps, sic bo, and roulette (both European and American versions).

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Of the 2, Foxwoods is by far the larger (with 9 million square feet). They also are an entertainment mecca for concerts, boxing, MMA and professional wrestling. There are other gambling establishments in Connecticut. These focus on either horse racing, greyhound racing, jai alai, or charitable gaming venues.

Conclusion
As you can see there are plenty of places in the United States to gamble other than Las Vegas or Atlantic City.  Not only do these cities provide the same games that you can find in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, but they provide different experiences and outside activities that will enhance any vacation.

Also, many find these cities less expensive, allowing them to add more to their bankroll. And depending on the state, you may take home more money because of low or no state taxes.

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