Everyone should visit the casinos in Las Vegas at least once in their gambling careers. It’s a city unlike any other in my travel experience. But America has more to offer the casual gambling tourist than just Las Vegas.
There was a time when the Gulf Coast was America’s gambling mecca, and Las Vegas was almost an afterthought. Today, over 90% of all Americans live within a two-hour drive from a gaming venue. The only surprising statistic about US real money gambling is that land-based gambling is still illegal in some states.
Although Las Vegas is easy to get to, it can be expensive for most Americans. We want to be well-fed, entertained, and sleep in safe, comfortable accommodations. Nowadays, we also expect stylish venues, a variety of themes and architectural styles, and plentiful attractions.
Here are my top three choices for the best casinos outside of Las Vegas in the United States.
1 – Beau Rivage Resort and Casino
Located in Biloxi, Mississippi, the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino is the most famous and popular of modern Gulf Coast casinos. Travelers need to fly into Pensacola, FL, or New Orleans and take a car or bus along Interstate 10 to reach the casino. But I can assure you, it’s well worth the trip.
Among American travelers, the Beau Rivage is one of the top five gambling destinations. It has earned more five-star reviews on travel websites than nearly every other casino in the country.
MGM Resorts owns and operates the Beau Rivage, which was originally designed to be a Las Vegas hotel. Maybe that’s a major reason why the resort is so popular with travelers. You get a touch of Vegas outside of Vegas.
With 11 restaurants to choose from, you’ll never have to leave the Beau Rivage when you get hungry. You won’t be able to visit them all in a typical two-day stay unless you force yourself to do that.
Players can choose from baccarat, blackjack, craps, and roulette for table games and over 1,800 modern slot machine games. MGM Resorts customers will appreciate being able to use their M life Rewards cards and earn points within the system.
The casino offers a luxurious poker room, a high limit lounge, and hosts the Million Dollar Heater Poker Series. Guests can also download and play free mobile slot games on their smartphones to earn rewards, including room nights, meals, show tickets, and more.
2 – WinStar World Casino
Located in Thackerville, Oklahoma, the WinStar World Casino is probably the most famous non-Vegas casino in America. It’s the largest casino in the world and is located about an hour’s drive north of Dallas.
Because it’s located in the Great Plains, the WinStar casino has room to spread out and accommodate everyone. You can stay in an RV campground or in the resort’s luxurious hotel. If the main hotel is booked up or too expensive, you can stay at the Inn at WinStar.
WinStar boasts two fine dining restaurants, 10 casual dining restaurants, six fast food restaurants, and five bars and lounges. You won’t run out of things to do and places to visit while you’re there.
Travelers can also spend time shopping at five in-resort stores, including a gift shop, two boutiques, and a smoke shop. Guests can shop at the Isle at WinStar for casual items all hours of the day, seven days a week. You’ll almost never have to ask for directions to the nearest off-resort store.
One reason why WinStar is so popular with travelers is that it hosts big and small events like concerts, conventions and business meetings, weddings, and social events. You won’t spend much time wondering what there is to do in Oklahoma. You’ll wonder how to spend more time doing things there.
But what makes WinStar so famous in the world of gambling is the nine-plaza gaming experience. They cover a mile of gaming floor space, and WinStar claims to have more electronic and table games than any other casino in the world.
You’ll ask what’s so special about Las Vegas when Oklahoma has the WinStar World Casino. The resort offers everything, including an elegant poker room, the Lightning Link immersive gaming lounge, a bingo hall, off-track race betting, and thousands of slot machines.
The main gaming venues are designed around the Far East, New York, Paris, and Brazil.
In consumer reviews, WinStar is only slightly less popular than Beau Rivage.
3 – Harrah’s in New Orleans
The Harrah’s brand is legendary in the US casino industry. Harrah’s is part of Caesars Entertainment and that means top-value gaming and resort experiences for customers. Guests will appreciate being able to use their Caesar’s Rewards club cards, too.
New Orleans has a lot to offer casual visitors. The Crescent City is one of America’s top-rated tourist destinations and it has been featured in movies and TV shows around the world.
Harrah’s offers a modern gaming experience, including separate playing areas for smokers and non-smokers alike. But it wouldn’t be New Orleans if there wasn’t a twist on gaming.
The Hoodoo Party Pit livens up the table games with DJs on the weekend and voodoo-themed gaming. People aspiring to be the next James Bond can choose between mini-baccarat and midi-baccarat. Midi-baccarat allows players to touch the cards, just like in the movies.
Other table games at Harrah’s include pai gow, several styles of poker, craps, blackjack, and high card flush. The poker room is an elegant callback to the stylish riverboat era of Louisiana history, sitting just off to the side of the main casino. Players sit at up to 20 tables.
They accept call-in reservations for the poker room up to 30 minutes before you arrive. You’ll always know you have a seat when you get there. And if you love WSOP events, Harrah’s New Orleans is on the circuit.
The slot machine gaming at Harrah’s is top of the line. The casino offers over 1,500 games, including over 700 penny slots. Machines are spread out across more than 100,000 square feet of floor space.
Video poker enthusiasts will be overwhelmed by the more than 200 machines on the floor. You won’t be able to play them all in one visit.
Harrah’s boasts nine restaurants, including two upscale venues.
Beer lovers will want to dine at Gordon Biersch, famous for brewing their own beer.
There is always something going on in New Orleans, but Harrah’s has its own event schedule, too. There are game tournaments, art shows, and clubs. And the resort has an elegant meeting area for special events.
I wanted to write about the top 10 casinos outside Las Vegas but there was so much to say about these three that I knew it would take up too much of your time.
You could spend a lifetime visiting all of America’s casinos and only visit half of them at most. While local players enjoy having quiet venues to spend time in, it’s the grand resorts that we love to talk about. And that’s because they give us plenty to talk about.
May your gaming trips be fun, safe, and memorable! Enjoy gambling at any one of the three best US casinos outside of Las Vegas that we listed.