Nevada is obviously the first state that comes to mind when Americans consider casino gambling, but the Silver State’s neighbor Arizona is a natural second option. Here in my home state, we’ve got the same perpetual sunshine, plus an assortment of 25 tribally operated casinos all over the map. I’ve recently had the pleasure of posting a pair of review pages that’s cover the best reasons to visit each of Arizona’s casinos.
In case you missed the other entries in this series you can start with part one here, and then check out part two here, before bringing it back to finish things off with 10 more reasons why Arizona’s casinos are always worth a visit.
16 – Casino of the Sun in Tucson
This is Casino del Sol’s smaller forebearer, and one of Arizona’s first casinos ever erected (1994), but the place shows its age in more ways than one.
Since being replaced by Casino del Sol – which means “Casino of the Sun” in Spanish of course – in 2011, the original version tends to get short shrift.
With that said, budget-minded gamblers in the Tucson area will love the venue’s bargain basement pricing. Two bucks for a draft beer, a few more for a full meal, and the only $3 blackjack tables in the state… what’s not to love?
17 – Cocopah Resort Casino in Somerton
As the southernmost casino in the entire state, Cocopah Resort Casino brings visitors to the Yuma suburb of Somerton.
If you’ve never experienced Mexican cuisine served by the experts, you’re in for a treat. Between the bodegas and bars, planning a casino trip to Cocopah and then to San Luis is a great way to broaden your travel horizons.
18 – Desert Diamond Casino in Why
One of four Desert Diamond Casino venues in the state, the Why location is only a few minutes from the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
The federal government doesn’t assign National Monument status to just any old place, so you know this nature preserve must be spectacular. And indeed it is, thanks to its status as the only place in the U.S. to find freestanding organ pipe cacti scattered amidst the Sonoran Desert sands.
This massive flora grows to over 16 feet in height, providing visitors with scenery that has to be seen to be believed. You can hike, camp, or go horseback riding on a guided tour, so once you’ve won a few bucks at Desert Diamond, head out into the wilderness to see what Arizona is all about.
19 – Paradise Casino in Yuma
The second casino option for visitors to Yuma, along with Cocopah, the Paradise Casino offers a different selling point altogether – the Colorado River State Historic Park.
The park’s centerpiece is the Yuma Quartermaster Depot, which the U.S. Army used as a waystation through which to deliver supplies across territorial Arizona.
If you enjoy exploring unique casinos and are interested in America’s historical roots, Paradise Casino will surely live up to its name.
20 – Desert Diamond Casino in Sahuarita
Another of the Desert Diamond Casinos can be found in the tiny town of Sahuarita, which means “little saguaro” in Spanish.
Sahuarita is a few miles south of Tucson, so you won’t be too far from civilization, but this Desert Diamond’s big draw is a place where civilization almost ended. The Titan Missile Museum is housed in a converted Cold War missile silo where nuclear weaponry was aimed squarely at the Soviet Union.
The coolest part, by far, is that the Titan Missile Museum is built entirely underground. You’ll burrow deep beneath the Earth to see a genuine Titan missile, one which used to hold the awesome power to inflict atomic blasts on America’s enemies.
Thankfully, those days are long since over, but history buffs who grew up ducking for cover and sweating out the Cuban Missile Crisis will appreciate the museum’s dedication to preserving the past.
21 – Apache Sky Casino in Dudleyville
The Apache Sky Casino is located in the middle of nowhere – Dudleyville to be precise – but this humble gambling hall is still worth checking out.
The sister property to Apache Gold Casino in San Carlos, Apache Sky is best known for its bright pink façade and a killer food truck parked out front.
I know, those aren’t the most impressive amenities in Arizona, but sometimes gamblers have to contend with a middling hand and make something of it.
22 – Apache Gold Casino Resort in San Carlos
We’re nearing the end of the road here, both figuratively and literally, when it comes to Apache Gold Casino Resort.
San Carlos, Arizona is a far cry from the oceanside resort city of San Carlos, Mexico, so be prepared to make a long trek through the state’s eastward hinterlands. Apache Gold’s closest “landmark,” so to speak, is the city of Globe, an old copper mining boom town gone bust.
If you ever find yourself exploring the eastern edges of Arizona, take the time to grab a table at Apache Gold’s (locally) legendary eatery Apache Prime Steakhouse. This surprisingly affordable fine dining restaurant consistently garners 4- and 5-star reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor, and regulars swear it’s the best steak they’ve ever seen sizzled.
23 – Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale
Head westward from the heart of Phoenix and you’ll reach the farmlands of Glendale, where the fourth and final Desert Diamond Casino can be found. This one was opened in 2015, so it’s one of the newest places to play in the state.
When you’re here, it’s only a short 10-minute drive south to reach State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals. If you’re an NFL Sports Bettor and you’re in town on the weekend, there’s nothing better than heading from the blackjack tables to the stadium to watch your favorite team take the field.
24 – Bucky’s Casino in Prescott
You won’t find anything special at Bucky’s Casino in Prescott. The facility has become worn down over 25 years of use, and it’s best to steer clear of this place if ever-present clouds of cigarette smoke aren’t really your thing.
But if you somehow find yourself drawn to this rundown joint, its proximity to the Old Town Prescott historical district will give you a great place to drown your sorrows at the very least.
Old Town Prescott positively oozes history, thanks to 150 years of habitation by Arizona’s original territorial pioneers. The main draw in Old Town is the main drag known as “Whiskey Row,” where the rough and tumble saloons of old still echo in the eclectic dive bars to this day.
25 – Yavapai Casino in Prescott
This is the sister casino to Bucky’s, located just down the hill, and you’ll be forgiven for driving right by without ever noticing.
If you’re in the Prescott area, enjoy playing real money slots, and can’t stand the smoke at Bucky’s, head over to Yavapai to spin away in comfort.
That wraps up my three-part series on the best reasons to check out each and every one of Arizona’s 25 casinos. I had a blast taking readers on a tour of my home state, and I hope you’ll have a chance to head out West and see a few of these venues for yourself.
Every casino in Arizona has a distinct selling point, whether it be in-house amenities, surrounding scenery, affordability and value, or jackpot prizes up for grabs. For that reason, it’s always fun to meet gamblers from out of state who are just now discovering Arizona’s thriving casino scene.