Believe it or not, Las Vegas is not the only city in the US that can provide you and your friends with a memorable gambling trip. While other places may not have the same reputation, or quite frankly the temptation, of Sin City, they can be plenty of fun nonetheless.
If you aren’t an experienced gambler, knowing exactly where to go can be difficult. It doesn’t help that with today’s relaxed gambling laws, you have more options than ever before.
In this article, I’ll lay out what you (and your group) should consider before planning a non-Vegas gambling trip.
1 – Choose the Location Wisely
Okay, this first one is pretty obvious. Without a location in mind, there really isn’t much of a trip.
The first question you should be asking when you and your buddies try to make a decision should be whether your destination is international or in the United States.
From the Caribbean, to South Africa, Macau, and more, there are plenty of places to choose from, all offering their own special perks. These foreign destinations will undoubtedly offer some sort of cultural experience. But the costs are going to be significant, and the trip will have to be more than just a weekend.
If you’re serious about gambling, have a deep bankroll, and want to take the trip of a lifetime, international is going to be the way to go. However, for this article, I’m going to focus more on the gambling sites at home in the US.
When it comes to non-Vegas locations within the US, the cultural aspect of a trip to Singapore might be lost, but there are other things to take into account. For example, are you and your group going to want to do other activities besides gambling such as golf? Or are you simply going to stick around the casino for the majority of the time?
When it comes to the question above, the good news is that most big casinos have golf courses (not all, though, so look before booking) attached, with means you won’t have to go far to spread the fun around. Additionally, not all courses are of the same quality, so if your trip is going to be equal parts gambling and golf, you might want to look at reviews on the quality of the golf courses there.
Some locations that have become extremely popular in the US over the past couple years are Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City
(of course Atlantic City was going to make the list), and Resort World Casino New York City in Queens.
All of the above offer unique experiences that are very different from each other, so do a little research before you decide which aspects of the trip you’ll value most. For example, some of the resorts are near major cities if you’re looking to hit the town, while others are out in their own territory, which could be perfect if you’re looking to get away.
2 – Itinerary
It’s not fun, and it may have annoyed you with your dad growing up, but the itinerary is a crucial part of the perfect gambling trip. It’s especially important when you aren’t going to Vegas, where the default plan is to bounce around as many casinos, clubs, and entertainment venues as possible.
As mentioned in the section above, the best US casino resorts are packed with activities. Aside from gambling, which will presumably take up a decent amount of your time, you’ll likely have access to golf, high-quality restaurants, entertaining shows, concerts, excursions off the resort, and much more.
Take it from someone who has been on plenty of trips that lacked a plan, you just don’t have the time to put it together last minute. A little bit of game-planning may very well be the difference between experiencing a number of different things and simply losing all your money between the bar and the blackjack table.
So, what would an example of a resort itinerary look like? Here’s one you could use if you’re planning on getting the most out of all the resort’s offerings:
- 8:00 am – Breakfast buffet (trust me on the breakfast buffet suggestions)
- 9:30 am – 18 holes on the course
- 1:30 pm – Lunch and relax
- 2:30 pm – Head to the casino for blackjack
- 4:30 pm – Drinks at the bar before dinner
- 6:00 pm – Dinner at the best restaurant on the resort
- 8:00 pm – Catch a show at the entertainment venue
- 10:00 pm – Back to the casino to close out the night
Obviously, that’s a full day, but you might as well take advantage of everything that is right at your fingertips when visiting a world-class resort!
The bottom line is that you can decide for yourself which activities you want to include on the list. The most important thing is simply that you have some kind of plan. It’s fine to keep it flexible depending on your mood.
3 – Decide Which Games You’re Going to Play
This one isn’t necessarily specific to the concept of a “non-Vegas” trip, but it’s still important to consider on any gambling getaway.
Similar to the need to have a plan for the day as a whole, you need to do some light preparation for your trip to the casino in and of itself. It doesn’t have to be extensive, but determine which games you’re going to focus on, establish your bankroll, and decide how long you’re going to play.
For many, real money blackjack is going to be the game of choice. For others, slots might take up most of the time on the casino floor. Either way, it’s important to do a little research beforehand to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest tips to give yourself the best chance to win.
It should be noted that although slots are some of the most popular attractions on the floor, they typically have some of the worst odds you’ll find. Check out this list to view a selection of some more favorable games.
In the end, the games you choose will likely be personal preference. Just know that some games are more likely to make you money (or result in fewer losses) than others.
4 – Comps
If you’re going to spend one afternoon at your local casino, comps probably aren’t going to be a huge thing you need to be thinking about. However, if you’re going to be spending an entire weekend (and potential more in the future), you should definitely research which places are the most generous.
At the lowest level, it might be a gaming card that gives you a free $20 credit when you sign up. At their most significant, comps might be awarded as free nights in a hotel room, discounts on dinner, and much more.
Each casino has its own specific criteria for what will help you qualify for certain comps. This means that if you’re after some of these coveted freebies, it can be beneficial to inquire on various websites, or even ask booking staff directly.
As you probably assume, the more you spend, the more likely you are to get rewarded. With that being said, there are plenty of things you can do to curry favor with the house and work toward getting comps without spending a fortune.
Just about every gambler is going to make the pilgrimage to Vegas at one time or another. Although it’s hard to beat, for those looking for a more laidback experience, there are plenty of options available that don’t come with the excess of Las Vegas.
No matter what you’re into, there’s likely to be a casino resort experience out there that can satisfy your idea of the perfect gambling trip.