Top Places to Gamble in the U.S. That Aren’t Vegas

Image of Casino Interior, Exterior, and Horse Racing

So you live in Utah (a state where gambling is illegal in every way, shape, and form) and you want to take a trip to gamble in a well-known casino. Naturally, your first thought would be to take a trip down to Las Vegas. But let’s pretend Las Vegas suddenly disappeared. Where would you want to go to gamble instead?

I bet it would be difficult for you to come up with another suitable destination. Maybe you can’t come up with one at all. Don’t worry—the U.S. does have some alternatives to Vegas casinos, or if you just want to experience someplace new. Here are the top 7 places to gamble in the US that aren’t Vegas.

1- Winstar World Casino

This casino’s claim to fame is that it is the biggest casino in the world, and at 600,000 sq ft, it’s true. Located in Thackerville, Oklahoma, Winstar World Casino sits right in between 2 major cities.

It’s an hour south of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and an hour north of Dallas, Texas. You’ve probably never heard of Thackerville—let’s face it, there’s not much else there. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone say they’re going to Thackerville. They always say they’re going to Winstar.

Winstar World Casino Exterior and Pool

So what’s so great about this place, besides its large area?

Thackerville may not have entire casinos based off of other cities, but sections of Winstar World Casino are. Seeing a large New York City themed gaming plaza complete with its own miniature Statue of Liberty is pretty cool. And of course, a casino so large has to be filled with a ton of games.

This casino advertises 100 table games and 8,500 electronic games, which is the largest collection of electronic gambling games in the world. Winstar also attracts top entertainment. If you’re not there to gamble, maybe you can catch a show from Trevor Noah.

2- Shreveport, Louisiana

Fun fact about the 5 major casinos in Shreveport: they’re all on boats!

Technically, 3 of them are in Bossier City, but it’s right across the river. Before gambling was legalized on land in Louisiana, casinos had to be on boats. It was only in 2018 that the state allowed gambling on land.

Most casinos in the state still float and operate on the Red River. The main exception are Native American casinos.

So much effort wouldn’t have gone into keeping these businesses afloat (pun intended) if the entertainment value wouldn’t be worth it for the customers.

The casinos are pretty close together. So, you can hop from one to another with relative ease. Eldorado Resort Casino, Sam’s Town Casino, Diamond Jacks Casino, Boomtown, and Horseshoe Casino all have a variety of games. On top of the boat casinos, the city also offers Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. This is a casino on the land with horse racing, so you can also bet on horses.

You can find out more about Shreveport casinos and horse racing here.

3- Biloxi, Mississippi

This city on my list not only has great gambling locations, but it also has a beach, providing you with another option for relaxation. If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Biloxi, you’ll want to do it during the warmer months to take advantage of the beach. But regardless of whether or not you’re a beach goer, we’re here to talk about the casinos.

Some of the main casinos in Biloxi are Hard Rock Casino, Beau Rivage Casino, and Harrah’s, but the Mississippi Gulf Coast also has other casinos down the coast line in other nearby cities. If you don’t mind a short drive, you can also travel down the coast to visit Gulfport, Mississippi, which has a few more casino resorts.

Or if you cross the bridge north of Biloxi, you’ll end up in D’lberville, Mississippi, where the Scarlet Pearl casino is located. Biloxi might not be as walkable as other cities if you’re trying to hit each casino, but every one of these casinos is large, so you’ll find every game you want to play in Biloxi without trouble.

4- Reno, Nevada

This list mentions the top places worth gambling in that aren’t Vegas. While Reno is still in Nevada, it’s pretty far from Vegas (about a 7-hour drive). Reno is known as “The Biggest Little City in the World.” You’ll even see the title in neon lights on a sign called the Reno Arch as you make your way downtown. The area has plenty to offer for gamblers.

The casino resorts in Reno are huge and are mostly connected by being so close to each other in the downtown area. If you visit, you’ll want to check out Peppermill Casino, Atlantis Casino, and Silver Legacy for sure. Circus Circus also has a location in Reno. While not as impressive as the one in Vegas, it provides customers with plenty of games and circus acts for entertainment.

View of the City of Reno and Surrounding Mountains

Actually, as impressive as Reno casinos are, it’s hard to compare any of them to Vegas casinos, but that can be said about any city. At least in Reno, it’s easier to drive your own car, and you may want to if you want to take a break from gambling.

The city is also home to the National Bowling Stadium if you need to take some frustration from losing money out on some pins, and just an hour south is the beautiful Lake Tahoe, a great destination in the warmer weather.

5- Arizona

Not only does Arizona have some of the top casinos in the US, but all casinos in the state are owned by Native American Tribes. Many of the casinos are located in and around Phoenix, but you’ll still find some gems in lesser-known areas, so I won’t restrict this entry to just one city. But, the top rated casinos in the state is located in Flagstaff.

Flagstaff, Arizona is home to Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort. This casino has only 12 table games, but it has 1,100 gaming machines. Also, this casino has a security robot that patrols the parking lot to check on cars and make sure people aren’t somewhere the aren’t supposed to be. If you see a 400 lb droid rolling toward you, don’t worry, the robot overlords aren’t taking over… yet.

Flagstaff is a destination for any time of year. The mountainous region has plenty of hiking trails and outdoor activities in national parks and monuments for warmer weather, and it has skiing in the colder months.

Honestly, Arizona is one of my favorite places to visit because of how amazing the scenery is. The casinos are just the icing on top of what’s already a great place.

6- West Virginia

Country roads, take me home to the place where I belong. I surprised myself putting this on the list. Gambling is definitely not high on the list of things that I think of when I think about West Virginia, but some of the top casinos in the United States are in this state.

You’ve probably noticed, but I didn’t state a specific city for West Virginia. The main casinos are actually pretty spread out, so if you’re visiting West Virginia and you want to gamble, you’ll most likely want to pick an area far ahead of time and stick to it for a majority of your time there. Here are the main locations you need to know about.

Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack is located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It’s also actually on an island in the Ohio River. The area is beautiful, and the casino has 1,100 slot machines and Greyhound racing.

Wheeling Island Hotel Casino and Racetrack

If you head about 4 and a half hours south of Wheeling, you’ll find yourself in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. Nestled in the mountains, this city is home to Greenbrier Casino Resort. This casino has 35 table games and just over 300 gaming machines, so it’s not as big as other casinos mentioned. But it is a beautiful location with an interesting history.

This casino has hosted many US presidents and comes equipped with an emergency bunker for members of Congress available for tours. After you play some games, you can get a history lesson.

7- New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in the United States. It’s a city rich with culture and entertainment. You can go there to drink a grenade on Bourbon Street or have a beignet on the Mississippi River. And now, you can add gambling to your list of potential activities. New Orleans has 5 casinos, most of which are not too far from the French Quarter.

Harrah’s Casino is probably in the best location. It’s walking distance from the French Quarter, so I’m sure a lot of people end up there after Bourbon Street. This casino has over 100 table games and over 2000 machines, a nightclub, and they have plans to expand.

Harrah’s is the main attraction for gambling, but if you’re in the area, be sure to check out Boomtown and the race track if you’re into horse betting.

Conclusion

Unless you’ve lived near one of the places mentioned in this list, you probably would never think to go there for gambling. Hopefully, I’ve given you ideas for some future trips. These destinations will allow you to spice up your gambling life.

Have you been to one of these locations to gamble, or are you thinking about a trip now? Maybe you’ve been for something else. Leave a comment to let us know about your experiences and what you may be planning next.