As poker's popularity has soared over the last decade, thanks in large part to the exciting televised games broadcast every year from the World Series of Poker, the interest in casinos could not be greater. Attendance has skyrocketed in not just the big names of Las Vegas, but across the country. There are 23 states right now that house their own casinos, with more states continuing the push to legalize it and take advantage of this renewed popularity in one of the oldest forms of table-top entertainment.
For a taste of the diversity and a look at some of the best establishments in the country, we’ve gathered 10 of the most popular gambling cities in America for you to visit, if you’re ever in-town and looking to watch the cards fly.
We start with the grand-daddy of all gambling cities. The city of sin, the place where dreams are made and retirement funds are lost in the blink of an eye. Vegas is intentionally larger-than-life and at the same time encapsulating with its landmark replicas as billboards. The casinos are some of the best in the world. There is no such thing as an “off night” when it comes to finding action at the tables or slots. It’s the city the never sleeps, which can be off-putting for anyone arriving for their first time. Grab a friend and experience gambling in all of its glory.
Here you get a little bit of Las Vegas, a little bit of Jersey Shore, and lot of fun. AC is always expanding their operations as one of the top 3 casino cities in the country, often mentioned in the same breath as Reno and Vegas. This is where most gamblers on the East Coast get their first taste of the big league poker tournaments. AC is also a great place to go for some excellent seafood, which you aren’t going to find in the middle of the desert.
Reno has its own unique charm and blend of big city life with small-town comforts. It’s a proverbial melting pot of cultures and experiences just waiting to be explored. Come for the casinos, the food, the music, and the great nightlife. If you’re looking for a little country two-step to go with your hold’em, then Reno is just the place for you.
Just outside of Memphis, there’s a glitzy little city that has taken the gambling community by storm. Quietly building up its reputation, with ten casinos in operation, Tunica is now the third largest gambling city in the country. People have been coming every year to experience Vegas-style gambling with southern-style entertainment. A match made in heaven for poker cowboys like Doyle Brunson.
Illinois is home to ten different casinos, but they are all located offshore on riverboats. Unfortunately, casinos can only operate away from dry land, but fortunately they are all really nice and well-respected establishments. Don’t worry about getting seasick, you can save the nausea when you bust out with pocket Aces.
Despite the gray clouds that hang overhead the city of Detroit, and all of its poverty, it is home to some surprisingly great casinos. There are 4 in the Motor City, all within a short drive’s distance of each other. The experience within each one is a little different, but they are all operated and maintained with the same professionalism you would expect at your average high-end Vegas casino. The oldest casino, Greektown, is also a tribe-owned casino, who are active participants in the Detroit economy and community. So, as you can see, it is not all doom and gloom for the city that is faced with so much turmoil and strife.
Another great riverboat casino city on our list, Shreveport knows gambling, they’ve been doing it professionally since the 1840s. There are five riverboat casinos and the infamous Harrah’s Louisiana Downs for gamblers to get their fix. You won’t find a more welcoming and down-to-earth people than right in the heart of Louisiana.
You no longer have to travel across state lines to get an authentic Nevada-tiered gambling experience if you live in California. Palm Springs has quickly climbed up the ranks and established itself as one of the premier gambling cities of the country. They are now home to five world-class gambling resorts, offering all the pleasures of tanning, pool parties, and margaritas that you can take in Cali.
The new kid on the block for legalized gambling, Philly residents have finally gotten their real taste of the casino life, with the first building opening in 2007. Now, there are over 11 casinos open for business, with more on the way. The location is perfect and you can find a lot of popular tournaments being held here to attract players from all over the country.
The best kept secret of the Midwest, as some may call it, St. Louis is another city that is bound by state laws that grant access only to riverboat casinos, but they do a great job with what they have there. River city is a giant block party of gambling, with dance clubs, restaurants, and casinos at every turn. They don’t call it the Show-Me State for no reason!