Gambling has been a part of American history for many centuries.
Despite being outlawed almost entirely in the country in the early and mid-20th century, it's a habit and activity to which the nation keeps returning.
As the century drew to a close and the millennia turned over, most states began to relax their strict gambling laws, and now you can get your betting fix in many places across the US.
Whether you're a big spender or just someone who enjoys the thrill of the odd risk and wager, you want a great experience when you're gambling. Maybe you enjoy playing slots, or perhaps you're more of a poker and blackjack person.
Regardless, some of the very best casino cities in the US are ones you may not have heard of! Here are the top 20 popular gambling cities in America.
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It's simply not possible to mention the biggest gambling cities in the US without talking about Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nicknamed Sin City and considered the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas is notorious for its lavish casinos and having the most AAA Five Diamond hotels out of any city on the planet.
Larger than life and lit with neon, Las Vegas mixes the tacky with the glamorous for a truly glitzy time. There are nightclubs, theaters, bars, and all sorts of establishments to heighten the nightlife experience.
There are hundreds of individual gaming facilities throughout the city, with a significant concentration of them in the Downtown district.
But, of course, the most famous gambling highlight in Las Vegas is the Las Vegas Strip, which stretches for just over four miles and contains some of the world's biggest hotels and casinos.
In the year 2019, a whopping 81% of all visitors to Las Vegas said that they spent time gambling here, gambling for an average of nearly three hours each time.
It's easy to see that Sin City is the place to be for those praying for Lady Luck! Visit the likes of MGM Grand, the Bellagio, and the Venetian, and keep your fingers crossed.
Accomodation: Where to stay in Las Vegas
Address: Las Vegas, NV
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Las Vegas
Atlantic City, also known simply as AC, is situated in New Jersey. Melding the nightlife of Las Vegas with the flare of Jersey Shore, this fun spot is among the best casino destinations in the US.
It's the prime destination for East Coast gamblers, drawing many to poker tournaments in the big leagues.
The city's history with gambling dates back to the roaring 20s when it was seen as a prime destination for nightlife and entertainment.
It's hard to think that Atlantic City once faced economic struggles in the middle of the 20th century. Luckily, it was revived following a referendum that legalized gambling in the state.
Now nicknamed America's Playground, the city boasts an impressive 13 world-class luxurious casinos. Visit the Golden Nugget, Caesars Atlantic City, and the Borgata to get your fill of gambling fun.
Accomodation: Where to stay in Atlantic City
Address: Atlantic City, NJ
Reno is one of the most popular and loved gambling cities in the US, mentioned in the same breath as Las Vegas.
Its charm comes from its unique combination of big-city nightlife with the comforts and quaintness of a small country town. Its nickname, The Biggest Little City in the World, is highly fitting.
Reno was the go-to spot for gambling activities until Las Vegas took the top place, but it's still among the country's best.
Originally little more than a railroad town, Reno's rise to fame came shortly after the roaring 20s, and it's continued to bring in tourists and betters ever since.
There are more than 20 renowned casinos in Reno. Check out the Eldorado, the Grand Sierra Resort, and Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, among many others.
People from all over the San Francisco Bay area have made this their gambling city of choice.
Accomodation: Where to stay in Reno
Address: Reno, NV
Tunica has become one of the biggest and best casino cities in the US, slowly and quietly rising in the background.
It has forged a reputation for glamorous casinos coupled with southern entertainment and hospitality.
There are 6 main casinos in the town proper and a delightful set of nightlife options for those looking to be up all night!
Tunica owes much of its economic growth to gambling and gambling establishments. It is even closely associated with certain casinos slightly outside of the bounds of its city due to its renown as a gambling town.
Gambling in Tunica, Mississippi, will make you feel like a southern cowboy. Visit the likes of the Gold Strike Casino Resort, Hollywood Casino, and Sam's Town Casino Resort for a true taste of Tunica's gaming scene.
Accomodation: Where to stay in Tunica
Address: Tunica, MS
Chicago is an unusual entry on this list because Illinois laws dictate that casinos cannot operate within the bounds of dry land at all.
Then, how does it manage to be one of the best places to gamble in the US, earning more than $2.5 billion in gambling revenue each year?
The secret lies in a surprising answer: riverboats! Chicago has several licensed riverboat venues specifically allocated to gambling. These establishments are pretty respected and make for a one-of-a-kind experience.
The city's early days were teeming with a thriving industry of casinos. It was the poor regulation of this industry that eventually led to the outlawing of gambling locally.
When the state realized that people were still gambling, but government bodies could no longer collect tax revenue, the statewide Riverboat Gambling Act was created in 1990.
Now, we have that act to thank for the unique experience of gambling in Chicago.
Accomodation: Where to stay in Chicago
Address: Chicago, IL
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Chicago
Detroit may have a reputation for being a little gloomy, and it's true that it only legally allows three casinos within city limits.
As such, it's no surprise that no one has declared it the best casino city in the USA. But, with that being said, it's managed to build a fun reputation for impressive gambling establishments, drawing tourists and locals alike.
The three casinos you'll find in Detroit are the renowned Motor City, a branch of the notorious MGM Grand, and the unique Greektown, which is the city's oldest.
Greektown is owned by Native Americans and is specifically focused on aiding the economy and participating in the community. No matter which establishment you visit, you'll be whisked away to a glamorous world!
Accomodation: Where to stay in Detroit
Address: Detroit, MI
Also Read: Best Things To Do in Detroit
Shreveport is another one of the US cities with casinos that are entirely located on the water in riverboats.
There are five riverboat casinos in the city and a few racinos close to the city limits that are perfect for gamblers seeking a good fix.
Shreveport, Louisiana, has been a big player in the gambling world since the 1840s, but it mixes some of that lofty reputation with the city's down-to-earth, welcoming personality.
If you'd rather gamble on dry land, you can head to the nearby Bossier City.
Accomodation: Where to stay in Shreveport
Address: Shreveport, LA
Palm Springs is a much-loved vacation destination famous for its beaches, spas, golf courses, resorts, and hot springs.
Its renown has also begun to extend to casinos and gambling in recent years. There are seven casinos across the city, five of which are gambling resorts renowned across the country.
Palm Springs is one of the best places to gamble in the US if you want to have your holiday filled with sun and surf while you're at it!
Check out notable casinos like the Agua Caliente, Spa Resort, Red Earth, and Morongo.
Most of these casinos offer many other ways to pamper yourself after a day spent betting and counting your winnings.
Accomodation: Where to stay in Palm Springs
Address: Palm Springs, CA
Philadelphia is a new player in the world of gambling cities in the US, finally opening its very first casino building back in 2007.
Today, famous gambling tournaments of many different games are held in this city, drawing players and betters from throughout America.
Though not the most famous hotspot for gambling, Philadelphia offers the regal luxury of big casinos mixed with a welcoming and bold environment. With a nickname like "The City of Brotherly Love", you know it'll be a good time.
Philadelphia boasts more than 11 different casinos, with plans for more to open. Sports betting is also up and coming, having just become legal in 2019 if that's something you're interested in.
Enjoy the likes of SugarHouse Casino downtown, Parx, which boasts the state's largest poker room, and the local iteration of Harrah's, among others.
Accomodation: Where to stay in Philadelphia
Address: Philadelphia, PA
Some consider St. Louis, Missouri, one of the Midwest's best-kept gambling secrets.
It's yet another one of the cities with casinos on riverboats and has managed to turn its limited allowances for the sport into an exciting and thrilling experience.
This Gateway to the West is filled with a unique culture that makes it a compelling destination for gamblers looking for a change from the usual flashiness of places like Reno and Vegas.
Most of the city's gambling activities are centered around the River City area, where you'll basically be thrust into a perpetual party.
There are casinos, nightclubs, eateries, and much more, making it clear why Missouri is called the Show-Me State.
There are just three main casinos in the city, but even just the Hollywood Casino is enough to draw guests from all over.
Accomodation: Where to stay in St. Louis
Address: St. Louis, MO
You've likely heard of the sun and surf of Fort Lauderdale, but did you know that it's also one of the prime gambling cities in the US?
As the sun sets on the coastal Venice of America, gaming establishments whirl to life, providing all sorts of opportunities to dine, dance, and gamble your way through a thrilling entertainment experience.
Even with its focus on nightlife for casinos, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers 24/7 gambling opportunities and has drawn people in from all across the region.
Casinos here come in all shapes and sizes. If you're looking for a charming experience, book a day on a casino cruise, which will ride you all the way on a day trip to the Bahamas.
On the international seas, your winnings are all yours, no income tax - so do with that information what you will!
Address: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Biloxi is nicknamed The Playground Of The South, and that's for a good reason! A whopping total of eight major casino hotels call Biloxi home, making it one of the top gambling destinations in the US where you can play 24/7.
The history of Biloxi, Mississippi's casino culture, dates all the way back to the 1940s when technically illegal but open gambling went on in Broadwater Beach Resort until the 1950s.
Despite gambling only being officially legalized in the state 25 or so years ago, Biloxi has more than made up for a lost time, becoming home to some of the most prominent groups of casinos outside of Las Vegas.
Once upon a time, Mississippi only boasted riverboat casinos, but Hurricane Katrina changed that and led to the creation of huge luxury casinos on land.
Check out Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Boomtown Casino, IP Casino Resort & Spa, Harrah's Gulf Coast, and more.
Address: Biloxi, MS
Deadwood is South Dakota's biggest gambling city, making it one of the worthy gambling cities in the US.
There aren't many spots in the state that allow gambling, which has further allowed Deadwood to rise in rank as one of the best in this region's industry.
The history of Deadwood's casino scene can be traced way back to 1885, two years before slot machines were even invented.
The city would become the first place, not including Nevada and Atlantic City, to legalize gambling, and the revenue earned from the industry has helped the city's development.
You can play 24/7 at Deadwood and even go sports betting if you prefer. There are lots of casinos to explore, and though they're smaller in scale than some other cities, they're plentiful and exciting as is!
Check out 777 Casino, the Bodega Casino, Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort, and Deadwood Mountain Grand Casino, among many others.
Address: Deadwood, SD
Foxwoods isn't actually a city; it is technically situated within the town of Ledyard, Connecticut.
It is famous for being one of the world's biggest single gambling locations, Foxwoods Casino Resort.
Owned by members of the Native American Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and spanning 345,000 square feet, this huge structure has had its fair share of ups and downs and has come out on top.
Foxwoods also has plenty of luxury amenities and entertainment options as a resort.
Each part of the complex is teeming with activities, so you'll never be lost wondering what to do when you're not at the tables.
It is, without a doubt, one of the best places to gamble in the US, even if it's not a city.
Address: Foxwoods, CT
Cripple Creek, Colorado, is a very historic location, and oddly, it has become one of the most loved gambling cities in the US.
Gambling was fully legalized in 1991, contributing to the settlement's rise in tourism that saved it from ghost town status.
Today, you'll see that casinos fill a lot of different historic structures in Cripple Creek.
The gambling industry here has helped the city revenue in its growth, and it's also aided the Colorado Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and its State Historical Fund.
Essentially, the little town has managed to take gambling and turn it into a force for good.
Address: Cripple Creek, CO
At the dawn of the 19th century, New Orleans - also called The Big Easy - became the nation's center for gambling.
Establishments transitioned to riverboat casinos along the Mississippi River later on before being able to return inland following Hurricane Katrina.
Racing bets, meanwhile, have been legal since the 1920s and continue to be very popular here today.
Now, New Orleans, Louisiana, boasts a total of five major established casinos, including an impressive racecourse casino that is the country's third oldest.
Check out Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots, Boomtown New Orleans, Harrah's New Orleans, Treasure Chest Casino, and more!
New Orleans is also a fantastic destination for tourists seeking historical attractions and other forms of fun, so your gambling holiday can be stretched out across numerous exciting days.
It's undoubtedly among the coolest places to gamble in the USA!
Address: New Orleans, LA
It's only natural that Los Angeles, California, winds up among notable gambling cities in the US.
The City of Angels may not have gambling as its main attraction, but its sheer size allows it to have a big hand in the world of gambling.
Throughout the city, you can find about 10 or so major casinos that attract locals and visitors alike. Visit Carnival Dream Casino, Commerce Casino and Hotel, Bicycle Casino, and more.
Of course, there are also many other things you can do in LA, so you'll be free to enjoy beaches, boulevards, shopping, and star-studded attractions when you're not betting. It's the Entertainment Capital Of The World, after all.
Do note that gambling laws in Los Angeles mean only card gambling is legal. You should also get used to hearing the sport referred to as "gaming" instead of "gambling" while you're in La-la-land.
Address: Los Angeles, CA
Council Bluffs, Iowa, maybe small and quiet, but don't underestimate it! It's actually one of the best casino towns in the USA, holding the country's 19th biggest casino market in the industry.
You can find the three major casinos of Council Bluffs on the aptly-named Casino Row. Here, you'll see Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs, the only one of the three with a poker room.
There are also Ameristar Casino Council Bluffs and Harrah's Council Bluffs. Two of these casinos are riverboat casinos, and though they're not as grand as some other places, they're all worth a visit.
Address: Council Bluffs, IA
Cincinnati, Ohio, has slowly risen to become one of the best casino cities in the US, moving to become a hotspot for gamblers and betters across the country over time.
Hard Rock International has been a major player in the city's industry for a while, as has Churchill Downs, meaning two big franchises in the market have already invested here.
Cincinnati boasts at least four major casinos, three racinos, and three horse tracks, as well as multiple lotteries and slot machines scattered throughout the metropolis.
As more gambling options are legalized across the country and in Ohio, it looks like Cincinnati is set to rise in the ranks even more.
Address: Cincinnati, OH
The Pocono Mountains, or the Poconos of Pennsylvania, are a series of forested valleys, hills, and lakes that span the north-eastern side of the state.
It's a big tourist hotspot, with multiple resorts and activities offered to guests, and in recent years it's become one of the unlikely but surprisingly fun gambling destinations in the US.
The main casino in the Poconos is the Mount Airy Casino, which boasts some of the latest slot machines and supports the most popular table games.
It contains 1,800 machines, 70 tables, and more across a 65,144 square-foot expanse.
No matter what you're into, the casino will likely be able to cater to you! It's also the first casino resort in the state to become an AAA Four Diamond Award recipient.
Address: The Poconos, PA
Gambling is a complex activity, requiring a weighing of risk and reward, wise decisions, and a little bit of luck.
It's associated with glitz and glamor but also with seediness and gloom. It's controversial for its pitfalls but renowned for its thrill and luxury.
All in all, it's a unique experience that many people enjoy for a multitude of reasons.
If you're someone who loves gambling and all that it entails, then visit the most popular gambling cities in America and experience all that they have to offer.
There's more to the country's gambling cities than just Vegas and Reno!