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Gaming Destinations Draw a Full House

Refreshing drinks, scrumptious food, can’t-miss shows and thrilling games — there’s nothing like a casino to entertain a crowd. Excellent gaming destinations of various sizes can be found throughout the U.S., and each location provides visitors with one-of-a-kind experiences. Here are five places you and your group need to explore.


Tunica, Mississippi

Tucked away in northwest Mississippi, Tunica is a gamer’s paradise where luck reigns and themes steal the spotlight.

“We have six casinos, and each one has a different theme,” said Mary Catherine Webb, sales manager for the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau. “You can come for a few days and check out the different properties.”

Venues include Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, a rustic space that takes visitors back in time; Fitz Casino Hotel, which offers an Irish flair; Hollywood Casino, which resembles a famous movie studio; Horseshoe Hotel and Casino, which celebrates gaming’s golden age; Gold Strike Casino Resort, which offers the “gold standard”; and 1st Jackpot Casino, which gives off a vintage 1800s Delta feel. Together, these locations provide a collection of slot and table games, beautiful hotel rooms, superb restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment, such as comedy and magic shows and live music.

“I think one of the top things that people enjoy most is the live music at the stage bars,” Webb said. “This is open to anyone in the casino, so you don’t have to pay extra for it, and they have live bands that come in and perform on the different stage bars.”

While known for its casinos, Tunica is full of attractions groups can visit. One is the Gateway to the Blues Visitors Center and Museum. Housed in an old train depot, this space is the perfect spot for groups to learn how Tunica influenced the blues genre. Another must-visit spot is a restaurant called The Hollywood Cafe.

“[It has] its own claim to fame,” Webb said. “They serve farm-raised catfish. They’re the home of the fried dill pickle. They were also mentioned in the song ‘Walking in Memphis.’ They have their own blues marker that’s on the Mississippi Blues Trail.”

 Reno, Nevada

Appropriately called “the biggest little city,” the spry community of Reno, Nevada, is packed to the brim with entertainment options and has long been known as a gaming region. Its collection of casinos offers sports betting, slot machines and classic games like blackjack, roulette, craps and poker.

A few fan favorites are Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, and “the Row,” which is made up of Eldorado, Circus Circus and Silver Legacy. Each of these venues provides visitors with plenty of games, spa amenities, bars, lounges and excellent dining.

A couple of restaurants worth checking out include Sky Terrace Oyster Bar, Purple Parrot (which is known for its American fare and breakfast food), Bimini Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Uno Más Street Tacos and Spirits, and Johnny Rockets, which serves up burgers, shakes and more.

While Reno’s casino offerings might resemble other destinations, this region is actually pretty unique. It’s less congested than most entertainment destinations, and its outdoor attractions allow people to customize their trip to their specific tastes. In addition to gaming, groups can spend their time hiking, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, boating, skiing, horseback riding and golfing, among other things.

“During the pandemic, there was a big shift. People were absolutely looking more for outdoor destinations — places that you could go and experience great entertainment and dining but also get out and get away from the larger crowds but still have that home base. Reno is perfect for that,” said Ben McDonald, director of communications for Reno Tahoe.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City — or, as it is sometimes called, A.C. — houses the second-largest casino destination in the U.S., though that makes up only part of its identity.

“We are actually a beach destination with gaming,” said Heather Colache, tourism director for Meet AC. “We have nine casinos — all of them are surrounded by water. Three are on the marina, and the rest are on the boardwalk looking at the Atlantic Ocean. That’s really what makes us stand out.”

These casinos include Bally’s, Caesars, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Tropicana, Harrah’s Resort, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, Resorts Casino Hotel, Golden Nugget and Ocean Casino Resort. Whether travelers are looking to take a seat at a high-stakes poker table or hoping to hit it big on the penny slots, these casinos are sure to provide the gaming experience they’re craving. Plus, overall, they host a calendar full of music and comedy shows and are home to spas, bars and a variety of restaurants. A few include Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, which serves seafood, burgers, ribs and more, Carmine’s Italian Restaurant, and Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill, a British-themed pub.

Outside the casinos, plenty of activities can be found in A.C., especially along the well-known Atlantic City Boardwalk. For example, the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall hosts concerts, car racing, rodeos, hockey and much more.

“There’s always something to do,” Colache said. “You have seven miles of boardwalk, which has unique stores, attractions, restaurants, beach bars. We have an open-container law, so you can stroll the boardwalk with cocktails. Who doesn’t want to do that in the summertime along the ocean?”

Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana

Found in northwest Louisiana, Shreveport-Bossier City has made a name for itself in the gaming world as a must-experience destination. Unlike similar locations, however, this region is far from hectic. In fact, one of its selling points is it offers quite the chill, relaxed atmosphere.

“You’ve got all the neon lights and the big casinos right in the downtown area but still more of that laid-back vibe,” said Jerrica Bennett, public relations/digital content manager for the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. “You’re not rushing to get somewhere, you don’t have to make a bunch of reservations in order to get into restaurants or anything like that, and so you can still kind of plan your trip as you go. I think it’s kind of that cross between the fun and excitement of gaming and the sort of laid-back style of our city.”

As far as casinos, the area boasts Margaritaville Resort Casino, Horseshoe, Louisiana Downs Racetrack and Casino, Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino, and Bally’s. Combined, these venues offer everything from live horseracing, sports betting and classic games to bars, lounges, eateries, spas and entertainment.

“Our hotels are constantly bringing in really great attractions and shows,” Bennett said. “It’s a good mix. They have live music venues, and Sam’s Town and Bally’s have some of these smaller live music venues that will play weekly.”

While in the area, groups can find much more than gaming. The region is home to the Shreveport Aquarium and a science museum called the Sci-Port Discovery Center, as well as a great arts scene and an eclectic combination of restaurants.

“We have Ghost Ramen, a late-night ramen shop that younger people would enjoy going to that only opens at 10 p.m. and stays open till like 6 a.m.,” Bennett said. “That’s one of my favorite places to go when I find myself out in the downtown area around that time.”

Ledyard/Montville, Connecticut

The Constitution State threw its hat in the gaming ring back in the 1990s, and since then, it hasn’t looked back. In just 15 minutes, groups can travel from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, which features seven casinos, to Mohegan Sun in Montville, which has two. Over the years, both have become top destinations for gaming, entertainment, shopping and dining.

At Foxwoods, groups can try their hands at a slew of games, as the resort offers over 3,500 slot machines and hundreds of table games, such as blackjack, roulette and mini baccarat. When not testing their luck, visitors can check out Foxwoods’ collection of restaurants, like Cedars, Steaks & Oysters and David Burke Prime, as well as its spa amenities, more than 80 shops, indoor racetrack, golf course and zipline, which Noelle Stevenson, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, says is the biggest in Connecticut.

Great fun can also be had at Mohegan Sun, where groups can explore plenty of classic table games and slots, not to mention an 11,000-square-foot space for sports betting, according to Stevenson. When not playing the odds, groups can explore Mohegan Sun’s numerous restaurants, such as Michael Jordan’s Steak House, TAO Asian Bistro and Lounge, and Todd English’s Tuscany, as well as its more than 30 shops. Plus, the resort’s 10,000-seat arena often hosts musical acts and sporting events.

Should groups have any downtime during their trip, Connecticut offers a wealth of activities outside of its casinos. Ledyard is home to the beautiful Maugle Sierra Vineyards, where groups can taste delicious reds and whites, as well as enjoy live music. Near Montville, groups can visit the Genius Museum, which features the development of American technology. Plus, the state is full of other cities and towns just waiting to be explored. A few groups might want to add Mystic and New Haven to their itineraries.