Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

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Searching for a winning getaway? Why not test your luck at the casino, where you can always bet on a good time even if you don't hit the jackpot?

The Chinese peninsula of Macau may be the top gaming destination in the world these days, but Las Vegas proves that Americans still know how to put the "sin" in Sin City, and so do these other dice-rolling, light-flashing, slot-slinging destinations across the U.S.
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Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

Searching for a winning getaway? Why not test your luck at the casino, where you can always bet on a good time even if you don't hit the jackpot?

The Chinese peninsula of Macau may be the top gaming destination in the world these days, but Las Vegas proves that Americans still know how to put the "sin" in Sin City, and so do these other dice-rolling, light-flashing, slot-slinging destinations across the U.S.

Check out these gambling hot spots for glamour, games, and a good time close to home.

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

For better, and some might say for worse, since Missouri residents approved Proposition A in 2008, which repealed the $500 loss limit, casino culture is on the rise in this midwestern hub with about a dozen casinos in the downtown area. But this "Gateway to the West" city does indeed offer a taste of ritzy Las Vegas with the Lumiere Place complex, located riverfront near the Gateway Arch, that includes the Four Seasons Hotel and SLeeK restaurant by Hubert Keller, 2009 finalist in the BRAVO TV series, Top Chef Masters. The Harrah's St. Louis casino complex also has one-stop gaming, dining and entertainment options.

Saver Tip: Be sure to sign up for free for Harrah's Total Rewards, like a frequent flyer program for gamblers. You earn points with hotel stays and casino games that you or your family can redeem at any Harrah's property (which includes any Caesars and Bally's) at restaurants, shops, the golf course and even the spa.

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

It has been a hard last couple of years for Motor City, so you might consider supporting their economy by spending some vacation dollars in the heartland. Though Detroit proper has only three casinos, they are an interesting trio and surprisingly slick. The oldest casino in town, the Greektown is Native American-owned and is dedicated to helping the economy-they're offering a $100 slot play credit to anyone who has purchased a new American made automobile. The Greek also has a new modern hotel»a blue glass tower with stylish rooms and introductory rates of just $99. They were no doubt prompted to step things up with the arrival of the new kids on the block»the MGM Grand Detroit and the Motor City Casino, both have upwards of 400 hotel rooms with all the expected mod cons like flatscreen plasma tvs, deep soaking tubs and iPod docks (such nice accommodations that even people who don't want to gamble like to stay here) and at least three restaurants to choose from.

Saver Tip: Be sure to check out the hotel packages on offer at both Motor City Casino, that include resort credit towards spa treatments and meals, and the MGM Grand Detroit, that include $100 casino play credit.

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

It might surprise you to discover that the dozen casinos in "Chicagoland"»riverboat casinos that are spread out over parts of the Mississippi River in both Illinois and Indiana, make this gambling destination the third most popular in the US (after Atlantic City and Las Vegas) based on highest gaming revenues for 2008. Its more impressive when you consider that gaming was only made legal here in the early 1990's. Of course, these casinos aren't nearly as large or as slick as the Vegas-style ones, but there is a charming historic twist on this locale as the Mississippi River, where riverboat casinos dot the shoreline all the way up to Canada, is the official birthplace of American gambling.

Saver Tip: This is an advice on how to save time, which is money, right? Be aware that riverboat rules differ from state to state: while the Indiana casinos are actually closer to Chicago, they must sail, with cruise times of about an hour. Illinois riverboats meanwhile, aren't required to leave the dock.

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

Southern California may be best-known for celebrities, valley girls, surfers and the suburbs of the O.C., but the coastline all the way south to San Diego is lined with over 58 Native American Indian-owned casinos. Most of them have been built since 1987 when the US Supreme Court ruled that tribes could operate casinos in states that had not explicitly banned gambling, and there are a dozen more in development. But since two California-based World Champion Series of Poker winners»Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang, emerged, the image of California gambling has been dominated by poker»specifically, the game known as Texas Hold 'Em. Hollywood heavyweights have help inspired what seems like an unstoppable fever for Hold 'Em, with games in 90 poker rooms in the state. The So Cal hot spots, the Commerce, the Bicycle and the Hollywood Park casinos, are open 24/7 and funnily look a lot like fast food chain restaurants from the outside.

Saver Tip: Consider staying at the Venice on the Beach Hotel with weekly winter rates starting at $700. That way, you can devote yourself to the poker rooms in adjacent Marina del Rey, while your family lounges on the beach or takes advantage of shopping or the fun park at the nearby Santa Monica Pier.

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

What Niagara Falls has going for it is a certain kitsch factor. Maybe your parents even honeymooned there, and they dragged you to take a peek on a family vacation 20 years ago? Well, not much has changed on the US side of this family friendly natural wonder. There's just one casino, the Seneca Falls, owned by the Seneca tribe, which opened in 2002. But in what seems like a total role reversal, just drive across to the Canadian side (don't forget your passports!) to the colorful, carnival-like strip of wacky museums, arcades and fast food restaurants. There are two casinos on the Canadian side, the original Casino Niagara, and the Fallsview Casino, which is a Vegas-style resort complex where you can see headliners like Styx, Reba and Davy Jones of the Monkees (how's that for a flashback?).

Saver Tip: There are ten hotels on the Canadian side with stunning views of the falls, including the Marriott Niagara Falls, which has a special casino package with the Niagara Casino that includes $20 in chips, plus breakfast for two and an additional $75 dining credit.

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

Casinos on the beach anyone? If sitting in smoke-filled rooms under florescent lights is not your idea of a fun, imagine healthy days of tropical sun and surf, cultural sites and shopping along the historic cobblestone streets of old San Juan, followed by exciting nights in the casino. All that and more is on offer in Puerto Rico, the unofficial 51st state, and the third largest island in the Caribbean. European elegance and old-world charm are the hallmarks of the El San Juan Hotel & Casino, located on Isla Verde Beach (the South Beach of Puerto Rico). Alternately, the Mayaguez Resort & Casino in Rincon on the Northwest side of the island offers gaming at night close to the best surfing waves in the Caribbean.

Saver Tip: Book a room at the El San Juan online for big savings, with standard rooms this fall starting at just $149/night.

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

While Nawlins' has physically recovered from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, the economy down South could still use a boost. Luckily, the completely restored French Quarter provides lots of tempting restaurants, historic sites and shopping. And just a short walk from the French Quarter is the only casino in town, Harrah's New Orleans. Far from resting on its laurels, Harrah's is consistently praised for having spacious, modern hotel rooms and friendly service. You won't get the comps here you might expect in Las Vegas, but there's 115,000 square feet in the 24/7 casino with 10 varieties of table games (played on over 100 tables) and slot machines that range from penny slots to $500 a pop. There's also a nightclub and live music venue on property, but be sure to ask for a room not affected by noise from events.

Saver Tip: Book a room at Harrah's online at their Advance Purchase Rate and save 20% on already low prices.

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

When you think of preppy, moneyed Connecticut, gaming isn't what generally comes to mind. But the ambitions of both The Mohegan Sun and MGM Grand at Foxwoods have literally put Mashantucket on the map. For the past decade, The Mohegan Sun was miles ahead with artistic modern décor, including a Dale Chihuly glass waterfall sculpture erupting in the main lobby (it illustrates a story from tribe folklore), and Todd English's restaurant Tuscany, under a massive faux rock mountain. But not to be outdone, in 2008 Foxwoods casino (the two complexes are less than an hour drive apart) debuted a sexy new resort in partnership with the MGM Grand that includes Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak restaurant and a 50,000 square foot casino.

Saver Tip: Both the Mohegan Sun and MGM Grand at Foxwoods have state of the art concert venues where you can see music hitmakers like Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake, and legends like Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac, for cheap with no bad seats in the house.

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

The direct ACES train, new in February 2009, from NYC to Atlantic City, and the arrival of The Water Club, a 5-star non-gaming retreat with five swimming pools adjacent to the Borgata hotel and casino have certainly heralded a chic new era in Atlantic City. But the still slightly tacky boardwalk remains the heart and soul of this beachfront gaming town. Most of the action is at Ceasars Palace, which offers complete escape with the top-rated Qua Baths & Spa and the adjacent Pier Shops. You can take any jackpot money straight to Louis Vuitton, Gucci or the Apple Store, or dine in Stephen Starr's AC outlet of Buddakan.

Saver Tip: Even though the ACES train is the sexiest way to get to AC (if you're not being driven down in someone famous' limo, the Greyhound Bus Lucky Streak Casino Service (both take two and a half hours travel time) is still the best deal. Part of your ticket redeemable for $20 cash or casino credit (be sure to ask for specific details before you buy your ticket»not all casinos participate).

Top 10 Gambling Destinations in the US

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