Nevada held the gambling monopoly in the United States for nearly half a century until Atlantic City came along in 1978. For another decade it was only Nevada or Atlantic City, but a boom in legalized gambling swept the nation in the 1990s and now almost every state either has casinos or is adjacent to a state that does.
You can choose a riverboat, a Native American reservation, a barge, the Boardwalk, or the Strip. If you’re connected to the Internet you can gamble in a virtual casino and never leave home.
Where is the best gaming? Every venue has obvious advantages and most have some not-so-obvious disadvantages.
It’s the big enchilada, the granddaddy, the city where gambling was defined. People come from all over the world to take their shot in this desert town. 1’he overall quality of the games and the gaming venues is unparalleled, but you must choose carefully. Las Vegas is also filled with a lot of bad deals and unfavorable contests.
Stiff competition results in bait-and-switch situations; a casino will advertise one special and then sock you on everything else, or they might advertise something that sounds great but isn’t. Does the video poker pay well? Don’t automatically assume the other games are as liberal.
Single deck blackjack doesn’t necessarily mean a lower house edge. Crapless craps, Double Exposure blackjack (all cards dealt face up), and Spanish 21 aren’t as favorable to the player as the traditional contests no matter what the advertising suggests.
On the other hand, some casinos offer baccarat with a four percent banker vig and video poker machines that pay back more than 100 percent. The loosest slots in the world can be found in Las Vegas. You can play world-class hold ’em at Binion’s Horseshoe or make world-class sports bets at the Mirage. Craps at Caesars Palace is a truly regal experience, and the keno there tops out at $300,000.