Just across the highway from Sam’s Town are Resorts and Hollywood. There is not a lot of traffic on the highway at all and if you like to walk you could definitely walk across to get there to get your exercise. Resorts is a pretty neat place. They have a very open layout with high ceilings so that you feel like you can breathe. It is a single-floor casino with the buffet and steak house located on the 2nd floor and the hotel area attached off to the far right. Of all of the casinos in the Tunica area, I would say that Resorts does the best job of keeping their games up-to-date so that their customers always have something ‘fresh’ to keep them entertained. They have a good mix of game types and denominations. On the downside, they have this HIDEOUS raised stage right behind the main bar in the center of the casino and whoever is in charge of hiring the entertainment needs to reconsider their carer objectives. Not only do these bands belt out bad out-of-tune cover material, but the casino feels that it is necessary to pipe it through their main PA system, so THERE IS NO ESCAPING IT!!!
Resorts have their own loyalty card which is shared only with Ballys in Tunica, so this does not provide quite the value that the Harrah’s and B-Connect cards offer. Otherwise, the payout of the machines is OK and table rules are pretty standard. If you choose to play here, do it during the day before they kick into the live so-called entertainment.
Hollywood Casino is right next door to Resorts. It is constantly nighttime inside of Hollywood where they want to accent the lighting from the games. I don’t have too many good things to say about Hollywood other than they are the only casino in the Tunica area that has a self-serve soft drink fountain. You can play online casinos for US players and have the same emotions (check, for example, https://livecasinoguru.com/). The atmosphere is dismal, the games are tighter than at other casinos, and the loyalty card program is only good for their location. The bottom line is to go in and check it out just to say you were there, then get out before it’s too late!
Now we need to get in the car and drive over to the other group of three, the Sheraton, Gold Strike, and Horstshoe. The Sheraton (which was in the process of becoming THE ROADHOUSE) is probably the smallest of all the casinos in the Tunica area. They are a Harrah’s property, so you get all of the benefits that you would expect at any Harrah’s property. Other than that, there is not too much to say about it. I look forward to checking it out again after the conversion is complete.
The Horstshoe is also a Harrah’s property. The thing that stands out about the Horstshoe is that it feels like they have gone out of their way to make it feel a lot like the Horstshoe in Las Vegas…a timeless gambling joint that is trying not to change as hard as they can despite of themselves. You can tell by looking around at the players that they have a very small but very loyal customer base that they cater to. Unfortunately, this Horstshoe does not have the history and nostalgia that their Vegas counterpart has, so it just doesn’t work for me. NEXT!
The Gold Strike is an MGM GRAND property and is the definition of UPSCALE ELEGANCE. If you are the definitive high roller or someone that wants to be seen in the Tunica, MS area then this is the place to be. It’s a young crowd that puts more emphasis on drinking than gambling. Lots and lots of EYE CANDY on weekend evenings! This is where I want to play table games because there is always a lot of action, especially the craps table where some young ‘BETTY’ that doesn’t have a clue of what she is doing is going to roll a monster hand and everyone at the table ends up filling up their racks while she is waiting to hit her $5 line bet (-;
Next, we need to get in the car to drive to Ballys. It stands alone by itself which actually adds to the allure of the place. The white wooden railed fence around the parking area and the RED BARN decor of the exterior let you know that Ballys is going to be the definition of the OLD TOWN SALOON/GAMBLING HALL. You almost expect to see KENNY ROGERS greeting you at the door. The interior does not disappoint either. It is 100% country. If they could program the machines to say “Y’all Come Back’ after they take your money I’m sure they would.
Once again, Ballys works on the same loyalty card as Resorts so you can get 2x the bang for your buck. The surprising part is that the paybacks of the machines are not bad at all, and the dealers are all characters. It’s a good gambling experience and I look forward to coming back. The only thing I would warn against is the food…save your appetite for somewhere else.
Lastly, we have FITZGERALDS (or THE FITZ as they like to call themselves now). It also stands alone, but it is a totally different experience than Ballys. When you are driving down the winding road towards FITZ’s all-covered parking lot, you do under an arch that makes you feel like you are entering Disneyland. When you first catch a glimpse of the hotel/casino, it kind of reminds me more of THE EXCALIBUR than anything else. Entering the main casino, the player card booth is located just to your right. THE FITZ card is a ‘stand-alone’ program, so not a lot of value unless you concentrate all of your play in this one location. This is one of the larger casinos in the area, although in my opinion, they do not take good advantage of the space they are afforded. Most of their machines are outdated and the paybacks are moderate at best. There is a 1/2 floor casino upstairs with mostly penny slots and a handful of old COIN-OP Video Poker machines that pay 6/9!!! The most impressive thing about THE FITZ is the view of the Mississippi River from the window as you go up the escalator to the 2nd floor. Only from this vantage point can you really experience the massiveness of the OLD MAN RIVER in all of its glory. The other high point is the BUFFET. This is the BEST BUFFET is Tunica, hands down (sorry Paula Dean).
The Grand Casino Biloxi
Back on the strip before you get to the Isle of Capri on the end you will see GRAND CASINO on the north side of the street. It looks like Harrah’s had to retrofit their casino into their administrative building and hotel after the hurricane hit. With only 800 machines and 35 tables, that’s exactly what it feels like. This building was not originally designed to handle a casino, but they are doing the best that they can with the situation. As always the biggest plus going for this casino is that it is a Harrah’s property and all of the Harrah’s player club perks come along with it. This is by far the best loyalty system in the industry which makes even a mediocre casino more pleasurable. Kudos to Harrah’s for a good try here, but without the players club, this casino ranks towards the bottom of this market.
Palace Casino Resort
Across from THE ISLE on the bayside of the peninsula is THE PALACE. First off, I need to confess that we did not have enough time to give the Palace a thorough review. It was mostly a quick ‘in & out’ just to get a feel for the place, but my impression from looking at the casino and the clientele is that they are all about quality which is something that I truly appreciate (unless I am the one paying for that quality with smaller paybacks on the machines). I promise to spend a little more time in there the next time around to give you the skinny on the players club and the overall gambling experience.
More About Biloxi
Besides the casinos, Biloxi has always been a great resort destination in the south. The beautiful white sandy beaches along Highway 90 have easy public access. For golfers, Biloxi has a huge selection of public courses to choose from. The new Edgewater Mall located along Highway 90 between Biloxi and Gulfport has a wide array of shops and there is also a standing flea market along Highway 49 in Gulfport. Lots to see and lots to do. All said and done with, if gambling is your thing (which it is otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this) then Biloxi offers a lot of gambling excitement and I would recommend it in the non-summer months if gambling is your primary goal.