You know, they say “Don’t fall in love with a casino”, but I think that advice is significantly easier said than done. I have to say that I have my favorite casinos around the country. Granted, I’ve not yet been to Atlantic City or the Gulf region, but I am quite familiar with Las Vegas and with the mid-west region of casinos. I’ve visited a lot of casinos, some I loved, some I hated, some I was indifferent to.
Seven or eight years ago, you couldn’t keep me away from the Blue Chip casino in Michigan City, Indiana. I was done there (from Lansing, a 2.5 hour drive) every month like clock work. I loved the casino. It was a modest (read: smaller) sized riverboat but it had great games, great dealers and a great vibe. I just loved it. Then, it changed. The Blue Chip was sold and the parent company (Boyd Gaming) built a “newer, better boat” and it lost all its charm and character. Now I think of the Blue Chip casino as a sterile oversized room with no distinctive character.
The Imperial Palace is a run down dump, I know. But it was my first hotel-casino experience in Vegas. I was fresh out of law school and a newly licensed attorney and I wanted to experience Vegas for the first time on a state government employee salary (little did I know the place to be was Obama’s GSA). I went to one of the discount website to book my flight & hotel package, saw the IP was dirt cheap in the middle of the Strip and figured that was the place to be. For a cheap stay in a great location, I still stand by that philosophy. But the IP recently did away with its karaoke because of the changes coming from the Linq. They knocked down a hotel tower, and there are rumors circulating that the IP is going to be absorbed into the current Harrah’s hotel casino. It seems unlikely, but we do know that the name “Imperial Palace” is going away. Point is, for me, the one place on the Strip that was a dedicated karaoke location, every night, is gone. I now have zero reason to go back (which my wife is incredibly happy about).
Harrah’s Joliet is a place that I no longer care to visit, but that’s not entirely their fault. Yes, their video poker schedules are beyond terrible, but they do have a hotel connected to the casino so a 3.25 hour drive is eased by knowing I don’t have to make the trip back that night. But because it’s in Illinois, I can’t smoke my fine quality cigars there now. So, I go to the Horseshoe Hammond, which saves me 30-45 minutes AND allows me to enjoy high quality tobacco. However, the downside to the Horseshoe is, they don’t have a hotel at the complex and there’s no sign that it’s in the works. They do have some affiliate deal with a Ramada Inn (I think), but it’s not as easy to get a room because it’s not set-up through the Total Rewards. Point is: You have to call a Host to request a comped room and it’s not even on sight. It’s out in the ghetto (ever been to Hammond/Gary area of IN?) so no one wants to stay! That said, Joliet went down in my mind, but Hammond went up!
The point is: Casinos you love now, you may not over time. Casinos to which you’re indifferent (or hate) you may love over time. Don’t become wed to a casino because it will eventually break your heart.
What about you? Have any casinos you loved, now hate? Or hate, now love? I’d love for you to post your thoughts/experiences.