HIT THE I-40 CASINO TRAIL FOR VIDEO POKER EXCITEMENT

There was a time when it was an ordeal getting from where you live to a gambling casino. Unless you lived in the Las Vegas or Reno metro areas a trip to the casino required time, dedication and often a lot of driving. When I was growing up in Salt Lake City the nearby gambling destination of choice was the border town of Wendover, Nevada. There were around a half dozen casinos of varying quality in ‘Dover’ (there are 5 today) along with serviceable hotels, restaurants and similar amenities. The trip was an ordeal, however, since this was the barbaric days of 55 MPH speed limits meaning that what should have been a quick jaunt across the Bonneville Salt Flats on I-80 West a crawl at a snails pace. The good news is that the state of Utah has seen the error of its ways and the folly of the 55 MPH speed limit. Once you get outside of the Salt Lake City metro area the Utah speed limit is a generous 80 MPH meaning that the trip to Wendover that once took three hours now takes an hour and 45 minutes.

Things are different today and there is casino gambling all over the place. In some places it’s still a hassle to get to but it’s definitely more convenient than it was ‘back in the day’. Depending on the route you take, you can actually travel cross country and enjoy decent casino gambling for most of the way. In fact, we’re going to tell you just how to do that!

THE I-40 CASINO TRAIL–OKLAHOMA AND POINTS EAST

We’ll assume that you’re traveling East to West but if you’re heading in the other direction you can still enjoy these destinations, only in reverse order. Interstate 40 begins in Wilmington, North Carolina and continues West until you reach Barstow, California. The first part of the drive is through the ‘Bible Belt’ which offers little in the way of gaming opportunities. You’ll travel through Memphis, Tennessee and you can easily take a side trip 45 minutes South via Highway 61 to the casinos of Tunica, Mississippi. The town has experienced its share of ups and downs since gambling was legalized in the early 1990’s but there are still 8 casinos in Tunica proper with a few more in the surrounding area.

After a drive through the ‘buckle of the Bible Belt’ aka Arkansas you’ll reach Oklahoma and your gaming opportunies will expand significantly. You’ll pick up the trail of the original Route 66 around Oklahoma City but across the state you’ll find 14 casinos immediately adjacent to the highway and even more not far off the path. Oklahoma has around 70 casinos statewide offering slots, video poker, blackjack and poker. These properties vary in quality but since the market is very competitive they’re always trying to outdo each other or at least keep up with their rivals.

THE I-40 CASINO TRAIL–NEW MEXICO AND POINTS WEST

After crossing the Texas panhandle which is completely barren of casinos (the only Native American casino in the state is in Eagle Pass on the border with Mexico) you’ll hit New Mexico. Not only is the ‘Land of Enchantment’ one of the most beautiful states in the country with great indiginous cuisine it also has quite a bit of casino gambling. The Eastern half of the state is sparsely populated so the casinos are clustered around the Alburquerque and Santa Fe area along I-40 and I-25. You’ll find approximately a dozen casinos in this area with slots, video poker, table games and poker.

The fun continues in Arizona–with a large Native American population it’s becoming something of a gambling destination. There are well over two dozen casinos in the state though most are clustered around the Phoenix area. There are just two along the I-40 corridor–the Twin Arrows Resort near Flagstaff and the Spirit Mountain Casino near the Arizona/California border. Alternately, you can get off at Kingman, Arizona and head up to a town where you’ll have no trouble finding a casino or video poker games to play–that’s Las Vegas, Nevada two hours away.