Let it ride at Las Vegas' 10 best casinos
By Heather Turk
Las Vegas Local Expert
Las Vegas may be famous for its luxurious casinos, but not all of them were created equal. Offering bettors an array of atmospheres to gamble in and amenities to enjoy, the city's many casinos are as different from each other as the people inside them.
While one may assume that every casino in Las Vegas has their favorite game, that's not always the case. Some games, like bingo, can only be found at certain casinos, like Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa.
Others may assume that the city's best casinos are only found on the Strip. That statement couldn't be further from the truth, as there are several casinos in town worth venturing off-Strip for. In fact, two of the city's coolest casinos can be found downtown. The D Las Vegas features one of the only two-level casinos in the city, complete with a vintage casino upstairs, while Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino offers guests an industrial chic setting to gamble in as well as a sports book with a walk-up window.
Of course, there's no denying that the Strip is home to some of the world's best casinos, including our No. 1 pick, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. With its floor-to-ceiling glass walls and striking interior design, The Cosmopolitan may be one of the Strip's newer casinos, but it's quickly become a winner in gamblers' eyes.
For more on these and other worthwhile places to "let it ride," check out our list of Las Vegas' 10 best casinos.
10 Tropicana Las Vegas
Tropicana Las Vegas has survived the era of implosions, when many older Strip hotels went down in spectacular piles of debris. Instead of getting blown up, the Tropicana received a face lift in 2010 in order to keep up appearances. Having undergone a $200 million transformation, its new South Beach theme is well done, giving the casino a bright, airy feeling. Featuring 50,000 square feet of gaming excitement, offerings include more than 800 slot machines, a rich variety of table games including craps, roulette, Let It Ride, Big Six, Pai Gow poker and Texas Hold'em, and a high limit area with five blackjack tables and two mini-baccarat tables. There's also a state-of-the-art race and sports book operated by Cantor Gaming that has its own mobile wagering system, so guests to place their bets on the go in the resort's bars, lounges and casino. (702-739-2222)
9 Aria Resort & Casino
The sleek and sophisticated casino at ARIA features more than 150,000 square feet of gaming space, including 1,940 slot machines and 145 table games. Gamblers can test their luck at blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette, Let it Ride, Pai Gow and Ultimate Texas Hold'em, among numerous other games. A popular spot with poker players, the casino at ARIA has a luxurious 24-table poker room including 'The Ivey Room'--a one-table, high-limit room. Tournaments are offered twice daily. It also boasts an intimate race and sports book that can show up to 200 live events at once and has two 220-inch TVs, so bettors are never in danger of missing any of the action! (702-590-7111)
8 Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
Downtown Las Vegas' newest hotel is home to one of the most striking casinos in town. Offering 25,000 square feet of gaming space with nearly 600 new slot machines and 30 table games, the casino at Downtown Grand is truly unlike any other. The industrial chic interior features open ceilings and heavy structural elements juxtaposed with ornate fixtures, chandeliers and canopies, so guests feel like they're gambling inside a stylish factory. It's also home to The Spread Sportsbook, which includes a walk-up window where passersby can conveniently place their bets. Other features include a Grand High Limit area and the richly appointed 888 Baccarat room, featuring baccarat and Pai Gow. (702-719-5100)
7 M Resort Spa Casino
The beautiful casino just south of the Las Vegas Strip boasts one of the most eye-catching environments to play a game. Offering more than 92,000 square feet of gaming, the casino features more than 1,800 slot machines, 64 table games and its own high-limit area. It was also the first casino in the U.S. to offer In-Running Betting at its state-of-the-art race and sports book: wagering on a live sporting event throughout the event in addition to traditional pre-event wagering. Additionally, guests can wager on a game on their personal Android devices or a palm-sized device called eDeck, available at the race and sports book counter. (702-797-1000)
6 Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa
This beautiful casino, inspired by the natural beauty of the neighboring Red Rock mountains, is one of the few casinos in Las Vegas that both locals and tourists frequent. Boasting 3,000 slot/video poker machines and 60 table games including blackjack, baccarat, craps, poker and roulette, the casino at Red Rock Resort is sure to have everyone's favorite game; there's even a 600-seat bingo hall with separate smoking and non-smoking sections and a 20-seat keno lounge. Non-smokers can also enjoy a game of poker in Red Rock Resort's 20-table smoke-free poker room, open 24 hours. For high rollers, a private high-limit room is available, and there's a 206-seat race and sports book with a 96-foot video wall for sports fans to catch and bet on all of the latest games. (702-797-7777, 866-767-7773)
5 MGM Grand Hotel & Casino
A gambler's mecca, MGM Grand boasts more than 170,000 square feet of gaming space. Gaming enthusiasts will find everything they're looking for under one (massive) roof, including more than 2,500 slot and video poker machines. Table games run the gamut from blackjack to craps, roulette to War. For those who want to play a game of poker away from all the cigarette smoke, the casino at MGM Grand even features a 23-table non-smoking poker room. For sports fans, the casino at MGM Grand is home to one of the most luxurious sports and race books in town, with more than 150 seats and four exclusive skyboxes. Want to wager on racing of a different kind? Then check out the Sigma Derby machine located by the buffet. (702-891-1111)
4 The Venetian
The Venetian instantly transports guests to Venice with its stunning architecture, providing bettors with one of the more memorable gambling environments on the Vegas Strip. Combined with its sister property, The Palazzo, The Venetian offers 237 table games in six separate gaming areas covering more than 33,000 square feet. Gaming options include blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, Pai Gow poker, Pai Gow tiles and 26 various novelty games. For guests who prefer playing the one-armed bandit, there are more than 2,400 slot machines for visitors to choose from. In addition to the main casinos, premium guests have access to The Paiza Club, an exclusive gaming area located on the 50th floor of The Palazzo and 36th floor of The Venetian. There's also poolside gaming available at The Palazzo as well as blackjack and craps inside Lagasse's Stadium, the premier location for viewing sporting events in all of Las Vegas. (702-414-1000)
3 Encore Las Vegas
Although a bit smaller than the casino at its sister property, Wynn Las Vegas, Encore's 72,000-square-foot casino is equally elegant, with gaming tables designed to bring the dealers closer to the guests, thereby creating a more intimate environment for the game. Featuring 95 tables total, guests can play baccarat, blackjack, Big 6, Caribbean Stud, European roulette, Let It Ride, mini-baccarat, Pai Gow poker, roulette and three card poker. The casino also boasts 860 slot machines as well as island gaming by the pool. Additionally, Encore offers penthouse exclusivity and views from its Sky Casino: a high-limits gaming area with slots, baccarat and a lounge. (702-770-7000)
2 The D Las Vegas
This recently rebranded downtown casino is one of the only two-level casinos in Las Vegas. The first floor offers a contemporary feel, with slots and table games, Dancing Dealers, 10-times odds on dice and blackjacks that pay 3 to 2, while the second floor offers a vintage casino experience, with numerous classic coin-operated slots and a Sigma Derby machine--a popular simulated horse racing game. For those walking down Fremont Street looking for some vintage gaming action, an escalator sits in front of the D that takes people directly to the second-floor casino. The vintage casino is also home to a William Hill Sports Book, where sports fans can place bets and watch the latest games on high-definition televisions. (702-388-2400)
1 The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Although fairly new to the Strip, The Cosmopolitan's modern facilities, friendly dealers and swanky atmosphere have already made it a popular spot among gamblers. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls offer incredible views of the Strip, creating a distinctive gaming experience. The 100,000-square-foot casino features all the classic table games bettors have come to expect as well as a wide variety of slot machines with denominations ranging from $0.01-$500. In total, 83 individual gaming tables give guests a wide variety of games to choose from, including blackjack, craps, Pai Gow poker, mini-baccarat, Ultimate Texas Hold'em, Spanish 21 and War. High limit gaming is also available, and the casino's race and sports book offers bettors the ability to wager on sports and other live events in regulatory areas of the casino thanks to a mobile wagering devise. (702-698-7000)
About Heather Turk
A graduate of the University of Southern California, Heather's byline has appeared everywhere from The Los Angeles Times to Playboy.com--with her review of The Truman Show making the front page of The Detroit News' movie section when she was just 16 years old. When she's not at her computer writing a story for one of the many outlets she freelances for (including Allegiant Air's in-flight magazine Sunseeker, the Los Angeles Times Las Vegas Guide and CBS Las Vegas), she can often be found at the movies, on the Strip checking out the latest restaurant/show/spa/hotel opening or at Disneyland.
Read more about Heather Turk here.