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Casinos in Tunica Mississippi: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Updated on June 30, 2016

I wrote this literally right after after my husband and I returned from our fall vacation. Our children are 22 and 17 so this was our first vacation together as "an old married couple" without the kids (we are both 43). We decided it would be fun to go to Tunica, Mississippi over a long weekend. We had been there once before with some relatives when the kids were younger and thought it would be a fun place to experience "just the two of us".

I researched the hotels and casinos online, ordered a local travel guide that was chock full of coupons, made our hotel reservation, planned out our activities for the days we would be there, and anticipated all of the fun we were bound to have. Unfortunately our vacation didn't turn out the way we hoped it would and we were back home within 36 hours of leaving.

If you are planning a trip to Tunica please read this article before going. It is an honest review about the places we visited and may actually save you time and money.

The Good: Our Room at the Gold Strike

Our Room

As a teacher I have been taught that when I conference with one of my student's parents it's best to start out with something positive to set the tone of the meeting so I am going to start this article out with a few of the positive things I found in Tunica.

We stayed at the Gold Strike Casino and I have to say the hotel was absolutely fabulous. The check-in procedure was speedy and everyone who worked at the front desk was courteous and helpful. The lobby was huge and although there were a lot of people there it didn't seem the least bit crowded. We were given a king room on the 10th floor.

I was pleasantly surprised at how nice our room was. It was decorated with very modern furniture, a big flat screen television, and bedding and accessories in shades of browns accented with mint green and ice blue. The atmosphere in the room was very calm and relaxing. Our bed was spacious and comfortable and sported extra pillows which was great because I always sleep with one between my knees. The immaculately clean bathroom was fully stocked with toiletries, a hair dryer, and a coffee maker. I can honestly say that this was one of the nicest hotels that my husband and I have every stayed in.

The Bad at Gold Strike

Now for something not so positive. The casino at the Gold Strike is located on the first floor. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. After a quick once around the floor my husband and I decided to settle in and play some slots. Minutes later hubby asked me to go and get him a beer and I dutifully did after he agreed to watch the machine I was playing until I got back. I went to the bar to purchased his $5 bottle of ale and when I returned there was a man sitting at my machine!

My husband was trying to explain to him that I had been playing the machine and the $90 balance on it belonged to me, but the man refused to move until we gave him $10. We gave him the cash just to get rid of him. Later that evening I attempted to play another machine when the man next to it shoved his hand in front of me and blocked me from putting any money in. He wasn't playing the machine at the time, but I guess he figured that if he couldn't play it no one else could either.

Shortly after that incident we were approached by a cocktail server who asked us if we wanted drinks. I inquired as to the cost of a bottled drink and she informed me that all beverages at the casino were free—including the beer I had just paid $5 for in the bar! I was shocked! You have to understand that we live in Oklahoma and at the casinos here you have to pay for your drinks so I naturally assumed it would be the same in Mississippi. Boy was I wrong. I guess when I asked the bartender how much I owed him he was referring to his tip—not the drink.

The Ugly at Gold Strike

None of the machines were paying out anything. My husband and I played for less than an hour and lost well over $1000. We played all denominations of machines, but they were dialed up so tight NOTHING paid. We walked around the casino and our experience seemed to be exactly what was happening to everyone in the place. We got so discouraged we left and went next door to the Horseshoe. We stayed at the Horseshoe for a few hours because we actually WON something on their machines. The payouts weren't huge but at least we were able to play for a while.

I ended up retiring to the room at about midnight and my husband went back to the casino to attemp to recoup some of our losses. He returned 2 hours later after losing another large amount of money. We checked out of the Gold Strike the next morning and I can honestly say we will NEVER GO BACK.

Now for those of you who want to tell me that when you gamble you lose money—I realize that. I didn't expect to win huge amounts of money, but I did hope to at least be able to play for a while and not just hand my money directly to the casino. When I say the machines weren't hitting, I mean they weren't hitting ANYTHING not even the lowest winning combinations. It would have been more honest to have attendants stand next to the machines so you could simply hand them your money and not waste your time sitting down and pushing buttons.

The Ugly: The Hollywood Casino

We went to the Hollywood casino because they advertised a special 50 cent buffet lunch for people who signed up for their club card. When we signed up for the card we were told that we had to accumulate 10 points to qualify for the buffet special. We figured 10 points wouldn't be hard to get so we sat down and began playing slots.

The Hollywood casino was just like the Gold Strike, the machines weren't paying. We didn't hit anything-nor did we see anyone else hit anything. Even worse we realized that you had to spend over $60 just to get the 10 points you needed to get the buffet special. We would have been better off paying the $10 for the buffet and keeping the rest of our money in our pockets!

We eventually ate lunch and I asked several of the casinos employees if there was anyplace that had slot machines that actually let you win something. They told us to leave the Hollywood and go to either Sam's Town or The Resorts. We took their advice and left.

The Good: Sam's Town and The Resorts

We went to Sam's Town because we had a coupon for $20 in free slot play. When my husband and I signed up for our cards we were each given a bonus gift of an extra $5 of slot play. We played at Sam's Town for almost an hour simply on the free play money we were given. The slots weren't paying out huge amounts, but they were paying so we walked away feeling that at least we were given a chance to win something.

We had the same experience at The Resorts. While the machines weren't paying large amounts, they were paying and you could play without feeling that you were being cheated.

If we ever go back to Tunica—which I seriously doubt—we will stay at either Sam's Town or the Resorts and stay away from the more glitzy places.

Visit Tunica? Never Again!

All in all I would have to say that this was the absolute worst trip my husband and I have ever taken. For the money we wasted we could have taken a cruise or gone somewhere nice and really enjoyed ourselves. We chose to go to Tunica over Las Vegas because we thought that our money would buy more, but that was a huge mistake on our part.

Don't make the mistake that we did—steer clear of the casinos in Tunica, Mississippi. Don't waste your time. You can replicate the same feeling you get when you leave a casino in Tunica by simply going into your garage and hitting yourself in the foot with a hammer several times.

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    • eddie 4 years ago

      I am a local and live 15 minutes from the casinos and been going there every week for the past 16 years . I HAVE NEVER EVER WON ANYTHING ON THE SLUT MACHINES . THE CASINOS HAVE THE MACHINES SO TIGHT THAT THEY ACTUALLY TAKING YOUR MONEY FASTER THAN YOU TAKING IT OUT FROM YOUR POCKET.

      THEY TOOK DOWN THE 98 % CASH BACK BECAUSE IT IS A LIE. I DON'T SEE HOW THE GAMING COMMISSION REGULATORS WILL ALLOW THE CASINOS TO TAKE PEOPLE MONEY WITH NO RETURN OF ANY SORT. I KNOW THAT THE CASINOS IS NOT MAKING ANYBODY GOES TO THE CASINOS BUT COME ON LET THE PEOPLE WIN A LITTLE BIT BEFORE PEOPLE DESERT THE PLACE , AND HOPEFULLY WE WILL SEE THE CASINOS SHUT DOWN , BECAUSE NOBODY WANT JUST TO GO ON A LOSING STREAK, BECAUSE THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS IN TUNICA . FROM THE MOMENT BYOU ARRIVE IN THE DOOR IT'S LOSING TIME WITH NO RETURN. BOYCUT THE CASINOS IN TUNICA AND LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD BECAUSE THIS CAN'T CONTINUE.

    • mikicagle profile image
      Author

      mikicagle 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      I completely agree with you. My husband and I drove for hours to get there expecting to have a fun, relaxing weekend only to be sorely disappointed. We drove back to Oklahoma-went to an indian casino-and actually played a while and won a little. I don't understand how the casinos in Tunica stay in business or why anyone would want to visit them. I sent a letter to the GM at the Gold Strike and his response was too bad so sad. The casino is in the business to make money and that is exactly what they do. I encourage you to get your friends to read this hub and leave feedback-

    • Web World Watcher profile image

      Web World Watcher 3 years ago

      I've been pretty lucky with some of the casinos you mentioned...

      http://www.mapquest.com/maps?country=IT

    • sherry 3 years ago

      I live 1.5 hrs from Tunica and used to go frequently. However the last 5 years have been horrible!!! I play slots. Before, you could win jackpots and you'd see jackpots being hit by others. Now the slots just suck your money, rarely even giving you playing money. When Tunica's slots were looser, it would be bumper-to-bumper going down there. Now it looks deserted compared to years ago. I used to go a couple of times a month, but quit because I didn't feel like I had a chance. Now I go only twice a year and swear I won't go back every time I leave. The comments from others there is the same, "haven't won anything". It's not fun at all, just stressful, because you're playing on your money only, rarely theres. Even the high limit slots pay out like dollar machines. Meaning, if you're lucky to win a jackpot on a $5 or $10 machine, it will only be a jackpot under $2,000. A couple of years ago I had a great night at the Resorts and won multiple jackpots on their $5 slots. Went back a couple of weeks later and the machines were gone. Proved to me...they don't want you to have a chance to win.

    • Cheryl 5 months ago

      My husband and I were very lucky 3 years ago when we visited Tunica. We won well on table games at Gold Strike and got free buffets. I won a jackpot at Horseshoe casino the last night we were there. $2400. When I am not winning at slots, I go to the table games. There is no way I would continue to play slots and loose that much money in one place.

    • Linda 5 months ago

      Even though I have won at different times at the Horseshoe Tunica, I can certainly tell the slots are super tight. You will have a machine that will give a little to play on or even a small jackpot. Then this machine becomes dead. Nothing! You may find and I mean find a looser machine but it's rare. I have many questions on how these machines are set and how often they are the checked by Gaming Commission???? No enjoyment playing at the Horseshoe!!

    • Traveler 4 months ago

      First, don’t expect a full vacation out of Tunica, MS. Maybe weekends visit if you included visiting nearby Memphis. There is absolutely nothing there beside a few casinos. You should have chosen Las Vegas instead. Next, I’ve been to casinos all around the US and overseas and the basic rooms at Gold Strike (I’ve stayed at their standard, suite and VIP Suite) can compare to similar level rooms at top casinos. Now to when your husband was watching your machine, shouldn't he be sitting in that chair? I don't see how that happened and you sound like you were just swindled. If that person told me they wouldn't get up unless I gave them money, I would have just called security. It’s that simple. Your mistake. The drinks you buy at the bar DOES cost money or comp points. The drinks the bartenders bring to players are free (most people just give a tip). This is a standard at most major casinos (and yes I’ve been to ones in Oklahoma). You can’t blame them because you didn't know. Once again your mistake. If you lost over $1000 at GS I’m sure they would have comped you a couple of buffets instead of going for the 50 cents buffet. Lastly, and possibly the most important thing I’ll say, if you're going to gamble, stay away from the machines. You're a teacher so you have to know at least basic math. Everything you play there is already a house edge so why consistently play something where there up to a 29% house edge vs playing something like blackjack where there can be less than a 1% house edge. That's F for failure waiting to happen. So all in all, you can’t completely blame the casinos in Tunica for your worst vacation ever due to the many mistakes you made. It’s been times I went to Vegas and won a lot and there have been times where I’ve lost a whole lot more but I don't tell people to steer clear of Vegas. To the other readers, go to Tunica if you just expect a little gaming action. Go to Vegas if you expect that and whole lot more.

    • sundance settles 4 months ago

      can i use a paper license while waiting 30 days on my hard license to come in?

    • 4 weeks ago

      I needed a good laugh and I found it - thank you all for the entertainment

    • P B 4 weeks ago

      I am in total agreement with how terrible the tunica casinos are. Horseshoe& Gold Stike use to be the absolute best casinos. Now the payout there is worst than a 3rd tier casino in a small market. None of the casinos in tunica are hardly worth playing now. I do better when I drive to Eldorada in Bossier City Louisiana. All of these penny machines, and even less dollar machines in tunica rarely pays, and is absolutely ridiculous. Please adhere to the warnings !! Stay away from tunica until you hear of them paying better. !!!!!!! I would think that with 7 casinos in the tunica area, at least one of them would allow good payout, that way there would be NO COMPETITION, because, everyone who gamble would be there, and their word of mouth would eliminate the need for advertising, and the free play GIMMACKk!!!!

    • JAG15 2 weeks ago

      It is absolutely a waste of time and money to go to any Casino in Tunica. Yes people will say, I have won in Tunica before, but I guarantee they didn't win again, and if they say they did then they are either working for the casino, or have something to do with them in some way. With over 25 years in the military, I have been to casinos all over the world and in the U.S. and I can say with the utmost certainty that tunica has and will always have the worse payout statistics anywhere. I just went last night (Friday), and was there last Saturday, the 2 nights of the week that you can expect someone somewhere to hit even a small jackpot. I had spent last Saturday night at the horseshoe. I arrived at 8:30 pm, and stayed until 2:20 am, I did not play, I just observed. I was completely shocked that there was not even one small or large jackpot won. No loud bells or whistles, no screams or shouts, nothing but a lot of frustrated people. Then last night I went to Fitzgerald's, and the place was like a morgue, and it was the same thing. I stayed for 3 hours then decided to check out Ballys, and it was the same there. If you do not agree with me thats your right, but there is evidence right in front of your eyes if you pay attention. Hurrah's one of the originals and also one of the iconic casinos in Las Vegas, Reno, and Atlantic City, empty out of business, then right across the street from Harrah's is a large towering hotel, empty as well. If a change is not made and the casino's are forced to start paying, they are all going to be out of business, the people are starting to take their money elsewhere, or keeping it in their pockets, I will never go again, and the sad thing is that the hard working people that depend on the casinos for employment will be back to the way it was back 30 years ago when there was noting there. If you want to keep going and wasting your time and money be my guest, but you are just feeding a monster that doesn't care about anything except taking as much money as they can and then pull up anchor and go back to Vegas.

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