Property Reviews

What Makes a Great Slot Floor?

Gold Strike High LimitsThe popularity of slots is at an all-time high, and so is the demand for places to play. Of course, every casino has slot machines. But not every casino has a great slot floor. So, what are the defining characteristics of a great slots floor? I spoke with renowned gaming expert Linda Boyd, who has been to every casino on the Vegas Strip, among others. She knows exactly what to look for in a slot floor and with her assistance we’ve put together a list of a few things you might consider before spending your hard earned money.




The Latest and Greatest Games
A casino with a great slots floor will have the most popular games and up-to-date technology. Players should be able to come and play the newest games being advertised and their favorite classic games in one location. This is also a big factor for non-smokers to consider. If you prefer to play in a non-smoking area, be sure to check that it has the games you’re looking for. According to Boyd, many casinos don’t have the same popular games in the nonsmoking area as they do in the smoking area. A truly great slot floor has the same gaming options available in both areas.


Well Maintained Machines
Broken buttons are entirely too common. “For some reason, the eye in the sky doesn’t say anything when people are pounding on these buttons,” said Boyd. “Management should really go over and say something because it’s annoying to other people, but more importantly it damages the buttons.” Often it’s the button for a certain denomination, usually the most popular, that gets damaged. Until it gets fixed, players are forced to bet an amount they’re uncomfortable with or pick another machine. Casinos typically keep mechanics on the property and players can ask to have the buttons replaced. A process which might take a while. Long enough for gamers consider playing elsewhere.


Ticket Redemption Devices that Work
If a property uses ticket redemption devices, it’s important to check that they are in good working order. Boyd has seen these machines with a wide range of issues. Some of these machines have been known to dispense money in chunks, without notifying the player they haven’t received all of their money yet. If players don’t make it a point to count their money, they risk walking away, leaving a chunk of money for the lucky someone behind them in line. And that’s not even the worst of it. “Some of the machines, I don’t know how they get away with it, but they’ll give you the dollars and not the change,” Boyd said. You might not miss a few cents here and there but it becomes a problem when that change starts to add up. It is not uncommon to find these machines out of order so it’s worth checking out before you sit down to play.


Hand-pay Threshold
This one might require a little research but is definitely worth looking into. Boyd suggests finding out what the hand pay threshold is at a casino before you start to play. The U.S. Government requires a W-2G for winnings of $1,200 or more, which definitely requires an attendant to pay you and get you the necessary forms. Some casinos however, have a hand pay threshold that is much lower than the $1,200 set by the government. “I know many people saying they will never go back to a casino because when they hit a $500 jackpot they have to wait for an attendant and they feel obligated to tip,” said Boyd.


Location, Location, Location
The location of the slot floor in the casino as a whole can have a huge effect on a slot player’s experience. The proximity of the slot machines to the table games is something to consider. “I’ve actually seen people come close to fisticuffs because the [slot] machines will be really loud and the players at the table don’t like it,” said Boyd. “Or the players, especially at a craps table, are screaming and yelling if they’re on a hot roll and the people that are playing the slots get mad.” A great slots floor is set far enough away from other table games to avoid fisticuffs of any kind.


Room to Relax
This may be obvious, but a truly great slot floor gives gamers some space to spread out. This means wide aisles with plenty of room to peruse machines until you find the one you like. It means space between machines for coats and purses. It means when you hit the jackpot you can cheer and if you feel compelled, wave your arms around without fear of punching the person playing next to you. I would also include comfortable chairs, you should be able to sit and play for as long as you’d like.


Comped Drinks
It’s not unusual to work up a thirst on the slot floor. A great slot floor will provide free drinks while you’re playing. You’re already giving the casino your hard earned money. So try to get some drinks on the house.


Polite and Knowledgeable Staff
Customer service is an integral part of a great slot floor. The staff working on the floor should know where machines are and be able to answer any questions a customer may have. If the employee doesn’t have an answer they should at least be able to refer you to someone who can help. But having the answers is only part of it. It’s helping customers with a smile on that is most important. Attitude is everything.


Slot machines look much less fun to play when they’re covered with smudges. No one wants to press a button with all sorts of sticky on it. A great slot floor will make it a point to clean the machines, similar to how servers wipe down tables between meals. Not only will this help stop the spread of germs, but it will keep the machines sparkling.


Interesting promotions
A great slot floor will host tournaments and fun promotions. Whether it be 2X points, tournaments, drawings or free play, a great slot floor will mix it up and keep guests coming back for more.





The South is scattered with properties that possess the qualities of a great slots floor. Here is a list of some worth checking out.

nGold Strike Casino Resort

Number of slot machines: 1,372
Number of table games: 59
Casino square footage: 50,000 square feet
High limit gaming area? Yes.





Hollywood Casino Tunica

Number of slot machines: 1,100
Number of table games: 20
Casino square footage: 54,000 square feet
High limit gaming area? Yes, with a slot area and a tables room.


Paragon Slots 2Paragon Casino Resort

Number of slot machines: 1,600
Number of table games: 44 (8 tables in poker room)
Casino square footage: 64,000 square feet
High limit gaming area? Yes, with 71 slot machines.





Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino

Number of slot machines: 1700
Number of table games: 70
Casino square footage: 63,000 square feet
High limit gaming area? Yes.


Slots_02Beau Rivage Resort & Casino

Number of slot machines: 1,945
Number of table games: 83 (16 tables in poker room)
Casino square footage: 85,000 square feet
High limit gaming area? Yes, with 95 slot machines.





IP Casino Resort Spa

Number of slot machines: 1,700
Number of table games: 60 (13 table games in anon-smoking area)
Casino square footage: 70,000 square feet
High limit gaming area? Yes.


casino interiorPalace Casino Resort

Number of slot machines: Over 850
Number of table games: 26
Casino square footage: 38,000 square feet
High limit gaming area? Yes, with 26 slot machines and 6 table games.





Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg

Number of slot machines: 1,500
Number of table games: 27 (plus a 10 table poker room)
Casino square footage: 70,000 square foot riverboat casino
High limit gaming area? Yes, there is a high limit slot area oncasino floor.


Slot_1Pearl River Resort

Number of slot machines: 1,265 at Silver Star and 1,148 at Golden Moon
Number of table games: 65
Casino square footage: 90,000 square feet at Silver Star and 70,000 at Golden Moon.
High limit gaming area? Yes, 73 slot machines and 6 table games at Sliver Star. The Golden Moon’s high limit area has 54 slot machines and 6 table games.



Rising Star Casino Resort

Number of slot machines: 1,200
Number of table games: 33
Casino square footage: 40,000 square feet
High limit gaming area? Yes.




by Lauren Reisdorf

Slot Trends: A Look at the Greatest Slots at G2E

EACH YEAR IN THE EARLY FALL, casino professionals and their suppliers gather in Las Vegas for the Global Gaming Expo, part conference with high-level seminars and discussions, and part trade show. (more…)

Hit the Holidays: Lake Charles, Louisiana

IF YOU ARE LOOKING for some Cajun flair, warm personalities, trendy night spots and more this holiday season, be sure to plan a visit to Lake Charles in Southwest Louisiana. The town is decorated for the season, and special events include Mistletoe & Moss Holiday Market, Nov. 20-22, and the Holiday House market held during the Christmas Under the Oaks Festival in Sulphur, Dec. 5-6. The festival is the only place around where it “snows” every year and features a lighted-balloon street parade called The Light Up. (more…)

The Holidays, Dixie-Style

THE TEMPERATE, balmy South might not conjure snowy images of Courier & Ives, but at least visions of palm trees and mistletoe, seashells and fireworks may dance in your head. The holiday feast may swap the Christmas goose with sea bass, shrimp and grits, or fried chicken. Colorful peacocks and graceful magnolias don’t replace turtledoves and a Douglas Fir, but could be a dandy traditional ornamentation all the same. (more…)

On the Road Again: From Oaklawn to Southland

GAMING AND RACING destinations make great weekend getaways. There’s the thrill you get when you play and win, which seems to instantly melt away the stress from the past week. Then there’s the abundance of food, which is delicious and filling while hitting the spot.

When it’s time to leave, you gather your winnings and head home, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like the getaway was long enough. What you need is the excitement gaming provides paired with the relaxation of a scenic destination, a chance to explore the area attractions on a relaxing journey, rather than just a quick getaway. (more…)

Head Out to the Outer Banks

TO A FIRST TIME visitor, the dearth of Southern culture in the Outer Banks in North Carolina is surprising. For generations, local families have survived by harvesting the sea, creating a population of entrepreneurs who tend to think outside the box. Even the local accent is unique to the region. Known as a high-tide brogue, it borrows inflection from the area’s Irish and English roots, with nothing Deep South about it.


Las Vegas – Quick Delights and Sights of Sin City

Las Vegas is a destination that literally has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a great gambling getaway, fantastic food finds or sensational sightseeing and people watching, this is the place for you. We could write for days and still not cover everything this city has to offer.

On a recent visit, we were excited to check out a few places that recommend adding to your next Vegas itinerary. 


Fun and Gaming: Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana

FUN AND GAMING CONTINUES TO GROW in Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana. Whether you are looking for great gambling golf, fishing or hunting, there are plenty of activities to fill your schedule for a quick getaway!

We know you’ll love it and hope you’ll give it a try!


2014 Casino Dining Guide

Appetizers…Entrees…Desserts…Hungry Yet?

Casinos in the South take pride in providing their guests with the best, especially when it comes to food. Try not to drool as you flip through the next few pages.

This year’s Dining Guide highlight’s some of the top casino dishes from throughout the region. Whether you are looking for an awesome appetizer or a delicious dessert… we’ve got you covered.

Be sure to add these hot dining spots to your next casino getaway.




Hollywood Casino Tunica: Celebrating 20 Years of Gaming Excellence

IN THE EARLY 1990’S, TUNICA, Miss., was one of the poorest counties in the country. Located just two miles south of Memphis, hot summers and cotton fields embellished the otherwise unremarkable region. Then, in 1990, legislation legalized casino gaming, and the race was on to build the biggest and the best facilities to meet the demands of gamblers and to compete with the booming business being had in Las Vegas. The tax revenue generated was an immediate benefit to the county school systems, road ways and downtown district. Today there are eight casinos boasting almost $1 billion in annual revenue and providing thousands of jobs.


Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi Celebrates Lucky 7: Top Shows at the Property

Sheryl Crow. The name says it all. When people think of southern pop/rock music, it’s her voice and well-strummed guitar that fans across the world hear in their minds.

All I Wanna Do, Soak up the Sun and If It Makes You Happy are amongst her biggest hits. Her genre-blending music has earned her nine Grammy Awards and a spot on VH1’s list of the Greatest Women of Rock N’ Roll.

She has performed for millions of fans over the years at venues world-wide including the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, where she has earned a top spot among the best shows at the rock n’ roll-themed property.




SUMMER TIME and the living is breezy

THERE IS NOTHING better than a Southern summer getaway. Whether you are looking for a gambling excursion on the Gulf Coast or trails to meander in the mountains of Tennessee, chances are you will find your perfect escape without ever boarding a plane. If your trip is for a week or just a weekend, you owe it to yourself to check out some of the many attractions of the region. These are a few of our favorites.


Power Players

For a fun and rewarding penny slot experience, check out the new “Penny Lane” area at IP Biloxi.

Power Players

In 1941, Sam Boyd and his family arrived in Las Vegas with not much more than determination to succeed and fulfill a dream.




Show Review: SaltOriya Sizzles at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino thru August 17

DreamCast Entertainment has struck again with its new theatrical circus, SaltOriya, featured at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, MS.  This exciting show takes viewers into another world as the performers push boundaries of human imagination and create death defying thrills for on lookers.  The show takes a person’s dreams to the extreme, and is perfect for any audience of any age.  SaltOriya gives an out of world experience and allows people to live vicariously through the performers.  I recently had the pleasure of taking my daughters, six and nine years old, out on a date with mom to see SaltOriya. They were entranced and enthralled, in disbelief and amazement.  Their eyes were so big and filled with excitement. 


Destination Lexington: Horse Farms & Bourbon Distilleries

THERE ARE FEW PLACES in the world as eclectic as Kentucky. Known as the horse and bourbon capital of the world, the state is the birthplace of approximately 30 percent of the nation’s horses each year and home to nearly 5 million barrels of aging bourbon. The entire state’s population is only 4.3 million, if that tells you anything.


While many horse farms and bourbon distilleries are scattered throughout the commonwealth, the city of Lexington, located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, has an array of both. In addition, the city is home to Keeneland, one of the most historic racetracks in the country and the world’s largest Thoroughbred auction house, where approximately half of the 11 Triple Crown winners have been sold.