Gambling City

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On the Road Again

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: My wife and I are now in our senior years, and We spend about six months a year on the road RVing all over the United States. We take the American Casino Guide everywhere, I believe it was your referral, and frequent many of the different casinos across America for both the good food and light gambling. Intriguingly, we have seen many of the Indian casinos in places other than Fresno, CA, where we live the rest of the year, offer different forms of gambling. Do you know why this is? B. C.

In 1988, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a.k.a. the IGRA to "provide a legislative basis for the operation/regulation of Indian gaming, protect gaming as a means of generating revenue for the tribes, encourage economic development of these tribes, and protect the enterprises from negative influences, (i.e. organized crime).”

What the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does as well is institute three categories of gaming; Class I, II, and III, with a different regulatory plan for each.

Class I are the Indian games which are traditional, these are part of tribal functions and observances, and societal games for small prizes. The tribes have exclusive control over these games and they are not subject to IGRA's regulations.

What you probably saw as you traveled from place to place were the differences between the Class II and Class III games.

Class II games are games of luck frequently known as bingo, pull-tabs and games that are played solely versus other players instead of against the house or even a player acting as a the bank. What they do not include are slot machines or electronic replication of any game of luck. The individual tribes regulate Class II games with oversight by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Casino-style gambling is gaming in the Class III section. This consists of games usually played at casinos: slots, video poker and table games for a few examples. Several conditions must be adhered to for a tribe to present Class III gaming. For example, to offer Class III gambling, the tribe would not only have to arrange a deal with the State, but also provide the State's cut of the gaming revenue.

Steve Bourie’s American Casino Guide remains the best comprehensive guide of casinos all over the US for the frugal gamer.

Bourie revises American Casino Guide annually (the 2016 guide is currently available) and he catalogues all casinos/resorts in the US, as well as every toll-free phone number, internet site and e-mail address for them.

In your question, I noticed, that you “frequent many of the different casinos across America for both the good food and light gambling,” so this is where the American Casino Guide is so helpful. The guide includes $1,000s in valuable casino coupons, like entertainment, free rooms, all-you-can-eat buffets, table and slot play, and a whole lot more more.

Furthermore, the book has stats that show what the returns on slot machines are from the information provided by each states gaming commission, for the best-paying video poker games, which casinos are offering the best table game rules, and over 100 pages of gaming tips and such, as well as winning tactics.

For those who have an interest, they can buy the 2016 American Casino Guide for $18.95 at most chain bookstores,, or at

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “It (Gambling) is not as destructive as war or as boring as pornography. It is not as immoral as business or as suicidal as watching television. And the percentages are better than religion.” – Mario Puzo, Inside Las Vegas (1976)