Try Your Luck at These Nearby Casinos

A gambling newbie places her bets on adult playgrounds ranging from high style to old-school.

A craps table at Live! Courtesy photo

My mother has always loved the noise, lights, sizzle and electricity of a casino. She especially loves the slots, and will stroll around until one “speaks to her.”

Me? Well, I’ve always preferred the exhilaration of ridiculously high and fast roller coasters that would turn most 45-year-olds green. I’d sooner travel to Branson, Missouri, to try out the latest adrenaline-pumper at Silver Dollar City than book a ticket to Las Vegas to fritter away precious money. (Did I mention I’m cheap? This is definitely a contributing factor to my casino aversion.)

So, it’s safe to say that taking on an assignment to write about casinos was a pretty big gamble. Would I ever be able to overcome my distaste for this loud, dark, maze-like experience that others seem to embrace so easily? Could I get over the intimidation factor of those unspoken rules shrouding the blackjack and craps tables?

Luckily, I have a healthy sense of adventure— and a mother who was all too eager to be my casino wingwoman. So off we went into the realm of baccarat tables and royal flushes. (Just don’t ask how Mom made out. Apparently a lady never tells.) While I won’t be jetting off to play roulette in Monte Carlo anytime soon, I could easily be persuaded to return to these two Maryland casinos.

Courtesy photo

Live! Casino & Hotel

This gambling mecca in Hanover near BWI Airport has a Costco next door and an outlet mall across the street—not that there’s anything wrong with that; it just looks an awful lot like Anytown, USA. The first taste of Live!’s magic, however, comes from its ability to make you feel like you’re on an instant vacation, far from the suburban sprawl just outside its doors. Check in, sign up for the rewards card that offers newbies $25 of free play money, drop your bags in the room and head out to explore.

Aside from the labyrinth of 4,000 slot machines, 50 poker tables and more than 200 table games like blackjack and roulette—some of which can be accessed with a mere $5 buy-in—you’ll see the entrance to an event center that hosts such acts as Gladys Knight and Grand Funk Railroad.

Categories: Travel