Take a drive down a bit further south to Tunica, Mississippi and check out one of the nine different casinos. It is only about 40 miles from Beale Street. When the casinos were built, gambling in Memphis was strictly prohibited. They had even banned Bingo! Of course, now we have a Tennessee Lotto (just last year) but I don't know of any plans to build any casinos here in Memphis.
I actually worked at one of the first two casinos that were built about 10 years ago. It was called Lady Luck, but because of some crazy law, they had to actually float on the Mississippi River back then. Lady Luck has since then floated on down the river to Helena, Arkansas. The other casino, Splash, wasn't prepared for tourists because it offered no lodging, and consequently, died. Now all the casinos there have hotels within them. I remember when I was traveling to work everyday, Hwy 61 was just a two lane highway, and there were many head on collisions from drunk drivers leaving the casinos. My ex-husband's Dad was killed on that highway. I didn't work there very long. It just wasn't worth the risks to me. Of course, now there is a major four lane highway and Tunica looks like a mini- Las Vegas.
The Sheraton is my favo(u)rite only because they send me free vouchers every month for a free hotel room during the weekdays. They have a jacuzzi tub in the middle of the room. The Horseshoe has a great buffet, and the Grand is just grand. It is huge and has it's own entrance off of Hwy 61, and Grand water tower, even. I don't go very often, though, and have yet to visit them all. Most will comp you a meal if you play the tables for a while. Some give incentives for slots, too. There are lots of concerts by big name performers at the casinos, too. Check the entertainment calendar to see who is coming to town next.
Click on the photo to see the names of them all. For more information, check the website below. Good Luck!
Now, Tennessee is still strictly against gambling, being the bible belt and all, but Mississippi has no problem taking your money. Besides, Memphis is really "North Mississippi" anyway. If you have the time and want some Vegas style action in a weird sleazy Delta atmosphere - go to Tunica. Heck, in college we went there all of the time for the free drinks. And it's not nearly as expensive as Vegas, either.
Go about an hour south of Memphis on Hwy 61 and it's impossible to miss.
Yes about 30 minutes (or longer depending on traffic) is the gambling mecca of Tunica, MS. It's situated on the Mississippi River and although not as big as Vegas or Atlantic City, offers adventure and fun for everyone.
Since the only kind of gambling that is legal in Tennessee is the lottery (which just started in 2004), you'll have to go to Tunica, Mississippi for the casinos. I still haven't been to Tunica since the casinos opened up. Mississippi didn't legalize gambling until about 10 years ago. I hear it's no Vegas, but it's only about 30-45 minutes from Memphis.