Tunica, Mississippi is a great example of a rags-to-riches town that has been improved by the gambling industry. Up until the 1990s, the small Mississippi River town was one of the poorest in the United States. Then, something miraculous happened: developers erected a series of gambling resorts in the neighboring town ofRobinsonville, Miss., elevating the poor urban area to destination vacation status. In 2005, Robinsonville was renamed "Tunica Resorts," delivering the reputation and revenue of Las Vegas casinos on the doorstep of impoverished Tunica. Anyone who doubts the significance of Tunica casinos would be amazed to hear the latest news: a 74-year old woman recently struck it rich with an $8.3 million jackpot on a 25-cent Wheel of Fortune game at Tunica's own Fitz Casino and Hotel.
Brunhilde C. Wins a Bundle
The lucky winner, known only as "Brunhilde C.," had no idea her life would be forever changed when she stepped into Fitzgerald's Casino on June 28, 2013. The astounding prize was won by the incredulous Indiana retiree on a Megabucks progressive Wheel of Fortune machine. Megabucks has a history of doling out multimillion dollar jackpots on its machines in Las Vegas and other big-name gaming cities. Sometimes referred to as the "one-armed bandit" of slot machines, Megabucks machinery consists of three reels and a side lever. In the case of Brunhilde C., it was she and not the machine that made off like a one-armed bandit.
Large Jackpots: Nothing New to Tunica
Brunhilde may have won one of the larger Tunica jackpots, but she is certainly not the only gamer to walk away rich from a Tunica casino. Over $7 million was won in February of 2013 at New Palace on a Lord of the Rings Machine. A drawing for one million dollars takes place every Saturday for patrons of Tunica Roadhouse, Harrah's, and Horseshoe casinos. Other large prizes are awarded, too. In June 2013, Hollywood gave away a Kindle Fire every five minutes on Saturday nights. In July, four Kia Souls will be given away by Resorts Casino.
Casinos in the Area
The following facilities represent Tunica's top gaming attractions:
- Bally's: One of the area's first casinos, this reputable business is a chain found in Las Vegas and across the world.
- Hollywood: This facility is popular for its poker tournaments and movie-themed decor.
- Fitzgerald's: Located on the river, this facility offers a fabulous view as well as fabulous prizes, like the $8 million bundle won by Brunhilde C.
- Resorts: This destination is the home of a famous dollar buffet and poker tournaments.
- Sam's Town: Two floors of gaming fun are found here.
- Harrah's: The largest casino in the area, the Harrah's brand is well-known across the world.
- Horseshoe: This facility is cousin to the Horseshoes found in Ohio and Las Vegas.
- Tunica Roadhouse: A Jacuzzi is featured in every suite of this deluxe resort.
- Gold Strike: In addition to gambling options, this facility boasts a large theater where comedians and musicians entertain.
Other Area Attractions
Mississippi Blues Trail
Travelers interested in making a vacation out of their stay in Mississippi will find other things to do besides gambling. Blues lovers can travel the miles-long highway expanse called the Mississippi Blues Trail, stopping along the way at any of 120 landmarks that commemorate the birth of blues music in the state. Five of these landmarks are located in Tunica itself.
Tunica Arena and Exposition Center
The Tunica Arena and Exposition Center is a large venue for different exciting events. Early July 2013 at the arena saw the Mid-Quarter Horse Show. Mid-July will see the World Championship Palomino Show. The National Bikers Roundup will happen at the end of July. The event will include biker-friendly concerts, Harley Davidson and helicopter rides, community camping, and fun activities for kids.
The Tunica Museum
The Tunica Museum is a free attraction featuring native artifacts of Mississippi and other historical displays. Summer 2013 at the museum features an educational exhibit called "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War."
The Tunica Queen offers a low-cost riverboat ride on the Mississippi for those who want to experience the famous river up close. Children under age four ride for free and adolescent/adult tickets cost less than $20 apiece. The boat is not set up for gambling, but provides a refreshing break to tourists from the hustle and bustle of casino life.
Food: "One Buck Buffet" and Other Dining Options
Both Bally's and Resorts casinos in Tunica offer a "one buck buffet" in which a diner can eat a buffet meal in exchange for one comp dollar off their players' card. This deal is available during dinner, lunch, and breakfast every day of the week, but can only be used once per day by each guest. Interested eaters should note that it does usually take several hours of slot machine play to accrue the one dollar in comp money necessary for the meal.
The city itself boasts over 50 different eateries, some of which are local and some of which are found in the resorts. Everything from steak houses to Chinese food to American burgers can be found in the area. Guests longing for the familiar taste of home can also enjoy restaurants like Fuddruckers and McDonalds.