Wendover, NV

I recently visited friends in the Salt Lake City, UT area for some skiing and other recreation. I took two trips to Wendover, NV, a small town on the border about 115 miles west of SLC. Its primary attraction seems to be as a gambling destination for citizens of Utah, where no gambling of any kind is allowed.

Wendover appears to have about five casinos, the three largest of which are owned by the Peppermill company. I found lots of low-limit single deck blackjack paying 3:2 for a snapper, and lots of 9/6 jacks or better video poker, including a great $1 progressive machine that registered over $5,000 on the meter for a royal flush (at $4800 for the royal, a 9/6 jacks machine turns “positive,” giving the player an expectation of over 100% return). Unfortunately, the machines were gone by our second trip.

Wendover is similar to other Nevada towns I’ve seen at borders with other states, such as Primm and Mesquite. Capital OTB has outposts based on the same principle near the borders of Canada and Massachusetts. However, with the proliferation of gambling, these outposts may not much longer be necessary, which could deal a blow to their local economies.

On our second trip, my friend and I took a bus. It afforded nice views of the Great Salt Lake and the salt flats, but I was surprised at how much drinking went on (though strictly prohibited). I guess Utah’s strict liquor laws don’t work all that well.

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