Friday, January 13, 2012

Railroad Pass Casino: A Very Average Casino Just North Of The Hoover Dam!

The Good: Very friendly staff, Good atmosphere
The Bad: Entirely indistinct and unmemorable, Weird parking lot, Older games
The Basics: A good, but entirely underwhelming, casino, the Railroad Pass Casino is a mediocre place to gamble south of Las Vegas.

This year, as my wife and I headed to Las Vegas, we made more stops than I did when I traveled with my other in prior years. Being on the road with my partner had innumerable benefits, but one of the odd things about traveling with her was that we made multiple stops at casinos before we reached Las Vegas. Given how Vegas is packed with casinos, I tend not to stop at other casinos throughout the United States. After all, my annual cross-country trip is designed to make me money, not lose it! My wife, however, loves stopping wherever possible.

That was how we ended up at the Railroad Pass Casino. While traveling to Las Vegas, we passed over the Hoover Dam (reviewed here!) and between there and Las Vegas there were a few rather large casinos. One of them was the Railroad Pass Casino, which was more of a hotel than it was a casino. As we were just passing through, we did not stay at the hotel. However, as far as a casino goes, this was a stiflingly average casino. "Average" casinos are problematic in that they offer no real surprises or thrills.

Railroad Pass Casino: came in with $5.00, left with $0.00.


The Railroad Pass is a large hotel and casino located at 2800 South Boulder Highway in Henderson, Nevada. This is essentially Interstate 95. This is visible from the highway as it is a massive hotel on a mountainside. Given that there is nothing else in the area - this is between the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas, which is essentially a wasteland for about twenty miles - and that the Railroad Pass Casino is one of only two hotels and casinos within that wasteland, it is very easy to find.

The Railroad Pass Casino is a massive structure and it is oddly arranged. The front doors are actually in the back and approaching the Railroad Pass from the south, the visitor enters the parking lot (easily large enough to hold five hundred or more cars) and they must walk around to get in. The parking lot actually abuts the service entrances! Walking around may seem like a small price to pay, but one needs to recall that this is located in the desert. My wife and I visited in the summer and just walking into the casino made us feel gross and started us off on the wrong foot.


The Railroad Pass Casino is a fairly large casinos on the outskirts of Nevada. All of the ceilings are high, all of the carpets are clean and the place feels like one massive hotel lobby. The casino is lit, spaced and dressed up like a hotel lobby, making for a very neutral overall feel to the casino. There are perhaps a thousand video slot machines squeezed into the casino. The casino is essentially two hallways filled with video slot machines. out over the casino floor.

The high ceilings should help dissipate the cigarette and cigar smoke that is prevalent in the casino, but for some reason the place still has a rather pungent tobacco scent. For those sensitive to such things, this remains a severe drawback to the Railroad Pass.

As for the "atmosphere" of the Railroad Pass, the staff was very professionally dressed. The men wore suits and the women wore pantsuits and tuxedo shirts. The people we spoke with were exceptionally friendly. There was nothing distinctive, though, about either the outfits or the decor of the casino.

Gaming Options/Player's Club

I have a very simple gambling philosophy: I sit down at a slot machine with $5.00. I work it up to $10 or down to zero. I know my limits: I can afford to lose $5.00. So, when I am above that, I'll usually work it up or whittle it down to the next even $5.00. Have a strategy, know your limits: the Railroad Pass Casino worked quite well for me. My partner and I each sat down with our five dollars and within half an hour, we had both lost our money.

I'm primarily a slot machine player and I have no shame in admitting, I tend to like the ones that are more video game-like. The Railroad Pass Casino had no new video slot machines or any that were distinctive to the casino. In fact, virtually every game we saw at the casino was one we had at our local casino. So, for example, there were a few terminals each of All That Glitters, Monopoly, Ring Quest, The Big Money Cheese Caper, Ghost Island, Benny Big Game, Monster Mansion, Wheel Of Fortune, Fort Knox, Mystical Mermaid, and Creature From The Black Lagoon. This is a pretty standard and bland selection of games.

For those who might be into games of chance and card games instead of the fun video slot machines, there were about a dozen tables of table games on the gaming floor.

There is a player's club at the Railroad Pass, which is the Player's Junction. Signing up is easy and there was no line when I went to sign up. Signing up entails the member to a free stay at the hotel, but the offer is good a month after one visits and when I told the clerk at the desk we came from upstate New York, she said if we ever came back, they would honor the certificate. How points are accrued and what they may be spent on is a mystery to me; we lost our money so quickly and had so little to begin with that my partner and I both left with no points.

Entertainment Options

The Railroad Pass Casino has weekly musical entertainment. None of the acts were recognizable to me.

Dining Options

We arrived at the Railroad Pass around noon during a long night and day of travel. My partner and I did not sample the cuisine from either the Boxcar Buffet (where the most expensive meal was $8.99 for the Sunday Champagne Brunch), the cafe or the Conductor's Room. The Conductor's Room was fancy dining and while we did not dine there, everyone who came out of it while we were there looked satisfied.

Shopping Options

The Railroad Pass has a gift shop, which reinforces the idea that this casino is essentially a large hotel.


The Railroad Pass Casino is an indistinct, very average casino and while there is nothing so wrong about it, there is nothing exciting enough to draw players back to it, either.

For other casino reviews, please check out my takes on:
Turtle Creek Casino
Mohegan Sun At Pocono Downs
Hollywood Casino At Penn National Raceway


For other travel reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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