How To Lose In Six Days

French Lick, Indiana, exudes an aura of scruffy genteelism through its downtown area. A five and dime, diminutive in size, sits on one corner across from the Colonial Bar. Other small businesses are spaced down the block. Yet almost next door is a newly wrought multiple story building with gift shops and fast food restaurants. Seventy five years ago, this stretch of the main street housed 32 speakeasies and illegal gambling dens.

Al Capone frequented the area as did Franklin Roosevelt. The medicinal springs lured so many people that there were seven railroad companies serving the small town. The train station is now a railroad museum that has daily sightseeing trips via train. Today, instead of trains, tour buses bring day time gambllers into the legal casino. Behind and to the south of the train station is the newly refurbished French Lick Resort Casino.

Resplendent in its yellow brick facade, the buildings dwarf the rest of the town. The resort hotel contains 443 newly refurbished rooms and a 27,000 square foot mineral springs spa. Room rates begin in the $150 a night range. Adjacent to the hotel there is a similarly finished events center and multi level parking garage. The newly opened land based casino is connected to the parking garage with an enclosed walkway. Upon entering the casino, the table games are directly in front of the patron.

Blackjack, Three Card Poker, Craps, and Roulette are compactly arranged. To the right and to the left of the entrance are banks of slot machines. These slot machines requires varying levels of play – from one cent to five dollars a spin. Beyond the table games is the VIP area where high limit games are played. In the far right corner of the casino is a bank of approximately 50 video poker machines in varying denominations and games. The patron can find nickel deuces wild poker as well as one dollar jacks or better.

In the far left corner of the casino is the non smoking room. It is more spacious than the main casino and doesn’t feature as many machines. There are tables games available as well as an automated poker room where the cards are dealt by a computer in a video environment. Two venues are available for eating in the casino. To the right of the casino entrance is a snack bar that has sandwiches and other snack foods.

There is also a self serve drink bar that is free to casino patrons. It has soft drinks, coffee, and iced tea. The sandwiches are moderately priced. To the left of the casino entrance is Diamond Jim’s Trattoria. It has an expansive menu of American favorites from eggs Benedict to specialty cut steaks that are also moderately priced. Characters abound in the casino atmosphere and although Al Capone won’t show up, there are plenty of «people watching» opportunities to while away an afternoon.