Trip Report: Mountaineer and Wheeling Island

This trip reports covers our visits to the four West Virginia racetrack casinos. We started at Mountaineer Casino on the tip of the northern panhandle, and we stopped at Wheeling Island later that Sunday.

About a week later, we hit Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mardi Gras Casino. That part of our trip report is here. We did not make it to the private Greenbrier resortWe hope to visit there later this year.

Each of the four West Virginia racetrack casinos were very friendly. Casinos across the country could learn from the hospitality that we experienced here. This is especially true of Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras. 

Mountaineer Casino

Mountaineer Casino was our first stop on our tour of West Virginia casinos at racetracks. It is just inside West Virginia’s northern panhandle along the Ohio River. We took the Newell Toll Bridge from Ohio to get there from our previous stop in Youngstown, Ohio. The toll was $0.75 for the ride across the 116-year old private bridge.

Mountaineer Casino was busier than I was expecting on a Sunday afternoon. All its table games had a $15 minimum bet. I suspect you can find $10 games here at slower times. 

All the video poker that I found, including the bar, was of the video-lottery variety. This included some Game Kings and Pick N Play. This is when I discovered that there are no comped drinks here, and I paid $6 for a beer even though I put $100 in the video-poker machine.

I played some Spanish 21 next. The game here stands on all 17’s. It was the first time that I ever saw Spanish 21 with this rule, though I would later find similar all over Pennsylvania and in other places. I lost $150 at the game, and we headed on to Wheeling Island.

Wheeling Island Casino

The drive to Wheeling Island from Mountaineer Casino was mostly through industrial towns with a lot of history. We crossed a few more old Ohio River bridges along the way, though none had a toll.

We encountered the top tier in hospitality employees at all West Virginia casinos. Wheeling Island was the best of this great group. The security guard who checks IDs offered great conversation as well.

I spoke with several employees who wanted to make sure that I was having a good time and helped me find the machines that I wanted to play. We ran into the entrance’s security guard while walking through the property later. He recognized us and said if we needed anything, to let him know. 

I found better than video-lottery video poker at Wheeling Island. I also found a wide selection of $5 table games that includeded craps, roulette, Three Card Poker, and Mississippi Stud. It was $10 minimum for stand-on-all-17 blackjack.

These are great values for West Virginia table gamesI think it is worth traveling a bit out of the way to visit this casino. Its hospitality is worth experiencing on its own.

Our overnight stay in Wheeling was a great experience 

We stayed the night at the Hampton Inn in Wheeling. It was our best stay on the entire trip. Taylor at the front desk was exceptional. He wanted to make sure that we enjoyed our stay in Wheeling beyond the hotel, and he shared the city’s history and attractions like no other hotel employee that we met along the trip.

We had dinner and drinks at TJ’s Sports Garden. It is across the street from the Wheeling Hampton Inn. Dinner was great, and the drinks were inexpensive. The best part was MacKenzie’s service. We had experienced labor shortages that affected service at restaurants throughout this trip, and she made up for a lot of it. MacKenzie did an exceptional job. We made sure she knew that and took care of her as well as she took care of us.