The Belterra Casino and Resort is located on the Ohio River in southeastern Indiana. It is one of several casinos along the Indiana side of the river from Cincinnati to Louisville.
Normally casinos aren’t part of our usual travel itinerary; gambling and grease just doesn’t resonate with us. But since we were going to be in the area on Christmas night, we figured Belterra might have an open restaurant. It had 5.
The hotel’s interior was very classy. A 15 foot high Christmas tree made of poinsettias was the centerpiece of the holiday decorations in the lobby.
Our room was clean and the bathroom featured a nice array of pretentious toiletries. Those would have been useful had there been hot water — our only complaint with the hotel.
We also had a nice view of the Tom Fazio-designed golf course, which looks to be worthy of a visit all by itself. At least from the 20th floor! Seriously though, the course at Belterra is highly-rated by Golf Digest, a more trustworthy source for golfers than me!
Before figuring what and where to eat, we decided to check out the casino, located on the opposite end of the Belterra facility from the hotel.
On the way down the airport-like walkway to the casino we saw a long line of people at the Champions Club desk. The Champions Club is a points program where folks earn hotel and restaurant discounts based on how much you gamble at Belterra.
It seemed like waiting in line was the primary benefit of the program, considering this queue along with the long Champions Club lines inside the casino itself.
My soon-to-be wife was happy to get carded on the way into the casino. Finally inside, we were treated to a smoky environment with a strange droning musical note filling the air. It was maybe an E?
We soon discovered the drone was from the few hundred electronic slot machines, purring away the song of addiction-based American commerce.
While the rest of Belterra gave off the feel of a swanky, top-shelf establishment, the casino itself was more like a cut scene from the rural-Indiana version of the Godfather that never got made.
It was mostly the clientele (loitering or not) that gave us this impression. Settling down at one of the slot machines, I proceeded to try the machine’s luck. I lost around $20, but both times I won a small amount ($5), two loiterers who were hanging out nearby our machine just had to look over our shoulders to see what happened. Creepy.
Done with gambling, we decided to continue the social experiment by walking around the smoke-filled casino. The pit-boss looked like Fredo Corleone. There were cocktail waitresses clad in shiny pantyhose and little else. There were people at the slots who looked like they couldn’t afford to stay at Belterra’s hotel.
This was Christmas night and because of Indiana law, no alcohol was being served. I don’t want to speculate what that would have done to the room’s ambiance.
My lady wanted to go back to our hotel room to wash our hands after our casino adventure. I had to agree. We took a quick glance at the buffet, and decided on room service, which was top rank like the rest of Belterra, with the ironic exception of its casino.
We would definitely come back to Belterra for golfing, or if we are in the area on Thanksgiving or Christmas nights. As a libertarian, I’m all for adults having the right to gamble if that is their choice; I just probably will stay away from the casino unless another social experiment is in order.