People travel for many different reasons; for food, for history, for adventure; and while some people’s idea of adventure might be rafting down the Amazon, many people find their thrills in casino tourism.
In fact, reports into modern travel trends have recently suggested that gambling and casino gaming has become travels most popular sector!
Millions of people love to play casino games at home, but just as many more travel for the gambling experience in other countries; Las Vegas and Macau immediately spring to mind, but casino gaming is also strong in countries like France, the UK, and Australia.
(Fun fact: Australia’s most popular casinos attract more visitors than the Sydney Opera House!)
From dicing in the streets of Greece and Rome, to card games in China, and Baccarat in France, this is a beginner’s guide to casino tourism – an introduction with things about the industry to know.
A Beginner’s Guide to Casino Tourism
What Games to Play
The world’s obsession with gambling dates back centuries to Mesopotamia (historically Western Asia), where the earliest six-sided dice was invented in 3000 BC.
Since then, there has been an explosion of different games across the world, and gambling around the world now offers a huge variety of games, from cards (ie blackjack, craps, and baccarat), to dice, and even sports betting (we all know how Queen Elizabeth II loves a good horse race!)
Of course then you’ve also got lotteries like Keno, games of luck like bingo (fun fact: more money is spent every year in the UK on bingo tickets than it is on football!) and roulette, and slots, which can be found in almost every country.
When you’re looking for games to play inside a foreign casino, look out for those you have played before so you understand the rules, and research any cultural rule variations (ie Bingo is played differently in the UK and USA).
If you’ve never played a game before, spend time watching others before you jump in blindly (though make sure you’re not invading other players personal space or privacy!).
Look Out for Regional Variations
If you’re a beginner to the world of casino tourism, one big point to note is to look out for regional versions of the game. For example French roulette is played in France, while it is unlikely to be found in many other places around the world.
This is a fantastic opportunity to play games not offered in your part of the world, though it could also mean you lose money for not understanding the rule variations if you haven’t researched it before-hand.
Do not assume that a game is played by the same rules in other countries just because it’s called the same name. You should research the games of your chosen country in advance, and also note down any cultural differences.
For instance, smoking is largely banned in Australian casinos, though may be widely present throughout Europe. You will be required to tip in American casinos, though won’t need extra cash for this in other parts of the world. Dress code around the world will also vary (click here for the dress code in Vegas).
If you’re not comfortable with a game, and don’t know the rules, the best advice is to stay away and try to find something else that you can play. It’s also worthwhile learning a few appropriate words and phrase in the local language.
Keeping Your Money Safe
Whether you’re playing at home online, at your local casino or inside a casino while traveling in a foreign country, your top priority should always be staying safe.
We’re a lot more vulnerable when we travel than when we’re out at home, so it’s important to be extra conscious of your safety, especially as the nature of a casino means you’ll be spending money.
Under no circumstances should you change money in the street or pull out large wads of cash in public. This is a great way to get pick pocketed or ripped off – and when it comes to changing money, this is especially true if you’re unfamiliar with the local currency.
You should be aware of the local currency conversion rate, know how much you’re spending, and how this translates into your home currency – it’s very easy in casinos to get carried away, and not keep track of how much you’re spending, especially if you’re putting money on a credit card.
Don’t drink beyond the point of losing your alertness – casinos will often offer free drinks as a way to keep you playing, however drinking while traveling makes you even more vulnerable, especially when you’re in a foreign country where you may not speak the language.
Divide your cash and credit cards and store these in different places when you’re traveling. Split everything up into various pockets across different bags, and only carry your main credit cards and 1-2 days worth of cash with you in your wallet.
And never leave your bag or wallet unattended when you’re playing at a casino table or a slot machine – always have it somehow attached to your body.
What Countries to Visit
So we’ve got the basic tips down for your first taste of casino tourism, but which countries should you visit?
China is home to the some most renowned casinos for betting all over the world, and there’s no better place to visit that the gambling capital itself, Macau (home to 33 casinos including some of the biggest in the world).
And obviously Vegas is the epitome of casino tourism, named by Forbes as the oasis of gambling with 75 casinos, including the Venetian, MGM Grand Las Vegas, and Bellagio (among others).
Since the legalization of gaming in 2005, Singapore is now home to two of the world’s biggest casino resorts, Marina Bays Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. And you can’t go wrong with Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco, playground for the rich and famous and inspiration for James Bond.
Do you have any other beginners tips to add? If you are gambling around the world, we encourage you to do so responsibly.