With the advent of the Internet, the business of betting has experienced tremendous growth, the latest being casino tourism. Though just because online casinos have taken off, doesn’t mean that the land based industry isn’t still thriving.
A staggering number of tourists visit land based casinos, and some destinations like Vegas and Macau are actually known as casino tourism hotspots, where the elite rub shoulders with average men and women who dream of becoming millionaires overnight.
Perhaps the reason that online gambling hasn’t wiped land based casinos off the board is due to the industry’s ability to adapt. Land based casinos these days are much more than a dark, seedy place to gamble, now luxurious resorts and dazzling entertainment complexes.
The following are the best countries around the world for casino tourism. If you are planning on visiting a casino overseas, always make sure you gamble responsibly (and remember those currency conversions!).
The Best Countries Around the World for Casino Tourism
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.
This little administrative region from China is famous around the world for its casinos and widely spread gambling culture. Known as the “Monte Carlo of the Orient”, Macau rivals Vegas for for the title of gambling capital of the world.
Macau is home to 33 casinos which have been estimated to contribute up to 50 percent of the economy. It’s worth noting that out of the 33, Forbes ranks six casinos among the 20 largest in the whole world. These include Starworld Hotel & Casino, Sands Macao, Casino Ponte 16, the Venetian Macao, MGM Grand Macao and City of Dreams Resort.
Each of these casinos involve themselves in casino online gaming as well as their land based equivalents, but travelers head to soak up the glamour and glitz of the in person experience.
Steeped in authentic colonial history, Portuguese and Chinese are the two main official languages, although English is also fluently spoken due to the proximity of Hong Kong, being just an hour trip across the Delta by boat.
Image: Andrew Moore (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
The United States (Vegas)
What kind of list would this be if it didn’t include the undisputed gambling capitol of the world? (well, Macau disputes this title!).
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). Vegas has one of the best party scenes in the world, featuring an insane and diverse clubbing scene, the best pool parties on earth, and plenty of gambling fun.
The Bellagio, with it’s famous fountain shows, feature some 40 poker tables are offered including a high stakes area known as Bobby’s Room. Pull up a seat and you may find yourself playing with some of the top names in professional poker playing.
Ceasars Palace is stylish and a bit old school, with a giant 20 foot Augustus Caesar greets you as you enter and instantly you begin to feel like Hollywood royalty. It is here where Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Elton John, and Tony Bennett have performed.
Or, transport yourself to Venice and cruise the canals on a gondola ride as you pass a replica of St Mark’s Square. The Venetian in Vegas may not be able to compare in size with the Venetian Macao, but it still stand as the largest in Vegas with over 10,000 square meters of gambling goodness.
Australia & New Zealand
Those visiting Australia usually start their trip in Sydney. And Star City Casino is one of Sydney’s main attractions. But it’s Melbourne’s Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex that beats out the likes of Uluru for numbers of visiting tourists (seriously!).
Right on Melbourne’s Yarra River, the complex covers two city blocks which makes it the largest and most grand complexes of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.
Above the pokies for which is is famous, and a huge selection of games, there are three hotels within the complex (Crown Towers Melbourne, Crown Metropol and the Crown Promenade), as well as two restaurants by world famous Chef Gordon Ramsay, and a huge range of entertainment (live theater, concerts, bars and nightclubs, and even a sports hub).
Gambling is also one of the most popular pastimes in New Zealand, and one definite perk of New Zealand casinos is that casino tax is paid by the casino (as opposed to the setup in America where customers pay tax out of their winnings).
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. Like those in Macau, these Casinos offer the best online slot games to win, but nothing beats the atmosphere of actually being there.
When you’re not gambling, Singapore itself is a spectacular city; a city of sharp and constant contrasts, which perfectly blends old and new. Temples and mosques sit in the shadow of skyscrapers, luxury condos back onto ancient jungles, and wild monkeys roam nature parks and reserves.
There’s no shortage of things to do or places to see in Singapore, and its central location has made it one of the world’s most popular stopovers. It’s one of those places a lot of international flights pass through.
So, even if Singapore has landed on your itinerary as a layover, stop and spend a couple of days exploring the island. If you think it’s just another boring metropolis, you’ve got another thing coming to you!
The United Kingdom (London)
Gambling in the UK is booming, especially in London, and as the county continues to build more and more Vegas-style “Super Casino” complexes, there’s some pretty hard competition for the title of best casino in the UK.
The gambling scene in London alone is one of the most diverse in Europe, though if you’re outside of the city there are 100 land-based casinos spread all around the country, so it’s likely you’ll never be far from one.
If you’re looking for some of the best casinos in London Aspers Casino is the largest, with 70 gaming tables as well as a dozen poker tables and some 150 machines. Crockfords Club is another London casino; a relatively small establishment, but recognized as the world’s oldest private members gaming club.
Hippodrome Casino on the other hand is London’s busiest casino, and a full scale entertainment venue with three floors of gaming including roulette, blackjack, three card poker, dice, baccarat and slots. There is a 180 seat music & cabaret room, six bars, 24 hour food and drink, and a two-tier indoor/outdoor smoking terrace.
Monaco (Monte Carlo)
Approaching the Casino de Monte-Carlo, you might be forgiven for thinking you’re about to visit European royalty, but that’s hardly surprising.
Playground for the rich and famous, Monte Carlo is world famous for its ritzy casino, built thanks to the innovative ideas of Monaco regents Princess Caroline and Prince Florestan I. It’s considered to be a shrine to all things gambling, and seven million tourists take selfies each year with the magnificent Casino de Monte-Carlo behind them.
If you can’t afford to actually gamble here, a €10 entry fee will see you plunge into a 19th century themed casino hall with regularly hosted events, including the annual Poker Stars Championships that tends to attract industry celebrities.
Image: Dennis Jarvis (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
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