When you think of big gambling destinations, you no doubt envision places like Vegas, Monaco, or Macau. While these destinations may offer up some of the grandest casinos in the world, there are a number of casinos and gambling spots tucked away in spots you may never have imagined.
Casinos have managed to find a home just about everywhere on the planet including in countless resorts and hotels around the world, with online casino no deposit bonus offers luring gamblers even in the digital world.
Casinos have even managed to make their way into ice castles like the one once found in Sweden, Antarctic research stations like Argentine Esperanza Base, state prisons such as in Nevada, and even in the back of London taxi cabs.
While these unusual gambling spots may not be as gigantic or opulent as the Bellagio or The Venetian, they are far more unique and quirky. If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind gambling experience, take a chance on one of these crazy casinos around the world and I’d be willing to bet you won’t be disappointed.
Craziest Casinos and Gambling Destinations Around the World
Desert Cave Hotel: Coober Pedy, Australia
You’ve probably heard of the saying “digging yourself into a hole” when gambling, but only in Australia’s Outback can you quite literally gamble in an actual hole in the ground.
Known for its opal mining, the town of Coober Pedy in South Australia has lured countless hardy souls looking to strike it rich by finding these fancy gemstones.
If you’re not having much luck at finding opals, you can also simply head to the Desert Cave Hotel to hopefully win big. This resort not only features a number of suites that are located underground, it also offers up an underground gambling den fitted with around 16 slot machines, or “pokies” as they call them Down Under.
The hotel claims to have the world’s only underground bar and gaming room. Also underground, you’ll find a restaurant, billiards room, and the Opal Experience where you can learn about and purchase local opals.
There is also a fascinating exhibit that explains Coober Pedy’s history of opal mining and how the locals manage to live underground in this neck of the woods to avoid the oppressive heat and high winds.
Sun City Resort: South Africa
While simply walking along the Vegas Strip can be a wild experience filled with all kinds of eccentric characters, you can surround yourself with truly wild creatures at South Africa’s Sun City Resort about two hours outside Johannesburg.
Sun City is actually a collection of resorts and hotels that are all situated on the same site. It includes the Soho Hotel, The Cabanas, The Cascades, and the extravagant and ultra-impressive Palace of the Lost City.
Think of the resort as being the love child of Disney World and Las Vegas, with the Palace of the Lost City resembling Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge with its wildlife-themed decor but with real live wild African animals roaming just steps from the resort.
In addition to the resort’s casino which offers up progressive slot machines, roulette, and card tables, they regularly host beauty pageants and big name concerts.
Sun City is also home to two championship golf courses, tennis courts, a giant pool, and the Waterworld water park set on a man-made lake which offers up jet skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing, and tube rides.
+ Pilanesberg National Park
The real highlight of the resort, however, is the fact it borders Pilanesberg National Park where each of Africa’s Big 5 animals live including the elephant, rhinoceros, lion, leopard, and Cape buffalo.
There are also over 300 species of birds as well as hyenas, kudu, wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, cheetahs, and more. You can explore the reserve in your own vehicle or book a guided safari tour.
You can also opt for a hot air balloon safari for a truly unique perspective or get close to giant Nile Crocodiles at the Kwena Gardens Crocodile Sanctuary near the entrance to the resort.
The resort may look familiar to many since it was the main filming location for the comedy blockbuster Blended featuring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
Image credit: South African Tourism (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
North Cadbury Court: Somerset, England
If you fancy having your very own private casino, look no further than North Cadbury Court set in the southern English countryside west of London. A stay at this 25 bedroom, 21 bathroom estate doesn’t come cheap though.
A one night midweek stay can run a minimum £6,000, while a two night weekend stay can set you back as much as £18,000.
The original building, for which there are still visible traces left, is said to date back to the 14th century. The mansion has seen a number of renovations and additions over the years, bringing it to the glory that it displays today.
The casino is housed in the underground cellar room and features authentic full-size casino tables where you can enjoy poker, black jack, and roulette. There are actually local croupiers, or people who runs the gaming tables, brought in to run things during your stay.
The small casino can accommodate around 30 people, but the crowd size simply depends on how many people you choose to stay with during your stay.
If you’re not much of a gambler, there are plenty of other activities to keep you amused during your stay. The estate is home to a mix of hard and grass tennis courts, mini 3-hole golf course, equestrian facilities, croquet lawn, archery, and lakes where you can fish and kayak.
There’s also plenty of space to roam among the thousands of acres of orchards and woodlands.
Inside the mansion, you’ll find a glorious dining hall with table that can seat over 40 people, indoor pool and sauna, gym, snooker room, and ballroom. You can even arrive in style via private jet or helicopter as there is a helipad and small runway.
Casino Pyongyang: Pyongyang, North Korea
It may be many years before North Korea becomes a trending travel destination, but it does have a bit of tourism, albeit tightly controlled by the government.
You may also be surprised to learn that North Korea has a few casinos, especially surprising given that gambling is illegal for North Korean citizens.
One such foreigner-only casino can be found at the Yanggakdo International Hotel, one of the main hotels visited by foreign tourists and the largest in Pyongyang.
The casino largely caters to Chinese gamblers and is actually owned and operated by the Chinese. You’ll find Egyptian-themed Casino Pyongyang in the basement of the hotel.
What you won’t find in the casino is any alcohol since it is banned, nor will you encounter any North Koreans as they are not even allowed to enter the casino. What you will find are gaming tables offering baccarat, blackjack, and poker.
In addition to the casino, the hotel offers a massage center, pool, small bowling alley, karaoke, billiards, and ping pong tables. The other casino in North Korea can be found at the Imperial Hotel & Casino in Rason.
Until COVID gets under control though you won’t be allowed to visit either casinos. North Korea closed its borders to tourists in early 2020 because of the pandemic and tourism has not been allowed to resume still to this date.
Casino di Venezia: Venice, Italy
If you like your casinos aged like a fine red wine, you can’t do any better than Casino di Venezia which claims to be the world’s oldest. Situated on Venice’s Grand Canal, you can arrive in style via gondola or water taxi.
The casino is said to have launched a gambling craze in Venice when it opened its doors in 1638. It is housed in a palace known as Ca’ Vendramin Calergi which is where the legendary German composer Richard Wagner once visited and actually passed away.
Today, there is a fine dining restaurant dedicated to Wagner as well as the Wagner Museum which exhibits numerous artifacts relating to the composer such as signed letters, musical scores, and paintings.
As for the elegant casino, it is spread over three floors. You can try your luck at slots on the first floor, put on your poker face on the second floor, and make wagers at various table games on the third floor.