Casinos. Palaces of playing pleasure or edifices to excess and tackiness? Whatever your feelings on the land-based venues that bring us our favourite games, one thing cannot be denied – they are here to stay. In every country and city that allows legal gambling, the casino is a huge drawcard for visitors. In some places there are so many casinos that they have to go to extreme lengths to try and stand out – places like Vegas and Macao, for example, where ever-grander and more ostentatious buildings rise over the skyline to try and outdo their competitors.
But does having a bazillion floors in your building make you the best casino? Or even a good casino?
The CasinoPlay.com crew did a virtual world tour to find the best casino in the world. And during our search we realised that it’s not actually all about the gambling. Surprise!
If you were suddenly stuck with only ever going to one casino for the rest of your life, what would be your criteria for choosing? We looked at the biggest casinos, the boldest casinos, the brightest casinos, the oldest casinos. We considered the environment of the casino, the games on offer, the décor, the potential fellow gamblers. We even looked at what else was on offer. And that was our ‘eureka’ moment, our ‘aha’ – the best casino in the world has to offer more than a slot machine and a poker table, it has to offer us things to do when we take a break from our favourite pastime, it has to offer us an environment where we can relax and unwind if we’ve had a stressful time at the tables, it has to offer us choices!
Choices for playing, choices for staying, and choices for bringing our family along for some good times if we feel like it.
In no particular order, our runners up for best casino in the world:
This is a casino that seems to have it all: all the games, all the nightlife, all the views.
Ibiza was once the party capital of the world and not much has changed over the past few years. It is crammed with nightclubs and has a permanent party vibe, the views over the Mediterranean are gorgeous and the 5-star treatment (if you can afford the luxury) at the Ibiza Gran Hotel is nothing short of exceptional.
And in the Ibiza Gran Hotel is the Casino de Ibiza with a Gaming Room offering roulette, blackjack, Casino Stud poker and Texas Hold’em cash games. There are over 100 slot machines, including super jackpots, in the Slots Room.
Casino de Ibiza also has a very exclusive Privé area for high stakes table games or slot machines that allow you to play for quite a bit more than the ordinary reel spinners.
Good selection of games
High quality games
Professional set up and staff
A fair amount to do other than gambling if you like soaking up the sun and partying like a rock star
Party people everywhere
Not incredibly family friendly (being a party destination for students and travellers)
Quite isolated being on an island in the Med
Operating hours are only late at night (from 9pm to 1am)
Surprisingly, the USA’s biggest casinos are not in Las Vegas. The biggest casino in America is the WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma, followed by the Foxwoods Casino Resort in Ledyard, Connecticut which lost the ‘biggest’ title to WinStar in 2013.
But Foxwoods makes our list because it really goes out of its way to offer a ‘family-friendly’ experience and bring in more than just a big gaming floor.
Foxwoods Casino Resort is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and offers players everything they could desire: SIX casinos spread over an 840,000m2 resort, over 250 tables (offering poker, blackjack, baccarat, roulette, sic bo, pai gow and more), more than 5,500 slot machines, and your choice of 2,288 hotel rooms for when you want to get some shut eye.
Families are a big part of Foxwoods audience and non-gamblers are well-catered for with a variety of quality dining options, bars, pools, theatres, stand-up comedy venues and even an in-house brewery. Kids and teens have an expansive arcade area, zip-lining and go-karting to keep them occupied.
So many things to do
Family and child friendly
Six casino options
A LOT of high, quality games
Lots of hotel rooms that range from affordable to VIP
Many things for the gambler but child options can become boring quickly
Very much in the business of casinos so quite corporate
Any casino that consistently makes the list of both oldest casinos in the world and most opulent casinos in the world surely deserves a spot on the best casinos in the world list.
Kurhaus of Baden-Baden is that casino. Started in the misty, bygone days of 1824, Kurhaus of Baden-Baden has always been known as a place of exclusivity and decadence. It has attracted some of the most famous and glamourous people of the last 200 years through its doors and none other than Marlene Dietrich described it as “the most beautiful casino in the world”.
What sets it apart from the modern mega-resorts like Foxwoods is its genuine air of elegance and history. Many of the fittings and rooms have remained unchanged over the last two centuries. The grounds themselves are beautiful not because they are maintained and designed but because they are a natural part of an incredibly beautiful part of the world. And the building is so not an elegant, palace-like façade – it IS an elegant palace, one that offers a select selection of tables and slots.
Oozing class and elegance – and opulence
Small and intimate
An actual historic place
Small but really high-end selection of tables and slots
Very exclusive vibe means you’re afraid to touch anything in case you break it – and have to pay for it
Limited selection of non-gambling options
While not a destination that immediately springs to mind, London is home to some pretty prestigious casinos. As the birthplace of the ‘gentleman’s club’ – those olde days bastions to misogyny and the refuge of the upper-class twit – London could also be seen as the city where gambling salons really began to take off. The British love of having a punt, whether on the ponies or on the dogs or on various sporting and casino-related games, is well-known and a city of the size and history of London would have to have a casino befitting its stature.
This casino is The Empire – an ode to the casino arts with over 5,000 of the world’s most popular games. From slots to poker, from American roulette to Pai Gow tiles, visitors to the West End are always welcome to step into the ultra-slick Empire Casino and try their luck.
The Empire poker room is also the regular venue for World Series of Poker Events so you’re likely to see big name players frequenting this high-end casino.
Two stories of gaming floors
Over 5,000 games
Tables and slots
Established and respected
In the centre of all that London and the West End has to offer
No other offerings apart from bars and restaurants
No under-18s so definitely no kiddie-friendly options
Not much to see other than casino
What more can you say about Monte Carlo than what has already been said in books, movies and gambling culture?
For one, even though it’s one of the oldest casinos around and a testament to the lifestyles of the obscenely wealthy, it’s just set in such a spectacular location it’s beyond words.
Sure, the casino is a great casino, with all the games and casino accoutrements you could wish for but, seriously, have you seen the south of France?
There’s a reason that Monaco has the highest concentration of the fabulous, the famous, and the filthy rich in the world.
The Casino de Monte Carlo certainly is no slouch when it comes to showing what a true casino has to offer: elegance and luxury throughout are part and parcel of this famous house of chance. Casino de Monte Carlo offers a medium sized selection of table games like poker, blackjack, roulette and craps and a select selection of slot machines. While it may seem small, there are actually four casinos that make up the ‘casino centre’ of Monaco although Casino de Monte Carlo is the most famous one.
And, in case you are wondering why four casinos seems special, that’s four world-class casinos in a principality whose entire land area is only 2.1km2 in total.
Monte Carlo, baby!
Seriously, this is the poster for luxurious and opulent living
The boasting rights
Not very child-friendly
You will feel poor
When you think of a casino resort, you think of a world of entertainment – and Resorts World Sentosa certainly delivers. This is one of the primo destinations for family vacations with a little casino action thrown in.
The casino almost seems like an afterthought when you have six hotels offering rooms as diverse as suites, tree-top accommodation or even underwater adventures – really, you can get a room where the bedroom window is actually an underwater window into the oceanarium so you can see all the fishes and marine life from the comfort of your bed. Add in a Marine Life Park with the world’s 2nd biggest oceanarium, a water park, and a Universal Studios theme park and you have adventure and excitement for the whole family for weeks!
And they haven’t left out the gamblers. Beneath Crockfords Tower, an 11-storey all-suite hotel, is the Sentosa Casino. With 15,000m2 of acreage, 2,400 slot machines and 500 table games, you will have all the fun you need while your family rushes around the theme parks. That is, if you’re not willing to give those Universal Studios rollercoasters a workout.
A true entertainment destination
A huge selection of games
A ton of things to do away from the casino
It’s packed with families
If you are just there to gamble you may begin feeling a little overwhelmed
So far we have seen some of the best and most famous casinos that offer players a unique and thrilling experience. What really stands out are two things: 1) to be the best you need more than just a gambling offering, you need a superb environment in a sought-after location and, 2) if we hit a lotto or progressive jackpot with a life-changing win we are definitely going to travel the world and spend time in every one of these casinos!
But we haven’t quite reached THE best casino in the world. We’ve seen the runners up, the almost-bestest, the competitors – but you’ll need to wait just a little longer for the Big Kahuna. The best casino in the world Part 2 will be coming your way shortly.