Gambling has been around for absolute ages – there’s evidence of gambling from pre-civilization times although the rules and games are lost to time – and our love of games of chance goes beyond borders, cultures, languages, and traditions. It’s something that seems built into our human DNA, this willingness to take risks, to put everything on the line for the chance at riches or success. Maybe it’s related to having to go out and give your all for the survival of the clan back in the hunter-gatherer days. Maybe it’s got something to do with our development of pattern recognition to achieve our goals during those same long-ago days.
Whatever the reasons, gambling is something that we can find in every country, on every continent across the world. There are countries that have outlawed gambling activities. There are countries that have put strict regulations in place to control the gambling industry. And there are countries and territories that have opened their arms – and their casino doors – to those lovers of the arts of chance. But, with the growth of the internet and online casinos, it is becoming ever easier for players to find a trusted and legit place to put down their cash and bet on the outcome of the reels or the cards or the wheel.
Even though we love the allure of online gambling, there’s still that special something that comes from heading out of our comfort zone and into the glitzy atmosphere of a brick-and-mortar casino. The CasinoPlay.com crew put our collective internet sleuthing skills to the test to find the best land-based casinos on each of the seven continents. Seeing as the gambling arts are spread far and wide, we wanted to know where we would find the best betting experiences for the global traveller and the international player.
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 casinos in the world have to offer more than a slot machine and a poker table, they have to offer the complete experience – entertainment, eating, sightseeing, sleeping, the full house of everything to keep us entertained.
And we found some stunning palaces to the pursuits of probability for all the players out there!
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.
An award-winning casino megaplex in the heart of Santa Fe, City Centre Rosario offers everything a gambler could look for: a great venue, ample rooms for staying, amazing eateries 9in a country famous for its beef quality), and a genuinely impressive gambling floor.
City Centre Rosario is famous and awarded for both its casino games and its regular tournaments that cover everything from poker to slots. The modern and stylish complex attracts visitors from all over the world, including being the venue for soccer start Lionel Messi’s wedding – so you know you’re going to get a five-star experience.
Casino de Monte Carlo just beats out the historic Kurhouse in Baden-Baden in Germany and the immense The Empire in London to take the title of best casino in Europe. Honestly, 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.
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 – and it’s why Resorts World Sentosa pips The Venetian Macao for our top Asian destination.
The Venetian Macao is a true behemoth of a casino we admit. The 2nd biggest casino in the world, the centrepiece of the gambling mecca of Macau, more slots and tables than you can throw a private jet full of high-rollers at – but, for sheer thrills away from the gambling floor, you can’t beat Resorts World Sentosa.
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 room. 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.
Australia is a continent on its own, but we included the various regions into this category to include New Zealand and the outlying areas and islands that make up Oceania. Australia still topped the list.
The Land Down Under has a fair dinkum love of gambling. There’s a local saying that if two flies are crawling up the wall in a pub, the Australians will bet on the outcome. It comes as no surprise that this competitive nation will host one of the biggest casino resorts in the Southern Hemisphere – Crown Casino in Melbourne.
While the casino itself is impressive, the bigger draw comes from the location. Melbourne is a stunning city, very artsy and bohemian with an amazing food and coffee culture and a temperate climate with easy access to the ocean and beaches as well as the great Yarra River and the outdoor activities on offer.
It ranks consistently highly in the Living Index and, for lovers of gambling, has Australia’s crown Jewel of games of chance – Crown Casino.
The resort itself is huge, with plenty of hotel space (economy to uber luxury), various high end retail outlets, a bunch of restaurants from fast food to haute cuisine, and the casino floor itself all within its 510,000m2 area. That’s TWO city blocks worth of entertainment destination!
This South African icon is truly the best casino in the world when you take into account everything it has to offer: quality, location, amenities, extras, gambling, family-friendly, dining, staying, and so much more.
Where else can you spend your nights gambling and your days soaking up the African sun? Or choose to stay in über-luxury accommodation or a fun, self-catered cottage where you can do your own thing? Where else can you enjoy next-gen gaming one minute and a drive through a Big 5 nature reserve the next?
Sun City has it all and more. From the various hotels that offer every level of accommodation to its incredible surrounding. The Palace of the Lost City sits in the middle of a 25-hectare man-made botanical garden. The Valley of the Waves is practically a man-made ocean with waves and slides and so much fun we want to scream!
This casino resort, the vision of the man who made Atlantis – Sol Kerzner, is famous for a reason. Not only does it have everything, it also wraps it all into a warm, friendly, and decidedly not-only-gamblers-welcome package. Kerzner’s vision of an oasis for the whole family is more than accomplished, it has expanded into a destination visited by thousands every month from all over the world.
The opulence of the Palace at the Lost City cannot be understated. The fittings and furniture, for example, are almost exclusively handcrafted. It features a mural that took 5,000 hours to paint by hand. And it’s apparently the world largest themed resort hotel!
But, just a short walk away, is a world where things are simpler and more affordable. And yet still gives the gambler and the family access to all the fun and entertainment they are looking for.
It also features two world-famous and world-class golf courses (watch out for crocodiles?).
And when it comes to world-class, the casino offers the highest quality games and services for gamblers from every level of experience with over 850 slot machines and 40 dedicated gambling tables.
Truly a testament to Sol Kerzner’s ambition for quality, attention to details and a resort that offers something for everyone.
Absolutely nothing to report here, although the inhabitants of McMurdo Station are known to enjoy a hand of cards every now and then. Great PR opportunity for someone to host a high stakes, first of its kind World Series poker event?
Bit of a chilly spot though.
Seeing as Antarctic left us a little cold on the casino front, we chose to head to a warmer clime to add in one more casino that should be on the must-visit list – Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
Sorry hipsters, there’s not even a hint of irony in the name Paradise Island. Situated in the idyllic paradise of the Bahamas, this casino resort is, in a word, spectacular. One of the final projects of visionary hotelier Sol Kerzner, Atlantis Paradise Island is a fitting epitaph to the man who knew how to put on a show – and where to place it.
Like Resorts World Sentosa, Atlantis Paradise Island is truly a getaway destination for the whole family. Unlike Resorts World Sentosa, Atlantis Paradise Island is a place where you can take a step back, soak up the Caribbean lifestyle, unwind and recharge – and still have a thrilling time at the casino or in the surrounding resort.
Not only is Atlantis Paradise Island in the middle of one of the most desirable destinations in the world, it’s also in the middle of one of the most awesome waterparks in the world: Aquaventure. Aquaventure is 154 acres of fresh and saltwater lagoons, pools, marine habitats (including an incredible Bottlenose Dolphin rehabilitation centre), river rides and water slides. It even has a slide that takes you through the middle of a shark-infested lagoon!
On the stay and play side you have an incredible number of choices when it comes to the hotels and cabanas, from family-friendly and affordable to the top-tier, money is no option suites. The Bridge Suite in the Royal Tower is listed as the 10th most expensive hotel suite in the world at $25,000 per night.
The casino, as with every casino that the Sun King was ever involved in, offers the highest quality games and croupiers for discerning players – with a laid-back Caribbean vibe everywhere. Playing at the Atlantis Paradise Island Casino is as much about relaxing and having fun as the pristine white sand beaches and turquoise waters that surround it. There are 85 gaming tables offering poker, blackjack, baccarat, craps, and roulette and over 800 slot machines to keep you enthralled when you’re not snorkelling or sipping cocktails poolside or strolling the gorgeous beaches at sunset.
And there you have it, the top casino on each continent (in our humble opinions anyway). There are bigger casinos, there are better locations, there is a greater history, but these casinos are the ones that get our feet itching to do a little travelling and some gambling in different currencies!
We hope you enjoyed our little travel fantasy!