There are a million and one possible reasons why people decide to travel including having the chance to experience different cultures, to revel in the beautiful diversity of nature – or even to gather material to start up a travel blog. But the one thing that almost everyone who packs a suitcase or pulls on a backpack wants from their travels is to have the chance to enjoy a little excitement.
For some this will be going bungee jumping in New Zealand, for others it will be heading for Pamplona for the traditional running of the bulls. But for many it will be having the chance to try their luck in some of the world’s most famous casinos. Visiting these places is a chance to rub shoulders with a truly diverse group of people in an environment that is glamorous, exciting and full of promise.
When it comes to where to find the world’s best casinos there’s also plenty of choice across the continents – as you’ll see from the selection below. Of course, you don’t have to gamble when you visit these casinos, you can just pop in for a drink if you like. But having a small wager on the roulette table or popping a few coins in a slots machine won’t bust your budget. If your luck’s in it could even give it a boost.
So, let’s start with the big one, the place that is so linked with gambling that it’s long held the title as being the global capital of the activity. It’s a very different city to the one that existed in the 1950s and 60s when Sinatra and his Rat Pack defined its identity as a place to party hard while remaining casual and cool. Although, this era helped Vegas to gain the reputation it has today, and it is still viewed upon fondly by fans of gambling, 777 Casino have even taken advantage of this and modelled their entire website design on 1950’s Vegas, ensuring there is an emotional trip down memory lane for anyone that visits this splendid online casino.
Today, Vegas is brash, bright and loud with all the biggest casinos grouped along the legendary Strip. The names conjure exotic and historic images – Caesars Palace, The Bellagio, Luxor Las Vegas are cases in point. But they’re free to enter and a definite experience. If you’re planning to stay in Vegas you’ll find they’re also very expensive, but if you’re prepared to move a little outside the centre there are plenty of perfectly decent hotels and motels where you can get a room for under $40 a night.
You won’t find a bigger contrast in the world than the one between Las Vegas and Monaco. Where the former is an orgy of neon and noise, the latter is the epitome of European style and calm. That’s the way the exceptionally wealthy of the principality like to keep it, and it’s why so many of them depart for the weekend in May when the famous Grand Prix comes to town.
The other big draw for tourists – locals aren’t allowed to play in it – is the casino. Built in 1863 to a design modelled on the Paris Opera by architect Charles Garnier, it’s worth visiting to wonder at its intricate Belle Epoque architecture, not to mention the sleek and shiny supercars that you’ll see parked outside by the super-rich clientele. A tour or the casino costs only €17 and for just €3 more you’ll be given access to the gaming rooms. In the Salle des Amériques and the Salle Renaissance you’ll find plenty of slots to play. If you want a taste of true glamour then the minimum stake on the roulette tables is €5 – and if your number comes up that could win you a very handy €175.
No visit to New South Wales is complete without making the trip from Sydney down to Melbourne. It’s also the perfect way to compare and contrast the two cities. The former is undoubtedly the more modern and cosmopolitan, not to mention having more specific tourist attractions. However, Melbourne is where you’ll find more old-world charm and a marginally less frenetic pace of life. It’s also quite a bit cheaper in terms of accommodation with a 2-star hotel costing around $100 AUS a night.
While it might not seem to be the most obvious place for gamblers to make a bee line for, it does have a casino that is well worth a look. The Crown Casino boasts that it is the biggest in the Southern hemisphere and occupies a prime position on the banks of the Yarra River. It covers an area of 510,000 square metres, that’s about the size of two city blocks, and has every casino game you could ever want to play.
For horseracing fans November is undoubtedly the time to visit as that’s when Australia’s premier flat race, the Melbourne Cup, is run. It’s as much a social event as a sporting one – but with the cheapest ticket at $90 AUS it’ll cost you almost as much as a night’s accommodation to experience it for yourself.
Off to South Africa for our final stop on our tour and the incredible development that is Sun City. During the apartheid era it became notorious when performers including Queen, Liza Minelli and Elton John flouted the cultural boycott and played there. But that’s all forgotten now, leaving behind an incredible playground that almost defies belief thanks to the stunning surroundings.
At its heart is the Sun City Casino Resort. First opened in 1979 by Sun International, the gaming floors cover 125,000 square feet and are as plush as you’d expect from such a high-profile location. There are no less than four hotels that provide the, admittedly very expensive, accommodation for the resort so you’d be better advised to check out one of the many B&Bs and guest houses nearby where you can enjoy a warm welcome and a comfortable bed for the equivalent of around £40 a night.
So now you’ve read where to go it’s time to get your travel plans together, pack your lucky rabbit’s foot and head off on a gambling adventure – and may all your games be winning ones!