Nothing beats the thrill of a casino. The sound of coins and chips clashing together on tables and slot machines.
The inaudible chatter amongst players. The buzz you feel as you walk along the short carpet towards your game of choice. Whether you play table games like roulette or blackjack or prefer online slot games, casinos are vibrant and exciting. They also turnover billions of pounds, dollars, and Euros so it’s important that they give the right image. And that usually means extravagance and unparalleled experiences.
Here is a list of five of the best casinos in the world.
The Hippodrome Casino
We start in London and the Hippodrome Casino, the newest casino in the list. The building was originally used a theatre before it became a nightclub owned by the late Peter Stringfellow. Its lease ran out in 2009 and father-son entrepreneurs Jimmy and Simon Thomas transformed it into a casino.
The pair went to great lengths to restore the building back to its original design at a cost of over £40 million, raised from the sale of a number of bingo halls. The Hippodrome Casino opened in 2012 with four floors of gaming, a restaurant, six bars, and a cabaret theatre.
According to its website, the Hippodrome has “the widest range of world-class casino table gaming, electronic games, slots and poker facilities in the UK” with a host of table games on offer.
Casino de Monte-Carlo
Any casino associated with James Bond and George Clooney is a casino worth visiting. It is, of course, the Monte Carlo Casino or Casino de Monte-Carlo. The gambling and entertainment complex features the aforementioned casino, a theatre, and the office of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. While it is publicly owned, the Monaco government and royal family have a majority share. Because of this, the casino had been the primary source of income for the municipality’s economy until recently.
As for the games, you can play a variety of table games including Texas Hold‘em Ultimate, craps and Trente et Quarante, a card game with a RTP of more than 98%. And there are nearly 1000 slot machines on offer with minimum bets of €0.01. At time of writing, the total wins at the casino have reached nearly €246m (~£211.8m).
Casino do Estoril
Portugal isn’t really known for its casinos but its capital region has two of the biggest in Europe. The Estoril Casino lies on the Cascais coast, less than 20 miles away from Lisbon, boasting gorgeous views and a fantastic entertainment experience. Casino Estoril is one of the largest in Europe (some say it is the largest but it depends how you define “big”) and it’s not hard to see why.
The casino itself can hold 1000 people, regularly hosts major international conferences, and has a modern auditorium where all kinds of music and theatre shows are held. It’s Chinese restaurant serves authentic Guangdong cuisine and its art gallery is one of the most prestigious in the country (and believe me, there are plenty of esteemed art collections on the Portuguese Riviera).
Inside the casino itself, there are over 700 slot machines and table games including roulette, blackjack, baccarat, Banca Francesa (a Portuguese dice game), and Caribbean stud poker, which sees you play against the house rather than other players.
Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas
The Hangover, Rain Man, Dreamgirls, Iron Man, The Guilt Trip, Friends. What do they all have in common? They all filmed scenes at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. So without being a casino lover, you’ll probably have experienced an element of it at some point in your life.
The casino hotel complex was established in 1966 to emulate Roman living. It achieve the aesthetic, Caesar’s Palace has replica columns and statues including a 20-foot Augustus Caesar near the entrance. There’s 130,000 square feet to cover (out of 300,000), filled with tables of all the standard casino games including Spanish 21 and Pai Gow. And if you’re bored of tables games, there are over 1300 slot machines, both regular and video as well as progressive jackpots and video poker.
Away from the gambling, the hotel hosts live music with residencies from Elton John, Celine Dion, and Mariah Carey amongst others. There have also been some large sports event held in the complex such as Caesars Palace Grand Prix (a former F1 grand prix), boxing matches featuring George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Muhammad Ali, and wrestling pay-per-views.
The Venetian Macao
And finally, the big one. The Venetian Macao cover 10,500,000 square feet, making it the largest casino in the world. That’s nearly 1500 soccer pitches! And like many of the others, it’s a hotel/casino resort with 3,400 slot machines, 800 gambling tables, and a 15,000-seat arena for entertainment and sports events. The latter held The Venetian Macao Tennis Showdown in 2007, where Pete Sampras beat Roger Federer in straight sets (he lost the previous two matches in the exhibition series).
All the usual table games can be played over the 800 tables on display. But two you might not have heard of are sands stud poker and sic bo. The former Sands Stud Poker is a poker variant based on standard five card stud. Where you play against the house, much like Estoril’s Caribbean Stud. You can either wager on the jackpot or against the Dealer’s hand for a chance to win the Mystery Prize. Sic bo is a game of chance played with three dice. Depending on what you bet on, the house edge can be as high as 47.2% or as low as 2.78%.
There you have it – 5 casinos over 3 continents, covering nearly 11m square feet of floor space. Each one is magnificent in its own right and they all offer fantastic experiences beyond the regular slot machine or table game. As most major casinos are part of hotel complexes, it’s never just putting your coin into a machine and trying your look – it’s about immersing yourself in luxury for at least a day (and night). That is, if you can afford it!