SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - If you are feeling a bit flush after the tax return, have enjoyed a windfall or are just a keen gambler, then a visit to one of world’s top gaming destinations might be on the cards.
For those who enjoy hitting the tables, rolling the dice or making the most of what you’re dealt online travel company Expedia (www.expedia.com) offers its top 10 places for splashing the cash. Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1. Monte Carlo, Monaco
Perched above the Mediterranean and bounded by the French and Italian coastlines on either side, Monaco provides a spectacular and luxurious setting for the wealthy and the wannabees. Home to the Monaco Grand Prix and the legendary Casino de Monte Carlo, this isn’t the place for those on a tight budget. The magnificent Casino hosts the annual European Poker Tour and was also the scene of several James Bond Films, including the original “Casino Royale” and “Golden Eye.”
2. Paradise Island, Bahamas
Located just off the shore of the city of Nassau, Paradise Island is best known for its sprawling ‘Vegas-by-the-sea’ resort, Atlantis. The resort spans seven acres along a lagoon, where guests can soak up the Caribbean sun and choose from a variety of outdoor gaming areas. When in need of a break from the tables, guests can enjoy the private beach or one of the resort’s 20 sunlit pools.
3. Melbourne, Australia
As Australia’s sporting and entertainment capital, Melbourne offers the perfect option for high rollers looking for a local break. Aussies need look no further than Crown Casino on the southern bank of the Yarra River, which is one of the largest casino complexes in the southern hemisphere. The main gambling floor stretches more than half a kilometer and the casino was the first to introduce the new game Rapid Roulette, which allows players to place bets on a personal electronic touch screen connected to a central roulette wheel.
4. Macau, China
Known as the ‘Monte Carlo of the Orient,’ and the gambling capital of Asia, Macau now rivals Monaco and Las Vegas as one of the premier gambling destinations in the world. With no less than 33 casinos, in addition to local horse and greyhound racing venues, Macau is perfect for the betting junkie. The Wynn Macau casino is a standout, highlighted by 24-carat gold ‘Tree of Prosperity’ at the entrance, extravagant water displays and Moon Jellyfish Aquarium at reception.
5. Baden-Baden, Germany
Situated on the western foothills of the Black Forest and on the banks of the Oos River, Baden-Baden is not your typical casino town. However, in addition to its hot springs and picturesque countryside, the town is also known for its 200-year-old ‘Spielbank’ casino - the oldest of its type in Germany. With French chateau-style salons rooms named after historical figures such as Madame Pompadour and Louis XV’s mistress, the quirky casino provides visitors with a very unique gaming experience.
6. Las Vegas, United States
With over 1700 licensed casinos in operation, Las Vegas offers the ultimate package for travelers who fancy a flutter. A visit to the famous ‘Strip’ is a must for any player, whether they’re looking for a spin on the roulette table or a game of blackjack - this city has it all. The iconic Caesar’s Palace hotel and casino offers 129,000 square feet of casino space plus an endless smorgasbord of entertainment, shopping and fine dining options, including Cleopatra’s barge, a floating lounge perfect for a relaxing drink after a jam-packed night on the casino floor.
7. Manila, The Philippines
With a favorable exchange rate, Manila provides great value for Aussies wanting to live the high-life overseas. The city offers a range of shopping and entertainment options, along with a world-class casino at the Hyatt Hotel. Spread across three levels, the sparkling casino offers the newest in gaming facilities for both hotel guests and visitors, and is just a short distance from Manila’s tourist hub.
8. Sun City, South Africa
Known as ‘Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure,’ this luxury resort and casino complex, just two hours from Johannesburg, boasts two large casinos, two 18-hole golf courses and a wildlife reserve. At the extravagant yet picturesque Palace of the Lost City, guests are treated to stunning valley views from the guestrooms, along with exclusive access to the Grand Pool. The nearby Sun City Casino is the entertainment Mecca of the resort, featuring a myriad of gaming options as well as an indoor jungle of native foliage and water fountains.
9. Atlantic City, United States
Regarded as the US’s ‘Las Vegas of the East’, Atlantic City in New Jersey is renowned for its gambling, shopping and fine dining. Towering above the banks of the Atlantic Ocean, the Trump Taj Mahal casino is an icon of the city, with an on-site shopping district and an abundance of restaurants and bars. The 157,000 square-foot casino is also hard to miss, with 3,500 slot machines and 200 table games. Unveiled in 1990 by a number of celebrities, including the late Michael Jackson, the casino is the second-largest in Atlantic City and well worth a visit.
10. Genting Highlands, Malaysia
Nestled on the Titiwangsa mountain range, just an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur and 6,000 feet above sea level, the Resorts World Genting offers 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside. This spectacular resort has first-class accommodation, dining and entertainment, while avoiding the hustle and bustle of a capital city. The on-site casino, which covers 200,000 square feet, is Malaysia’s sole gaming venue and is divided into separate themed areas, such as Hollywood and Monte Carlo, for the ultimate gambling experience.
Edited by Paul Casciato