Most Popular Gambling Destinations in the World
With world class entertainment, exceptional food and drinks and of course the opportunity to win some serious money, it's no wonder so many people visit casinos as part of their holiday. With an almost guaranteed level of service and an environment geared towards having a good time, casinos are the ideal place to both relax and unwind or have some no holds barred fun when you away travelling.
Casino-themed holidays are the choice of many, there is an appeal to drinking with friends on a package holiday while visiting some of the most famous casinos in the world, possibly getting lucky.
Check out our guide to some of the most popular gambling destinations in the world and also the economic impact on the local economies.
Las Vegas, USA
Las Vegas is the most famous casino hotspot in the world, a city pretty much founded on casino gambling. With almost 40 million visitors last year bringing in just under $10 billion in revenue, casino tourism is a phenomenon which isn't exactly new but is still growing. Clark County (where Las Vegas is located) saw a 1.5% increase in visitors last year, a figure which set grow again in by the end of year.
The impact of casinos on tourism is very hard to measure, there is little hard evidence on the subject, however, Vegas is an exception to this rule, the amount of casinos in the area and the reputation it has makes it easy to calculate. In 2016, 73% of visitors to Vegas, this 73% spent an average of 2.9 hours gambling per day. The average gambling budget was a staggering $578.54.
Exploiting Loophopes to Gamble in the US
Most cruises accommodate casinos
Did you know in certain US states gambling is completely restricted, but by venturing several miles out to sea and into international waters, tourists can gamble until their hearts are content without any restrictions. Now, most major cruise ships have a casino on board as part of the entertainment package, allowing tourists to get the most of being out of governmental control.
Outside the US
The US isn't alone either. Europe has had resorts like Monte Carlo and Monaco for a long time, but it is the emerging markets in Asia that are changing the whole dynamic of international gambling. Despite strict government controls, the emerging middle class in China is driving a demand for more gambling outlets, with spending on the state-run lottery topping $60 million last year. This figure is dwarfed massively by the amount spent in China's casino haven neighbour however.
Macau - China's Answer to Vegas
Macau is without a doubt the Far East's premier gambling destination. A former Portuguese colony that has autonomy not far from the situation in Hong Kong, Macau is China's answer to Las Vegas. Although it was long a haunt for the upper classes and expats heading across from Hong Kong for some gambling, Macau is becoming a bit more mainstream, offering the 'everything under one roof' solution seen in places like Las Vegas and Singapore.
In fact, demand for overnight stays and casino trips is so massive that the Chinese government is currently building a gigantic road bridge that stretches from Hong Kong all the way to Macau, reducing journey times significantly and providing a link from the tourist-heavy Disneyland and Chek Lap Kok international airport. Macau’s average gaming revenue per visitor is between $1,200–$1800, this figure is roughly 8–10 times higher than the Las Vegas Strip’s average gaming revenue per visitor. The majority of Macau’s gambling revenue comes from VIP gamblers.
A breakdown of tourists visiting China
Japan is also on the cusp of becoming a casino haven too. After years of having a contradictory system where gambling was banned outright, despite there being plenty of horse racetracks and Pachinko parlours, the government agreed to allow licenses for casinos. Although we won't see the first resorts until the 2020s, Japan could become a competitor for Macau, Singapore and even Las Vegas.
A classic Pachinko parlour in Japan
Europeans are spoilt for choice when it comes to their casino options. There are a number of casinos that certainly aren’t as famous as the ones in Vegas or Macau, but they include features that ensure they stand out from the crowd. The Casino Kuban in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria is a favourite of both professional and amateur players. Throughout the summer months, Sunny Beach is the chosen location for young groups of friends, the 24/7 casino ensures that they can visit when they aren’t busy drinking. The casino covers 10,760 square foot of gaming space, features 120 gaming machines and eight table and poker games.
The Casino Kuban, Sunny Beach
Slovenia is another European country with some severely underrated casinos. Casino Bled is the most popular and it is little wonder why. The casino covers 10,760 square feet and features 85 gaming machines. It is particularly famous for hosting American Roulette, the 9 tables mean that there is plenty of room for everyone, even at peak times.
Inside the Casino Bled
Belgrade is the home of the largest luxury complex in Serbia. The Grand Casino Belgrade opened in 2008, it is a part of an international chain of casinos and is owned by both the Club Hotel Loutraki and the State Lottery of Serbia. The fact that it is just 7 minutes away from the city centre guarantees that it attracts both tourists and locals. As with many of the casinos previously mentioned, it is more than just a casino, it offer restaurants, bars, lounges, a multifunctional event hall and luxury shops. There are 230 slot machines as well as facilities for roulette, blackjack and poker.
Land-based casinos in the UK face competition from online casinos
Although the demand for new casino resorts is growing, it isn't just 'real world' locations that are raking in the cash. In the UK for example, which has a strong gambling market worth £13.8 billion, almost a third of that revenue comes from the online gambling industry. Physical casinos in the UK aren't exactly the big earners you'll find in the Nevada desert or on island of Macau, but internet gambling is certainly now to be taken seriously.
Online casinos have a huge range of games, the brilliant gameplay and the ease of access has resulted in land-based casinos becoming worried, especially with innovations like mobile casinos that brings the action straight to players' smartphones and tablets while they are on the go, there really is never a bad time to play online casino. Worldwide travellers can now take advantage of online gambling from anywhere in the world as long as there is a connection to the internet. All you need is a compatible credit card and be over the age of 18. It's also a great way to get some practice before visiting a casino on holiday!
The Grand Casino
With global tourism visitors growing to 1.2 billion last year, there is a huge market for travelling gamblers, especially those coming from countries where gambling is still restricted. The change in the law in Japan provides tourists with another option, as if there weren’t already enough!
Being a Responsible Gambler
Gambling whilst on a holiday can be a really fun experience but remember when the fun stops, you should consider stopping too. If you are having issues with compulsive or addiction to gambling you might want to consider contacting a charity like GambleAware who fund research, education and treatment services to help minimise gambling-related harm in Great Britain.