Casino de Monte Carlo

Not to be confused with the former Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, now Park MGM, on the Las Vegas Strip, Casino de Monte Carlo, or Monte Carlo Casino, is located in the tiny, independent city-state of Monaco on the French Riviera. The Principality of Monaco is actually the second smallest country in the world, after the Vatican City State, but Monte Carlo Casino is one of four gambling establishments owned and operated by the state-controlled Société des Bains de Mer (SBM).

Founded in 1863 by businessman François Blanc, Monte Carlo Casino is magnificent, richly decorated building in the Belle Époque style. It was celebrated in the popular British music hall song, ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’, made famous by Charles Coborn, in the late nineteenth century and, more recently, has become synonymous with the image of James Bond, the fictional British Secret Service agent created by Ian Fleming in the early Fifties.

Monaco is known as a ‘Billionaires’ Playground’ and almost one in three of its population are millionaires. Paradoxically, Monaco residents are forbidden, by law, from gambling, so the so-called salons privés at Monte Carlo Casino are the preserve of high-rolling tourists and foreign residents. Quite rightly, Monte Carlo Casino has a reputation for class, sophistication and, of course, lavish wealth. However, despite some more exotic offerings, including chemin de fer and punto banco, table games also include blackjack, craps, poker and roulette, while Monte Carlo Casino has nearly 1,000 slot machines, some of which have a minimum stake, per line, of just €0.01.

Foxwoods Resort Casino

Foxwoods Resort Casino falls into the category of ‘Native American’ or ‘tribal’ gaming insofar as it is located on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation in Ledyard, Connecticut and is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Originally founded, as Mashantucket Pequot Bingo Hall, in 1986, Foxwoods has developed out of all recognition in the last three decades or so, but still retains its huge bingo hall, capable of accommodating up to 5,000 players at a time.

All in all, the Foxwoods complex covers 9,000,000 square feet, or nearly one-third of a square mile, 344,000 square feet of which is devoted to gaming floor space, in six individual casinos. Indeed, Foxwoods Resort Casino is the second largest casino in the United States, behind only the WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma, which covers 600,000 square feet. Collectively, the casinos include over 380 gaming tables, offering the usual selection of blackjack, craps, poker and roulette, plus over 6,300 slot machines.

Unsurprisingly, the Foxwoods Resort Casino has an authentic Native American theme, typified by bright colours in various patterns and geometric forms, although natural features, such as fully-grown, mature trees and waterfalls, also feature within its walls. Accommodation is provided in a total of 2,666 rooms, divided between two hotel towers; the original Grand Pequot Tower opened in 1997, followed by the MGM Grand, now known as the Fox Tower, 11 years later. The ‘wonder in the Connecticut woods’, as Foxwoods is known, also features a two-storey arcade for children and teenagers and several restaurants, including a Hard Rock Café.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa,

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, in Atlantic City, New Jersey has the distinction of being both the largest hotel in New Jersey, with just over 2,000 rooms, and the highest-grossing casino in Atlantic City. Opened in 2003, and designed as a gambling destination to rival those found in Las Vegas, Borgata was originally a joint venture between MGM Mirage and Boyd Gaming but, since 2016, has been owned outright, and operated by, MGM Resorts International. Borgata was, in fact, the first new property of its kind to open in Atlantic City for over a decade and has largely succeeded in its aim of rekindling interest in gambling in ‘America’s Favourite Playground’.

The casino floor, which occupies 161,000 square feet in total, offers 180 table games, including the usual selection of baccarat, craps, roulette and so on, and over 3,000 state-of-the-art slots, in various denominations. No pun intended, but poker is a big deal at Borgata, too; the poker room, which is the largest in Atlantic City, was installed as part of a $200 million expansion programme in late 2005 and early 2006, and features regular tournaments, including the World Poker Tour (WPT) Borgata Poker Open and Borgata Winter Poker Open. Sports bettors are also more than amply catered for at Borgata, with a sportsbook, aptly named the ‘Race & Sports Book’ – the only one of its kind in Atlantic City – providing access to thoroughbred harness racing and other sports via individual, flat-screen monitors.

Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas, or simply Wynn, on the Las Vegas Strip, is the flagship of Wynn Resorts Ltd., the corporation founded by Steve Wynn, the former chairman of Mirage Resorts, Inc., in 2002. In 2000, Wynn sold Mirage Resorts to MGM Grand and, the same year, bought the Desert Inn, also on the Las Vegas Strip, for $270 million. To make way for the new resort, which nowadays covers 215 acres, or 87 hectares, Wynn demolished the main tower of the Desert Inn in 2001 and the remainder four years later.

After legal wrangling surrounding the purchase of private properties on Paradise Avenue, Wynn Las Vegas was built, at a cost of $2.7 billion, and opened on April 28, 2005, 55 years to the day since the original opening of the Desert Inn. Located at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sands Avenue, Wynn Las Vegas has, in the meantime, become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, luxury resort and casino complexes on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Wynn Las Vegas Hotel, which stands 614 feet high, offers a total of 2,716 rooms, of various sizes, on 45 floors, while substantial portions of the complex are devoted to conference centre and retail space. The casino, itself, covers 189,000 square feet and offers a wide variety of table games and slots, plus a sportsbook and one of the most highly-regarded poker rooms in Las Vegas.

The Venetian Macao

Modelled on The Venetian Las Vegas and owned and operated, like its Nevada counterpart, by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, The Venetian Macao is located on the so-called Cotai Strip in former Portugese colony of Macao, or Macau, on the south coast of China. The Venetian Macao stands 39 storeys high, covers an eye-watering 10.5 million square feet and includes 3,000 rooms and suites. A total of 2.8 million square feet is devoted to convention centre and retail space, but 546,000 square feet of casino floor space makes The Venetian Macao the second largest casino in the world, behind only the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Oklahoma.

The vast expanse of casino floor space is conveniently divided into four, themed gaming areas which, collectively, offer over 800 gaming tables, offering perennial favourites, such as baccarat, blackjack and roulette, along with sic bo and so-called ‘Sands’ stud poker, in which players play against the dealer rather than each other. Similarly, the 3,400 slot machines on offer include same familiar names and some less familiar, such as ‘Duo Fu Duo Cai’, which translates into English as ‘much luck’. The latter features a Chinese-themed style of play, specifically designed to appeal to Asian slot players.

Gambling opportunities aside, other notable features of The Venetian Macao include three huge shopping malls, four swimming pools, four award-winning restaurants, not least the Michelin-starred Golden Peacock Indian restaurant, and the San Luca, Marco Polo and Grand Canals on which visitors can ride in a traditional, flat-bottomed gondola.

WinStar World Casino and Resort,

WinStar World Casino and Resort, formerly WinStar Casinos, is a Native American casino and hotel located in Thackerville, Oklahoma, close to the border with Texas. The casino, which is owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, opened in 2004, but subsequently expanded, with the addition of a 395-room hotel tower in 2009 and a second, 1,000-room hotel tower in 2013. Nowadays, WinStar boasts 600,000 square feet of casino floor, making it not only the largest casino in Oklahoma, but the largest casino in the United States, ahead of Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, and the largest in the world, ahead of the Venetian Macao.

Aptly situated at 777 Casino Avenue, about 60 minutes’ drive south of Oklahoma City, WinStar World Casino and Resort divides its casino floor into nine, internationally-themed gaming plazas, representing London, Paris, New York and other cities from around the world. Collectively, they feature 100 gaming tables, offering perennial favourites such as blackjack, craps and roulette, over 7,000 electronic games, including slots and video poker, and a dedicated, smoke-free poker room, which covers 19,000 square feet. High limit rooms exist for poker, table games and slots, while other attractions include an off-track horse racing betting plaza and a bingo hall capable of accommodating 1,000 players. Visitors should note that, by law, WinStar World Casino and Resort requires an ante of $0.50, or $1.00, on table games, depending on how much you stake and complimentary drinks are similarly banned.