Empire Casino

Formerly the Empire Ballroom – which, in turn, began life as a Victorian music hall in the late nineteenth century – the Empire Casino is situated in Leicester Square in the West End of London. The transformation of the historic building into what is now the biggest, and arguably the best, casino in the British capital city reportedly cost £16 million Inspired by the casinos of Las Vegas, with bright, artificial lighting and no windows, the Empire Casino opened amid considerable fanfare in June, 2007. Owned and operated by U.S. casino and entertainment company Caesars Entertainment, the Empire Casino occupies two floors and over 55,000 square feet of floor space.

This stand out bricks and mortar casino draws in crowds, both local and also those visiting from afar. Of course though tourism in these tricky times has become far from a formality, with covid placing limitations on our daily lives. As such many opt for online casino sites featuring slots games like ruby slots casino. Often websites have an advantage over their offline equivalents as they offer the very best online and welcome bonuses. Also the number of slots variations are essentially countless and the convenience factor of playing casino games in your home cannot be overstated.

Still, bricks and mortar casinos like Empire will always be an appealing option. The main body of the casino, on the ground floor, features 30 gaming tables, offering American roulette, blackjack, punto banco and three card poker among other games, together with a selection of state-of-the-art slots and electronic roulette machines. The private poker room, also on the ground floor, can accommodate up to 80 players at a time and is a regular venue for World Series of Poker (WSOP) events, not to mention a monthly Cash Race Tournament, with guaranteed prize money of at least £25,000.

Away from the casino floor, sports action is streamed to two giant screens, and numerous smaller ones, in the Carlsberg Sports Bar 24 hours a day, every day, and the Icon Balcony Bar, which is open from late afternoon until late in the night, offers a vantage point over the West End. These offer a great temporary break from playing casino games where you can either make sports your focus, or discuss your impressive wins with friends and strangers alike.

Caesars Palace

Both as a brand and a landmark, Caesars Palace is one of the most recognizable attractions, not only in Las Vegas, but anywhere in the world. Nicely situated, on the western side of the Las Vegas Strip, between Bellagio and the The Mirage, Caesars Palace was established by hotel developer Jay Sarno in 1966. Apparently, Sarno deliberately omitted the apostrophe from the name so that every one of his patrons could feel like ‘a Caesar’.

Inspired by the unrestrained self-indulgence often associated with Ancient Rome, Caesars Palace effectively ‘raised the bar’ for gambling establishments in Las Vegas. Innovations such as imported Italian sculpture, including a 20 foot high statue of the founder of the Roman Empire, Augustus Caesar, near the main entrance, gilded columns and cocktail waitresses clad in white, off-the-shoulder togas were just a few of those unveiled during the grand opening party in the summer of 1966.

Fast forward five decades or so and Caesars Palace now offers 4,610 rooms, suites and villas – compared with 680 when it first opened – arranged into six, appropriately-named, major towers. The modern casino facility occupies roughly 125,000 square feet and offers table games, such as baccarat, blackjack, craps, roulette and many more, slots, video poker machines and 4,500 square feet poker room, open 24 hours a day. A dedicated horse racing and sports area provides comfortable, private booths and flat-screen monitors on which to view the action.

The Bellagio

Built on the site formerly occupied by the iconic Dunes hotel and casino, which was demolished in 1993, on the Las Vegas Strip, the Bellagio is one of the most famous casinos in the world. Nowadays owned and operated by MGM Resorts International, the Bellagio opened, to no little fanfare and at no little cost – the opening ceremony alone reputedly cost $88 million – in October, 1998.

Inspired by the town of the same name, which overlooks Lake Como, in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy, the Bellagio is renowned for its elegance. Externally, the Bellagio is best known for the ‘Fountains of Bellagio’, which are set in an artificial lake, covering 8 acres, or 3.2 hectares, between the hotel building and the Strip. At regular intervals throughout the afternoon and evening, anyone nearby can witness a choreographed water ‘ballet’, complete with illumination and musical accompaniment.

Internally, notwithstanding its central role in the Hollywood movie ‘Ocean’s Eleven’, which was released in 2001, the Bellagio is probably best known for its poker room, which plays host to high-profile World Poker Tour events, including the ‘Five Diamond World Poker Classic’in December each year. That said, the gaming floor as a whole is impressive enough, covering 116,000 square feet and offering 2,300 slots with jackpots of up to $2 million. Accommodation-wise, the Bellagio offers a total of 3,950 lavish rooms, of various shapes and sizes, most of which are located in the original, main tower.

MGM Grand Las Vegas

At the time of its opening in 1993, the MGM Grand Las Vegas, on the Las Vegas Strip, had the distinction of being the largest hotel in the world. Even today, the MGM Grand is the largest single hotel. Nowadays owned and operated by MGM Resorts International, the MGM Grand was built in 1991, as an extension to the existing Marina Hotel, which closed the previous year. Indeed, the original rooms of the Marina Hotel, subsequently renovated, were opened as the ‘West Wing’ of the MGM Grand in 2005.

The main building of the MGM Grand is 30 storeys, or 293 feet, high and boasts 6,852 rooms. The casino gaming floor, which is the largest in Clark County, covers 171,500 square feet and offers a wide selection of table games, notably including single-zero roulette, among many others and 2,300 gaming machines. A further 380,000 square feet are devoted to a convention centre and the building also houses numerous night clubs, restaurants and retail outlets.

Originally, the casino entrance featured a giant fibreglass lion’s head, based loosely on ‘Leo the Lion’, the mascot of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) film studio. However, some superstitious visitors considered it unlucky to enter the casino through the lion’s mouth, as was originally the case. Consequently, MGM Grand opted to replace the original entrance with a huge bronze statue – 45 feet tall and weighing 100,000lb, or 50 tons – of a complete, seated lion.