You no longer need to fly to Atlantic City or Las Vegas for a roaring gambling holiday. Some of the best casinos are closer than you think
The Wynn Macao
This one is as spectacular as its brother over in Las Vegas. There are 501 gaming tables (212 regular and 289 VIP) for the serious gambler, and 375 slot machines spread out over 19,000 square metres. Check out the Dragon of Fortune, an hourly show that features an animated ‘dragon’ complete with smoking nostrils and glowing eyes. The second show, the Tree of Prosperity, takes place every half hour: a giant, golden tree literally rises from the ground.
The Grand Lisboa
The Grand Lisboa was the first to bring in Western games like Texas Hold’em and Craps to Macao. Not as ostentatious as the Wynn, it does however, have the biggest poker room in Asia. Not much by way of live entertainment here, it is located in the tallest building in Macao. This is a straight shooting, no-nonsense gambling arena, with 800 gaming tables and 1,000 slot machines, attracting some of the best players in the region night after night.
The prominent feature here is a chandelier that is more than 36 metres long and nearly eight metres wide. Hanging at the centre of Sands Macao, it has nearly 6,000 light bulbs and weighs 50 tons. The Sands Casino, Macao, is 21,000 sq m of sheer gambling action, featuring a staggering 740 gaming tables and 1,254 slot machines. Situated very close to the ferry pier, the Sands is for those who want to hit the gambling table in a hurry.
The Venetian Macao is the largest casino in the world, boasting 51,000 sq m of roaming space. It regularly hosts international celebs who visit Asia. NBA superstar Kobe Bryant has popped in, as has pop legend Beyonce, to perform for an eager crowd, so always check ahead and buy tickets in advance. But that doesn’t mean the Venetian is not for serious gamblers; it has no less than 800 gambling tables where you can test your skills and luck.
The Royal International Gaming Club
This is one of the top casinos on the Vietnam gambling scene. It is located on Bai Chay Beach, one of the best beaches in the north, and you can soak up the sun while counting your earnings. On offer here are hotel and villa accommodation, restaurants, and an array of beach activities. Open round-the-clock, the casino has 18 tables for Baccarat and Blackjack and 70 slot machines to pass time. The views of the stunning Ha Long Bay from the rooms are a bonus.
If you have never been gambling, a relatively inexpensive place to test the waters is Goa. There are several ships docked on the Mandovi river that have been converted into casinos. Casino Royale is one of the more popular ones. The top deck is dining and entertainment, while the lower deck serves as the gambling floor. In terms of size and scale, it is no match for the casinos abroad, but it’s not a bad way to spend a night in Goa.
Marina Bay Sands Casino
This architectural wonder has three gaming floors, nearly 500 gaming tables and over 2,500 slot machines to choose from. Table games range from Baccarat and Roulette to Singapore Stud Poker. There’s also a vast selection of the latest, most popular electronic gaming machines worldwide. For entertainment, there are shows like The Phantom of the Opera, while for relaxation, you can head to the infinity pool at the SkyPark.
Resorts World Sentosa
This casino claims to have an intimate knowledge of ‘Asian gambling’, and has 500 gaming tables offering Baccarat, Blackjack (including the new Blackjack Switch), Caribbean Stud Poker, Roulette, Money Wheel, PaiGow, Pontoon, Progressive Texas Hold'em Poker and Tai Sai. For amateurs, there are over 2,400 slot machines, which keep the casino buzzing 24x7. The resort also has Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park.
The Genting Highlands
Malaysia has only one casino, but what a casino it is! The Genting Highlands, just outside Kuala Lumpur, has all the pomp and grand-scale opulence you would expect from a Resorts World project. Located 6,000 feet above sea-level, this hilltop complex can only be reached by car or cable car. The gaming offered is impressive: Baccarat and mini-Baccarat, Roulette, Blackjack, Casino War, 3-Card Poker, Pontoon Genting Stud Poker, and Money Wheel.
Vietnam Casino City
This is for those who want more of a Vegas experience, complete with high-rolling glitz and glamour. Located in the Vung Tau province, a two-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City, this beach resort boasts five new casinos, an entertainment district, a golf course designed by Greg Norman, a cultural centre, several museums, and much more. Each of these casinos has 200 gaming tables and 2,000 slot machines, offering up-to-date electronic games from all over the world.