In these ten temples of temptation, decked out with opulent furnishings and overflowing bars, gambling is elevated to an art form. Whether you're feeling lucky or simply want to sample the thrill of watching the roulette ball bobble between the blacks and reds, these ten casinos are the most decadent places on earth to throw down your chips and see what fate and fortune returns to your palm.
For years a landmark on the Las Vegas skyline, the casino at MGM Grand is a storied gambling den, attracting hardened dollar spinners and curious newbies alike. It's well-known for poker, and has the usual range of game tables and slot machines. But what keeps many of its regulars coming back for more is a lively area dedicated to sports betting, with state-of-the-art facilities including 60 plasma televisions. Here you can flick a few coins on American football, boxing, martial arts and soccer, all while enjoying drinks and snacks from the well-stocked bar.
Also see Hopper's picks for the best casinos in Las Vegas for serious gamblers to see some less-famous LV casinos
Glamor and kitsch are never too far apart, and they come together in a riotous explosion of stone elephants, twisting minarets, glistening chandeliers and pointed domes at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. This experiment in eastern grandeur was conceived by that great gambler of the financial markets, Donald Trump, and at its heart you'll find a fabulously opulent casino. Play a few rounds in the smoke-free poker room or, if you're feeling lucky, join the fat cats in the exclusive high limit gaming salon, before filling up at the resort's Hard Rock Café.
Foxwoods is a huge resort, encompassing 38 restaurants, two golf courses and an enclave of exclusive villas with private butler service. But it is best known for its vast casino, the second biggest in America, which is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The casino's 350,000 feet of gambling space contain 380 gaming tables, 6300 slot machines, and a cavernous bingo hall that can accommodate up to 5000 players.
Photo by Jorge in Brazil/Flickr.
Sun City is among South Africa's most extravagant resorts, and spearheading the decadence is its opulent casino. Games include poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat, and there's a Salon Privé where, so long as you look the part and have a few hundreds to slap on the table, you can play high-stakes games in atmospheric privacy. For beginners, there's an excellent gaming school with lessons on technique and, just as importantly, casino etiquette. Alongside the casino the resort offers a water park for the kids, golf courses, and trips into the neighboring Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Even among the glittering cityscape of Macau, east Asia's version of Vegas, the Grand Lisboa stands out: it's the city's tallest building, crowned with the largest LED dome in the world, made up of over a million LED lights. Inside, the casino lives up to this surface decadence, with 800 gaming tables and 1000 slot machines spread across several large and fabulously decorated floors. As the gaming unfolds, regular shows are put on at the main bar, so there's also entertainment for those averse to a flutter.
Photo by danheap77/Flickr.
This luxurious casino is situated in the middle of a shopping mall, so you can slip out and spend your winnings on whatever you desire straight away. It's not quite the biggest casino in trade-rich Singapore, but it is by far the most sophisticated, with 600 gaming tables and 1500 slot machines arrayed among the elegant furnishings and stylish decor. Tourists can enter for free but, as residents must pay $100 for the privilege, remember to bring your passport to prove you're not a local.
Photo by OliverN5/Flickr.
The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, nestled in the heart of Germany's black forest, first became a playground for wealthy Europeans 150 years ago, drawing royalty and aristocracy from across the continent. These days its visitors are more diverse, and many of them come to sample the thrills of the town's casino, which is among the most extravagantly outfitted on this list. Inspired by the baroque flourishes of the Palace of Versailles, German actress Marlene Dietrich declared it the most beautiful casino in the world. This elegance continues in the casino's red-and-gold poker rooms, and around its plethora of blackjack and roulette tables.
If Baden-Baden was the destination of choice for nineteenth century aristocrats, today's equivalents - high-flying accountants, lawyers and CEOs - make their way to Monte Carlo. You'll have to shed the shorts and, disregarding the heat, slip into something more elegant - but don't worry, the air conditioning is perfectly adjusted within the fabled casino itself. Recently celebrating its 150th birthday, this casino oozes charm and class, and offers great variety of games - there's Chemin de Fer and Trente & Quarante as well as poker, roulette and blackjack. Super high-rollers and celebs can slip away in to the casino's beautifully-outfitted salons privés and, once you've had your gambling thrills, the beautiful town of Monaco lays its restaurants and walkways at your feet.
Although originally modeled on the Venetian complex in Vegas, this Macau resort easily outstrips its own inspiration, and has become a global gambling mecca. With 530,000 square feet containing 800 gaming tables and 3400 slot machines, it's the largest casino on earth. And it's not just about size: grand on the outside, the casino is intricately gorgeous within, the gaming divided between four lush themed areas. The resort even has its own canal system, the San Luca, where guests can take gondola rides through this imaginary Venice flung out on the South China Sea.
Designed by legendary casino specialist Steve Wynn and built at a cost of $88 million, the Bellagio is justly among the world's most famous casinos, featured in Hollywood moves such as Ocean's 11 and 21. In terms of gaming, the Bellagio is best known for its top-end poker rooms with sky-high table limits, which regularly host World Poker Tour events. But there's plenty of other gambling to be had, with 2000 slot machines paying out jackpots as high as $2 million. Surrounding all this high-rolling gaming is an opulent resort complete with eight-acre lake, exclusive fashion stores, and the world-famous dancing fountains.