While Las Vegas is still the first choice for most people when it comes to a gambling getaway, other cities are starting to muscle in on its turf. Vegas still seems to have a dominant market share- much like when a person needs software, they first think of Microsoft (or at least, they used to). Vegas has a deserved reputation as an international playground, thanks to the entertainment that has flourished around the casinos, whether it’s seeing Elton John or Cher headlining at a casino showroom, or drinking too many cocktails and getting married to an attractive stranger by an Elvis impersonator. Sin City is unlikely to lose its crown anytime soon, but there are other places to go that offer a truly amazing casino experience.
The sultry glamour of the Chinese territory was showcased in the James Bond film Skyfall, and Macau has quickly made its name as an international gambling destination, thanks to a fairly quick proliferation of international casinos, possibly due to the fact that Macau is classed as a specialist administrative region of China, just like Hong Kong, and so is subject to different laws than the rest of the country. Gambling accounts for a whopping 50% of the Macau economy, and it in fact overtakes Vegas in some years in revenue produced by the gambling industry. Be sure to visit the Grand Lisboa (named after the Portuguese capital, as a nod to the many Portuguese settlers who made their home here in the 1800’s), and the Sands Macau, a Chinese version of the famous Vegas casino.
With a land area of only 0.78 square miles, there’s not much of Monaco that isn’t populated, and this extremely wealthy city-state has been enjoying the profits of gambling since their first casino opened in 1856. If you happen to be passing through Europe and decide on a quick gambling stop in Monaco, be sure to bring a lot of cash, since this is hardly a slot machine in a dingy bar kind of place- casinos generally operate a strict dress code, and while you don’t need to invest in a tuxedo, you are expected to be well turned out to partake in the old school casino experience of Monaco. Only foreigners are allowed to visit or work at casinos, thanks to an initiative by Princess Caroline, who had moral objections to the gambling industry but still acknowledged its necessity for the country’s economy.
While most west coast residents will hope to Vegas if they want an indulgent weekend, those on the east coast are more likely to make the trek to the Jersey Shore, and into the welcoming arms of Atlantic City. Much like that episode of The Simpsons when the town of Springfield legalized gambling in order to make money for the town, residents of Atlantic City voted to legalize gambling in 1976, basically because the region really needed the cash. The gambling industry here rose to prominence in the 1980’s thanks to the promotional efforts of Donald Trump and his unique hair- Trump invested heavily in the region, and bought a number of casinos in the city, most notably the lavish Taj Mahal. While the recent financial crisis resulted in the cancellation of several high profile proposed casinos in Atlantic City, its reputation as a gambling destination that still has a beachside town feeling- in stark contrast to the desert isolation of Vegas, means that holidaymakers and gambling aficionados still flock to the shore.