Casinos as official institutions have been around since the Il Ridotto opened its doors in Venice, in 1638. Since then, their numbers have multiplied, and some of these worthy establishments have become better known than the others, if not downright legendary. This article, in two parts, lists the world’s top ten casinos.
5. Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monte Carlo, Monaco
The entertainment complex of Monte Carlo Casino includes, besides the gambling establishment, the Opéra de Monte-Carlo opera house and the office of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, a classical ballet company that the Princess of Hanover established in 1985. The casino belongs to the Société des Bains de Mer (Monaco Sea Bath Society), the majority of interest in which is shared by the government and the ruling family of Monaco.
It was Marie Caroline Gibert de Lametz or, in short, Princess Caroline, the wife of Florestan I, Prince of Monaco, who came up with the idea to open a gambling establishment and use the resulting income to improve the difficult financial situation of the illustrious family. The first, temporary, casino was opened in 1856 and had to be moved several times, until, finally, the building by Gobineau de la Bretonnerie, an architect from Paris, was finished in 1863.
Today, the casino offers its guests blackjack, English and European Roulette, Texas Hold’em poker, Trente et Quarante, and multiple slot machines.
Casino de Monte-Carlo was a model for the fictional Royale-Les-Eaux casino described in Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel Casino Royale. It was also used as a location for several Bond movies (Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye) and for the 2004 Ocean's Twelve film.
4. Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut
Foxwood Resort Casino is the biggest casino in America. It is located at the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Reservation. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation are an Algonquian-speaking Native American tribe, one of the two tribes that are federally recognized in Connecticut.
The resort complex includes six casinos with over 250 gaming tables and more than five thousand slot machines. The two large hotel towers have more than 2000 hotel rooms in them.
The casino was opened in 1986 as a bingo hall. It was renovated and expanded several times. The major expansion took place in 1992 when the Mashantucket Pequot tribe partnered with Lim Goh Tong, a Malaysian Chinese businessman and once the richest person in Malaysia, to turn the bingo hall into a proper casino. Since then, as the casino web page states, the Foxwood Resort Casino “has offered guests The Wonder Of It All”: spas, theatres, golf, and online casino games in addition to the hotels and a variety of restaurants.
3. The Venetian Macao, China
The Venetian Macao, a 39-storeyed casino hotel located on the Cotai Strip in China, is owned by the Las Vegas Sands company. Its sister establishment belonging to the same owners, the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, is located in Paradise, Nevada.
The Venetian Macao is the largest casino in the world, Asia’s biggest single-structure hotel, and, by its floor area, the 7th largest building in the world.
The casino was opened in 2007. 51,000 m2 of casino space host more than 6000 slot machines and 800 gambling tables. The hotel offers 3000 suites for premium guests. Between 2008 and 2012, a Cirque du Soleil show, Zaia, ran in the theatre that was custom-built for it and had room for up to 1800 spectators.
2. Bellagio, Las Vegas, USA
Bellagio is the iconic luxury hotel and casino located in Paradise, Nevada. It got its name and inspiration from the Bellagio commune in the Province of Como, Italy, located on the cape that divides the Lake Como. The Bellagio of Las Vegas has its own lake as well: a 3.2 ha lake that lies between the building and the Las Vegas Strip. The lake features the famous Fountains of Bellagio, the dancing water fountain.
Another staggering decoration is the Fiori di Como, a composition made of more than two thousand glass flowers that cover 190 m2 of the ceiling in the lobby. The flowers were made by Dale Chihuly, a famous American glass sculptor. As if that wasn’t enough, Bellagio also hosts a show by Cirque du Soleil, “O”, a water-themed production inspired by the "infinity and elegance of water's pure form". The show takes place in a 1.5 million-gallon pool equipped with an underwater sound system and a moving underwater stage platform. In the theatre, there are two separate temperature zones: higher temperature is maintained at the stage, while the audience is kept at lower temperatures.
The casino opened in 1998. Its poker room is known among the professional poker players who have nicknamed it “The Office”. The Big Game, a high-stakes poker game, is played at the “Bobby’s Room” that got its name from Bobby Baldwin, the 1978 World Series of Poker Main Event winner.
The vault of Bellagio casino was robbed in 2001 by the industrious Danny Ocean and his team, in the Ocean's Eleven film.
1. MGM Grand Las Vegas, Paradise, USA
MGM Grand Las Vegas, formerly known as MGM Marina, is the largest single hotel in the US, the third-largest hotel complex in the world, and the world’s second-largest resort complex. There are over 6000 rooms in the hotel, and the property offers its guests spa, shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and, of course, the casino. The gaming floor is one of the largest in Las Vegas. There are more than 2000 slot machines and 139 gaming tables.
MGM Grand opened its doors in 1993. It was then styled in the colors of the Emerald City from the world of the Wizard of Oz. There was even a yellow brick road and animatronic figures of Dorothy and Co. This fairy-tale splendor was removed during the refurbishment that took place in 1996. In 1998, a 50-ton bronze lion statue (the lion being MGM’s logo) was placed at the entrance.
The casino has appeared in several movies, including Ocean’s Eleven, Vegas Vacation, and The Amazing Race, and was even parodied in a video game.
Words: Jelena Schmidt