If your business happens to take you to any of these destinations, grab your good-luck charm, practise your poker face and try your hand at the tables.
Gambling should appeal to a dollar-eyed, number crunching, red-and-black businessman more than any of the other sins. In fact, he must feel right at home at the table; dealing, as in his day-life, with loss, gain, risk, speculation, faith, intelligent guesses and sheer dumb luck…
Seems like while we weren’t looking, the stiff-collared, stodgy, chewing-gum-banning state of Singapore has sort of unclenched in the gambling department – with unrecorded results; in the last two years, since the preview opening of its first casino, Marina Bay Sands, the state’s revenue from gambling is in the same league as that of the entire Las Vegas Strip (in fact, it is set to overtake it). Still, gambling here is a straight-laced affair. It’s probably safe not to expect the cabaret. The Resorts World Sentosa, off the southern coast of Singapore, the other big casino, markets itself (subliminally maybe, as casinos are not allowed to advertise) as a family resort – fun rides, a Universal Studio set, the works…and oh yeah, a giant- !@#$%^&* gambling floor.
The Last Word: No-frills action for the serious gambler. Double-thumbs-up for proximity.
The resort city’s constant struggle to compete against the Gambling Mecca, Las Vegas, means that it has always had to Work Twice as Hard. The Borgata, Trump Taj Mahal and Harrah’s have some of the biggest casino floors in the city. And even as you are reading this, Revel, a 2.4 billion USD resort is starting to go fully operational. This purely non-smoking casino resort is the first to give floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean and has 2,450 slot machines and 160 table games. Its hotel will have 1,898 rooms. Overall the resort will employ 5,500 people, and include spa facilities, 14 restaurants, 10 pools and a 5,050-seat theatre, according to onlinecasinoreports.com. Negates the need to cross the continent, don’t you think?
The Last Word: The Bad Boy of the East
The Portuguese had no idea what they started when they decided to legalise gambling in the 1850s in their port colony. Back then only Chinese gambling games, like Mah-jong, were played in the fantan houses. The winds of change have come and gone several times over Macau but gambling has remained a constant. Today its industry here is four times bigger than that of Las Vegas. The 4.4 billion USD casino-resort that soft-launched last month, Sands Cotai Central, Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International are some of the bigger properties here. Rich businessmen from Hong Kong, Chinese millionaires and Triad mob men, all reportedly laundering, losing and winning obscene amounts of money here, add the necessary dose of glamour and gold.
The Last Word: A new visitor enters Macau every 1.4 seconds, each one in search of an easy fortune. The odds boggle the mind.
Monte Carlo caters to every kind of hedonistic fantasy possible. And in no half measure. The Monte Carlo Casino, a beaux-arts style architectural masterpiece which houses some of the world’s finest sculptures and frescos, is a haven to the richest players in the world, all bow ties and ball gowns, and gambling away fortunes at the roll of a die. The casino should not be missed, even for those planning to stay away from the tables, at least to just bask in the aura of the stupendous wealth and luxury that it draws. Scruffy backpackers need not apply.
The Last Word: Think. Why else does James Bond keep coming back?
What more can be said about Vegas. The city has long since transcended its physical location, transforming itself into an idea in our psyche. This is where the poisoned apple fell and we love it for that. Within its isolated confines, man could indulge all his vices, celebrate all the worldly sins and return to the ‘civilized’ world with only memories. The modern day Sodom, its history steeped in Hollywood and the mafia. The allure is just too hard to resist.
The Last Word: Okay, so Las Vegas is no longer the biggest gambling destination when it comes down to cold, hard numbers. But there is no erasing its place in history (mostly thanks to Hollywood, America Corp.’s PR machinery). Anything and everything gambling will invoke images of its neon lights. In the distant future, ‘gambling stations’ in space will still be measured against Las Vegas. Period.