5 Great Casino Destinations of the World

Fremont Street is best toured at night, when it's lit up in all of its neon and laserenhanced glory. Yoshio Tomii/SuperStock
Gambling only makes up a fraction of a casino's allure. With restaurants, bars, shops, spas, museums, and theaters all under one roof, some casinos ooze history and charm while others are glass-and-steel temples of overindulgence. Whatever your style, these casinos may tempt you to up the ante.

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If you're looking for an authentically Chinese gambling experience, head to Casino Lisboa. Yannis Lefakis
What: With more than 30 casinos to choose from and several more under construction along the Cotai Strip, this former Portuguese colony is a short ferry ride from Hong Kong. If size matters to you, look no further than Macau's top show pony, the Venetian. A bigger and better version of its Vegas sibling but with the same mock canals and lagoon, Macau's Venetian is said to be large enough to hold 90 Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

Vital Stats: 550,000 square feet of gaming space with 3,000 slots and 750 gaming tables; 3,000 suites (a minimum of 750 square feet each); 350 international brand stores; 30-plus restaurants; a 15,000-seat-theater; various swimming pools and a spa; a putting course; and, of course, gondola rides.

Where: Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, Taipa, Macau SAR, P.R. China

More Info: Venetian Macao (tel. +853/2882-8888; www.venetianmacao.com)

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The casino at the MGM Grand is arguably the largest in the world-you'll get lost at least once. Jeff Greenberg/Alamy
What: With more than 120 casinos and counting, Sin City is all about the bright lights and high rollers. Narrowing it down to just one is a mighty task, so rather than taking on the modern casino complexes that take up entire city blocks, venture downtown for some old-school gambling at one of the remaining joints that hasn't been imploded. The Golden Gate is over 100 years old and still going strong. Gaming wise, it offers new slots as well as favorites, such as Wheel of Fortune, Mega Bucks, and Monopoly. The pit has friendly games of blackjack, craps, roulette, and Texas Hold'em Bonus. Complete with feather-adorned showgirls and pit dancers, the Golden Gate is a throwback to 1950s Vegas.

Vital Stats: 290 gaming machines in nearly 10,000 square feet; 15 gaming tables; 102 rooms; a live entertainment lounge; and the famous Shrimp Bar and Deli.

Where: Behind the Strip at One Fremont Street, Las Vegas

More Info: Golden Gate Hotel & Casino (tel. 800/426-1906; www.goldengatecasino.com)
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Monte Carlo's legendary casino. Georgios Makkas
What: For sheer "wow" factor, you can't skip the historic Casino de Monte Carlo. For almost 150 years, the casino has been the prestigious center of European gaming. But with all the famous faces and beautiful people, you may find it difficult to focus on the game.

Vital Stats: 1,000 slot machines, plus roulette, craps, blackjack, and international card games like Trente et Quarante and Chemin de Fer. A dress code means jackets required after 8pm.

Where: Place du Casino -- MC 98000 Principality of Monaco

When: Open daily from 2pm.

More Info: tel. +377/9806-2121; www.montecarlocasinos.com)

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Photo Caption: Baden-Baden street scene. Roger Wo
What: Once the domain of nobility and the elite, the casino of Baden-Baden (or the Spielbank as it is known locally) is a journey into opulence. This 200-year-old palatial building is in a German resort town best known for its thermal hot springs and health resorts.

Vital Stats: 128 gaming machines and 17 gaming tables in a small but impressive 2,250-square-foot casino space. There is a dress code; men are required to wear jackets and ties when gambling after 2pm in the table gaming area.

Where: Kaiserallee 1 (im Kurhaus), 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

When: Open daily from 2pm (morning tours are available)

More Info: Spielbank Baden-Baden (www.casino-baden-baden.de); Heliopark Hirsch Hotel (www.heliopark-hirsch.de)

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Crown Towers, Melbourne. Courtesy Crown Towers
What: Although you don't typically associate gambling with Australia, Crown Casino has a prime riverfront location overlooking the city skyline.

Vital Stats: The entire complex is a massive 5.5 million square feet. The main gaming floor of Crown Casino features 350 gaming tables and 2,500 gaming machines. Table games include Texas Hold'em, Baccarat, Big Wheel, Pai Gow, and Sic Bo; many are held in the exclusive Mahogany Room. Here, you can also find the largest sports screens in the Southern Hemisphere, 40-plus restaurants, bars, theaters, bowling lanes, a spa, three hotels, and more.

Where: At Southbank on the Yarra River, Melbourne, Australia

When: Throughout the year; 24 hours a day

Price: What you spend on the slots and tables is up to you, but a king room at the Crown Promenade Hotel (purchased 30 days in advance) starts at A$234 per night.

More Info: Crown Entertainment Complex (tel. +61/3-9292-8888; www.crowncasino.com)

Photo Caption: Crown Towers, Melbourne.
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