Great Gambling Locations: Las Vegas

If you want to investigate the world’s greatest gambling locations, you’ve got to start with the most famous locale of them all. Sure, online casino play gives you convenience while in the outside world, Monte Carlo’s got the edge when it comes to exoticism, and Macau is a huge hitter when it comes to gambling in Asia. But for the original expedition into risk-based revelry, there’s only one place that comes to mind.

Heard the phrase ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’? That’s because it all happens in Vegas. Bang in the middle of Nevada’s Mojave Desert, this town is all good times and garish décor, the American dream as a fever dream, a mad splash of excess that you already know you’ll regret – but you just can’t resist.

From glaring neon lights to blaring sound systems, tacky reproductions of the world’s greatest buildings to pool parties peopled by high maintenance honeys, Las Vegas is a lurid adult Disneyworld, a nonstop Technicolor assault on the senses that bewilders as much as it beguiles.

Got a hankering for a champagne breakfast? In Vegas, your waitress won’t bat an eyelid. Taken it into your head to marry that waitress? Hey, she’d probably be offended if you didn’t try. Holding out for the guy conducting the ceremony to be decked out in full-on Elvis attire? That old chestnut – in Vegas, you can’t cross the road without running into a pastor dressed like Presley.

All of which is a little bit exciting, a little bit unnerving. But if the city’s seamier side leaves you a tad ill at ease, there’s plenty of less outrageous action to get stuck into – with glitzy shows from the likes of Cirque du Soleil, Britney Spears, Elton John, and even Mike Tyson. Throw in an around-the-clock buffet or six, and it’s like Vegas has got all the good sins covered.

From glamorous rooftop nightclubs to opulent esplanades where you can take advantage of Vegas’ hottest designer stores, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. The city is close enough to the Grand Canyon that you could take a trip to this American landmark too – even taking a helicopter tour, if you’re seeking the most spectacular view imaginable. If you prefer the pleasures of the strip, you can also take a helicopter tour round Vegas too.

Vegas is a sports town too, typically hosting the biggest of boxing matches – in recent years, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have fought at the MGM Grand, while Amir Khan is set to fight for a title here later this year. There’s also a number of highly rated golf courses in Vegas, including TPC Las Vegas, which has hosted Champion and PGA Tour events.

Still, for most people Vegas begins and ends with the casinos. From Caesar’s Palace, whose décor is based on ancient Rome, to the Luxor hotel, which takes its inspiration from the old Egyptian iconography – sphinxes, pyramids, pharaohs, all that King Tut mumbo-jumbo.

If you’re looking to get ‘comped’ – given complimentary drinks, etc – at some casinos you just need to show your face. But players spending significant amounts can also pick up free meals, hotel rooms, and even limo rides or tickets to shows. But even without the lure of free stuff, gambling in Vegas brings you row after row of slot machine, plus roulette tables, poker games, dice action, sports betting – if you want to try your luck, your luck’s in.

Gaudy, at times tacky, utterly over the top – and most visitors wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s Vegas, baby…