World Gambling Guide
From casinos and poker to lottery and horse racing, we cover it all
World Casino Directory gives full attention to the most active casino continent in the world. With only three countries in it, North America has more casinos than any other continent.
As one might suspect you will find the North American casino and gambling scene dominated by USA casinos. In the United States alone there are nearly 1,500 gambling facilities ranging from casino resort style gambling facilities to poker rooms and pari-mutuel facilities. See the complete United States casino list.
Pari-mutuel facilities are available in the U.S. and host events like jai alai, horse racing and greyhound races to bet on.
Nearly every state in the U.S. has a lottery. Check in on USA lottery results here.
Canadian casinos and gambling seems to be picking up all over the country which now houses over 100 casinos and growing every year. Make sure you mark Canada casinos on your map. The casinos in Canada can range from medium-sized to incredibly large casinos. You'll find slots, craps, roulette, keno, blackjack, baccarat and much more available. B.C. casinos are a very popular destination for Canadians and gamblers from the Pacific Northwest area of the United States. You'll find the fine dining available in these casinos a real treat and the service impeccable.
Canada has several lotteries and World Casino Directory has the results daily: You can check the Canadian lottery results here.
Mexican casinos have not caught on quite yet - a couple opened in 2006 but are no longer open and from our reports there are no current re-openings yet scheduled. It looked for a moment in 2006 like things were going to be worked out but with the restrictions put on casino gambling by the Mexican government in 1935 they seem to be stuck... for now. We hope that we will see legalized casinos throughout the country soon.
You will find Central American casinos to have a unique atmosphere to them and of course all your favorite casino games. Costa Rica is the most popular Central American gambling destination and tourist destination, too. Costa Rica has the most casinos in Central America with 38 casino gaming facilities as of 2011.
Panama, used to have less than half of the casino numbers of Costa Rica but between 2007 and 2009 Panama has made significant gains with more new projects for 2010 and onwards. Panama has much larger casinos and the casinos here rival those of major ones in the world. In 2008 alone 6 more major casinos opened in Panama.
The two biggest casinos in Central America are Casino Majestic in the Radisson Hotel - Panama City, and Casino Veneto from Cirsa. Both have around 40 table games and 500 slots. Central Americas biggest gaming group are Thunderbird Resorts who apart from having six casinos in Panama, four casinos in Costa Rica, also has gaming operations in Nicaragua and Guatemala.
Poker players will easily find a game of Texas Hold'em if they look hard. Read our tips and breakdown of the Central American poker scene. Find the biggest poker room in Central America at the Majestic casino in Panama. Regular International Tournaments are held there. For more information on poker tournaments in C. America, take a look at the Majestic Poker Tour.
Online gambling and licensing and regulation is mainly restricted to Costa Rica and recently in Panama. Regulation is improving all the time in Central America with the Junta de Control de Juegos in Panama.
Looking for pari-mutuel activity? Presidente Remon racetrack in Panama City is one of the few in the region but is a world class venue.
South America, like the rest of the world, has casinos. Casinos are most prevalent in Argentina which has more than 70 casinos located within its borders.
Most casinos in South America are as up to date as anywhere else in the world and most of the larger facilities are all-inclusive resort style casinos catering to more than just the gambling sector. These facilities have a full range of tourist activities available. You will find most standard casino games here as well as some you may not have heard of. Poker is available in the casinos. You will also find home poker games in South America, but be careful, these games are not always legal.
Argentina has over 80 casinos making it the most casino populous spot in a South America. Colombia has the next most but this is difficult to authenticate due to political issues in the country. You will find casino gambling in all other countries in South America except, surprisingly, the largest country on the continent - Brazil. Guyana recently legalized casinos and there is an ongoing process regarding legislation in Bolivia and Paraguay. The Chilean government in mid 2006 allowed for the building of nine new casinos and resorts, totaling an investment of 325 million US dollars and creating some 4,000 new jobs, but a bid to open a casino in Easter Island failed, the casino on earth farthest from any other place on Earth.
Please engage in gambling discussions regarding South America casinos in our gambling forums. You can access these as well as South American casino news, general information page, lottery and other useful pages from the menu at the top of this article.
There are also pari-mutuel betting facilities available throughout South America, mainly thoroughbred horse racing facilities. Horse racing is very big in the continent, especially in Chile and Argentina. One of the most famous jockey clubs in the world can be found in Buenos Aires. Over much of the 20th century Argentina was famous for its thoroughbreds. It continues to send prize horses to competitions around the world.
Gaming shows: Until recently there was only one show in South America. SAGSE Argentina has operated for some years exclusively but in the last 3 years new gaming shows have sprung up in Chile, Colombia, and Peru.
Caribbean casinos take on their own theme which is of course tropical and beach flavored, care free and fun going and exciting! You'll be a happy gambler too when you see these casino resorts -- these are serious gambling paradises. Most of the casino resorts you'll find in the Caribbean have so much to offer you'll have plenty to do outside the casino with your family. You will find the casinos in Bahamas, Aruba, Barbados, Dominican Republic, the Virgin Islands, even Haiti. There are over 100 casinos in the Caribbean Islands. There is poker available, too.
Casinos are found in most Caribbean islands and can range from small 3-4 table and 10 slots operations in such countries as Haiti to huge operations like Atlantis in the Bahamas which has 78 table games, 800 slots and a huge sportsbook lounge. Other major gambling destinations in the region are Puerto Rico, Aruba all of which have double digit high quality casinos. The Dominican Republic has by far the most number of casinos and this figure is expected to rise to over 40 during 2007. Most of the other islands such as Martinique, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Trinidad have only between 1-4 small but friendly casinos. Exotic destinations such as Bermuda and Barbados have still yet to legalize casino gambling.
The biggest casino you will find in the Caribbean Islands would be Princess Port de Plaissance Hotel and Casino located in Cole Bay, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. The Caribbean country with the highest number of individual casinos is the Dominican Republic which has 31 casinos recorded in our database.
Horse betting on races is also quite prevalent in Caribbean and those interested could check out the various destinations where it is available. This could include Guadeloupe that offers horse tracks at Gosier, at the Hippodrome de Pointe a Pitre. Also, Jamaica offers horse tracks in Saint Catherine at Caymanas park while Martinique offers them in Lamentin at Hippodrome de Carrere Lamentin. Puerto Rico has probably the largest track at El Comandante.
Although not generally thought of when thinking of casinos in the Caribbean there are active lotteries. Jamacia has a lottery as well as St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Thomas and others.
There is now a Caribbean gaming show that will be held each year in Puerto Rico. The Caribbean Gaming & Hospitality Conference. Job seekers can find a job in Caribbean Casinos casinos in our new job section, or casino managers / human resource departments can post a job for free.
The continent of Oceania is sometimes referred to as Australasia which is mostly Australia but includes New Zealand and some other minor islands.
Australian Casinos: Gambling in Australia is considered to be more frenzied than the rest of the world but it was not until the late 1970s that they actually had their first casino. Wrest Point Casino on the island of Tasmania was the first casino in Australia and it was quite sometime before the floodgates opened resulting in Australia now having 13 large international style casinos. No new casinos have been launched for a long time but one of the main operators PBL are likely to submit plans to open NSWs second casino.
New Zealand followed in Australias footsteps quite a few years later. Since 1994 when the Christchurch Casino opened the government has given out 6 licences to companies for legalised casinos to operate in New Zealand.
Very few of the islands have full blown casino gaming, the exception being Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia. Major tourist destinations such as Fiji and Tahiti are constantly considering legalized casinos and new laws may be in place during 2007/2008.
Horse and Greyhound racing is huge and came well before Casinos in Australasia. The New Zealand TAB initiated the world's first Government-run totalisator betting service in 1951. In 1996 TAB added fixed odds betting to its horse and greyhound gambling options, when the TAB began sports betting. Tattersalls is advertisng the "Most Valuable Race Series in the World" with over US million at stake.
Lotteries are also very big in the region and perhaps one of the world’s best known names in Lotteries and Sports books, in operation from 1881, has to be Tattersalls.
Until April 2007 Kazakhstan was by far the main player in the area. Casinos mushroomed across Almaty, Astana, and other ex-Soviet cities during the 1990s reaching close to 140 during 2007. The vast Central Asian state introduced a law in January 2007 to end gambling in big cities by March 31. Casinos may now operate only in two small resort towns: Kapshagai, which is near Almaty, and Shchuchinsk, close to the capital Astana. Further updates will appear shortly.
Further North in Russia a few casinos operate. Many countries in Central Asia including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan have no licensed casinos so far. Azerbaijan also does not have a licensed casino as all were closed by the government in 1988. In India, Goa is the only state to have legalized casinos. Further south Sri Lanka has 9 casinos mainly in the capital Colombo.
Horse Racing. The competitive racing of horses is one of humankind's most ancient sports, having its origins among the prehistoric nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia who first domesticated the horse about 4500 BC.
Poker: Poker is played throughout the region and before casinos were forced to move in Kazahkstan there were some multimillion dollar tournaments there.
Lotteries: All of the countries in the region that have casinos have lotteries with the biggest being the Kazak Lotto. Most of the states in India have their own lotto which have the highest prizes in Central Asia.
Online gaming: Central Asia has one of the most undeveloped online gaming setups in the world, again probably due to the religious factor.
Gaming Industry shows: With the rise of Macau and now legislation in Singapore gaming shows are flourishing in Asia but the only gaming show ever held in Central Asia, in Kazakhstan will probably now be shelved.
Many countries in the Far East have casino gaming, but it is not surprising with events in Macau the last few years that many people think that the only country in the region with gambling is Macau (Macao). That said, Macau casinos are the most well known in East Asia.
Macau has had gaming for 150 years, but only since control of the colony reverted from Portuguese to Chinese in 1999 have things gotten hot in this tiny enclave. Macau is known for high rollers and these five star casino resorts leave no question in mind as to why they love Macau. In 2002 when the Chinese government opened up the gaming industry to casino operators outside of Macau the revenues of the casinos have overtaken those of Las Vegas. Read about the end of Stanley Ho`s monopoly on casinos in Macao.
Nearly all the countries in this region have taken notice and legislative efforts to legalize casino gambling are now creating strong interest in these countries. Of the countries without casinos, Singapore has been the first to take action, legalizing casino gambling in the end of 2006 and issuing two gaming licenses. Japan and Taiwan may be next, with Indonesia and Thailand left as the last main hold-outs.
Malaysia has a very established casino in Genting Highlands and for many years it was the only casino in the country. For a long time Genting’s casino was by far the largest casino in the world. Malaysia borders Thailand and many of Genting`s customers are Thai. In the late 1990s the countries neighboring Thailand started opening casinos up along the Thai border. Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma), now have many casinos and Laos which only had one for the last ten years has decided to issue another 10 casino licenses. Viet Nam is close by and it looks like the country is about to allow a major casino expansion.
Lotteries exist in one way or another in every country in the region and countries that have no casinos such as Thailand, China, and Indonesia have major lotteries.
Horse Racing, like lotteries, is a major chance to gamble, especially in countries which do not allow casinos. The Happy Valley Race Track, one of the most famous race tracks in the world, can be found in Hong Kong. The Happy Valley is part of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, one of the largest racing organizations in the world - they offer online betting, phone betting, PDA betting etc, all in addition to main horse racing operations. In mainland China the Beijing Jockey Club is one of the biggest horse-racing clubs. It is located in the Tong Zhou district and covers 160 hectares.
Although gaming shows and exhibitions have been held previously in the region, nothing has ever been as big as the G2E Asia - the latest show will be in mid 2007, and held in Macau.
Spain with nearly 40 casinos is next followed by Northern Cyprus, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria and Belgium. Italy while being one of the largest countries in terms of economy and area has only 4 casinos.
European casinos are steeped in history and none are more famous than Germany’s Baden-Baden and Monaco is home to the Monte Carlo Casino. A new breed of casino will arrive on the continent in June 2007 when London Clubs moves away from the classical style of European casinos and bring Las Vegas to London with the grand opening of its "The Casino at the Empire". New legislation, the first in the U.K. will mean both a rapid expansion in the numbers of new casinos and the arrival of Europe’s first ever Las Vegas style “Super Casino”, which will be built in Manchester.
Certain countries, or states within them, in Europe, are being challenged in the European courts with infringement of monopoly laws. A classic example is the Netherlands, (Holland), where all 14 casinos are operated by the government company: Holland Casino. Casinos began in 1976 in Netherlands and although they have always had many illegal casinos no other company has ever been allowed to open casinos. In Austria another Government body Casinos Austria also held a stranglehold on the countries 12 casino licenses until an additional license was issued to the Austrian company Novamatic. From a small country like Austria, Casinos Austria have become probably the largest and well known operator in the world. Novamatic also has casinos in many parts of the world.
Of the Nordic countries, gaming came very recently to Sweden, (4 casinos,) and Finland only legalised one casino just over 10 years ago and has never increased the numbers. Denmark has had casinos for longer but the number there has remained constant at six. Norway, although by land mass size is one of the largest countries in Europe does not have casinos, nor does Iceland.
Most of the Countries/Islands in the beautiful Mediterranean Sea have casinos and you will find casinos in Malta (4), Gibraltar (1), Crete (1), Corfu (1), Majorca (1). Figures from Northern Cyprus seem to change often but there were around 20 mid-2007
You`ll find active lotteries throughout the continent, check here for lottery results: UK Lottery Results, Ireland Lottery Results and Euro Million Winning Numbers. For general information, click the lottery link at the top of this article.
Poker is also a fanatical thing in Europe much like everywhere else in the world it seems. There are some great poker rooms inside some very nice casinos to be had. Prepare to dress for the occasion, some casinos have strict dress codes.
Pari-mutuel facilities: dog tracks, horse tracks, etc... are also all over Europe. And these tracks in our opinion are much nicer than the tracks in United States. Horse racing in Europe is very exciting, each facility you visit will be different. In America most tracks are predictably oval shaped and flat, not so here. The race tracks in Europe are different at every facility. Different turns, different shaped tracks, some with pitch to them - not flat.
There are 18 countries in Eastern Europe that have casino gambling including Russia which has the most and estimates of Moscow casinos reach 200 or more. Things are changing though in Moscow and casinos are being forced to move out of the city to far flung outposts within the next 2 years. Slovenia holds the largest casino and there are over 20 poker rooms in Poland, so we certainly have casinos in Eastern Europe.
Less than 20 years ago, under the old Soviet system, casinos were hardly heard of, or non existent in Eastern Europe. After the fall of the Berlin wall casinos sprouted up quite rapidly starting in Poland, 1989, and spreading eastwards. There is hardly a country in the region now that does not enjoy casino gaming with even impoverished Albania opening a high class Regency casino in its capital Tirana in the last 2 years.
Major gaming groups such as Cherry Foretagen and Casinos Austria led the way opening casinos across Eastern Europe and since casinos have become established major players such as Olympic and HIT casinos have taken over as the major operators.
Different from other parts of the world casinos are mainly for pure gambling entertainment but things are about to change with Sol Kerzner heading a consortium to build Europe’s first truly gaming resort which will include 5 casinos in Hungary. Hungary is about the only casino in the region where casino numbers have gone down in the period and at present have only 6 casinos.
There is pari-mutuel gambling in Eastern Europe (grehounds and horse racing), too, and horse racing, “The sport of Kings” is prevalent throughout the Eastern bloc and has been for many more years than casino gambling.
Poker has been very popular in the region long before many other areas of the world. Cosmos casino in Moscow was holding International tournaments long before the worldwide poker craze started years ago. So poker players will easily find a game of Texas Hold'em with a little exploring of the local haunts -- there is no shortage of poker here. In addition to poker there are also active lottery systems in place throughout Eastern European countries.
Most countries in Africa have casinos but South Africa and Egypt easily have the most, with each country coming close to 40 casinos each. Kenya follows closely behind them with 20 available gaming licenses and there are many lesser known places in Africa such as the Seychelles which have one or two casinos.
Probably the most famous casino in Africa is Sun City Casino by Africa’s largest gaming group, Sun International. Africa’s most beautiful casino destination has to be the Planters Casino at the Plantation Club in Seychelles, Africa.
Sun International is the biggest player in Africa with 22 casinos located in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Probably Africa’s most profitable casino, Sun International’s Grand West Casino in Cape Town, will have it’s monopoly challenged by Gold Reef Resorts.
Casinos in South Africa are limited to 40 and more information can be found at the continents largest gaming board: National Gambling Board, which regulates South African gaming, and also from the website of Africa’s largest casino association. South African casinos generate a huge portion of all African casinos combined and gross gaming revenue grew from R6,22bn in 2001-02 to R15,618bn at the end of last year (2008). Gauteng, with its seven casinos, was by far the biggest in terms of revenue generation, grossing R1,405bn in the last quarter 2008.
2009 and 2010 will finally see major casinos companies opening in African countries other than South Africa. In Nigeria Sun International will open in the Federal Palace hotel in Lagos while another gaming giant Kerzner International will open the Mazagan Beach Resort.& Casino in El Jadida (Casablanca) Morocco, both properties will be fully operational at the start of 2010. On June 17th 2009 American gaming giant MGM announced plans to develop the 550 room MGM Grand New Giza in the shadow of the Pyramids.
In Southern Africa the are major operations outside of South Africa in countries such as Botswana with 10 casinos and Zimbabwe with 9. Other countries in the region with between 2-5 casinos are Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia.
Apart from Kenya, in West Africa the are casinos in Tanzania and Uganda. Established for many years in the region the East Africa Casino company recently added to their casinos in Kenya by opening the Mayfair casino in the Ugandan capital kampala.
Finally in the exotic Indian Ocean Islands of Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion and Madagascar you will find between 3 and 9 casinos on each. South African gaming group Peermont which has 10 casinos in South Africa and Botswana announced on July 1st 2009 it had taken control of all Casinos of Mauritius group 5 casinos.
Poker is no stranger in Africa with South Africa regularly hosting nation poker tournaments and other poker related events. For a summary on poker in Africa please read our latest poker article here: Africa Poker. Major Poker tournaments were held recently in Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and RSA. South African’s now have their own poker association.
Africa has many lottery systems. The largest lottery in Africa is the South Africa National Lottery.
Horse racing is available in Africa, but not many countries have horse racing in them. The major exception to this rule of thumb would be South Africa where the sport is very big - South Africa has 11 race courses. More information can be found at the National Horse Racing Authority
While one might think that the Middle East is devoid of gambling, they`d be wrong. It is true however that there is not a lot to pick from. Lebanon and Israel both have casinos however in Israel you must sail into international waters before gambling can commence. Lebanon is home to the most famous casino in the region and that is the Casino du Liban, a full entertainment complex which has over 500 slots and 65 table games.
One also cannot forget Egypt - although obviously geographically located in Africa, politically it is considered in the Middle East - and it is also is the only country in the Middle East to have more than one casino. If one looks really hard, you will find places to gamble in the Middle East. For a head start in your search: find gambling news, casino jobs, poker information and more by using the `explore menu` in the upper right hand corner of this article.
Horse racing and pari-mutuel facilities are far more popular than casinos in this area of the world. Horse racing in Dubai has become the best in the world with major events also held in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and even Iraq. With a purse of US million to the winner, March 2009 saw the 14th running of the richest horse race in the world, the Dubai World Cup.
Casino Resorts and Hotels in the Middle East can be reserved directly through World Casino Directory - and it helps support us, too. You will find helpful members and staff in the Middle East gambling forum to try to answer your questions. There is also a poker article here that runs down the current hold`em scene and more information on poker in the Middle East.
Until the mid 1990’s, cruise lines considered that casinos were just one more onboard diversion for their passengers who were happy with the low betting limits as they had relatively low gaming skills. Many of the major cruise lines leave from USA ports and now that nearly every state has some form of casino gambling the cruise lines have vastly improved the casinos both by number of games and limits allowed. The result: a rapidly growing base of players who also take cruises.
In just the last decade Cruise ship sailing has increase dramatically and so have the size of the vessels. In may 2007 the then largest cruise ship in the world, RCCL’s Freedom of the Seas, had it’s maiden voyage. Freedom of the Seas has more than 1,800 rooms for up to 4,375 passengers, is more than 1,112ft (339m) in length - longer than 37 double-decker buses. 10 years ago both ocean going liners and the casinos onboard were a fraction of the size of today’s liners. Cruising is the world’s fastest growing holiday choice and still has only reached a tiny percentage of its potential.
On December 5th 2009 Royal Caribbean’s The Oasis of the Seas, a 16-deck, 220,000-ton mega cruise ship which can accommodate 5,400-passengers in 2,700 state-rooms, made it’s inaugural voyage in the Caribbean.
Carnival Cruise Lines is by far the biggest Cruise ship company and has by far the most casinos. Carnival was formed in 1972 and today along with its associates, (Holland America Line, Princess Cruise, Cunard, and Costa Cruises), account for nearly half of the whole world’s cruise ship fleet. Carnival started its fleet of Fun ships which are known for their Las Vegas decor and entertainment. RCCL and Celebrity cruise lines comes a distant second and third in the number of ships. Other major players are Disney, Holland America, NCL and Crystal. All major cruise lines now have casinos on board all their fleet with the exception of Disney which are the only cruise line yet to allow on board gaming.
Not only are the number of cruise ships growing at breathtaking pace but 95% of all new cruise lines launched between 2005 and 2009 have large casino areas that are a major revenue generator for the cruise companies. Casinos are now such a revenue earner for the cruise lines that some of the large operators have negotiated with Governments to open while their ships were in port and in late 2008 Bermuda followed the Bahamas in allowing this.
Innovative cruise lines now even cater to “high rollers” and now are prepared to "rate" players, buy them drinks and even offer free future cruises. Some on board casinos offer table maximums and comps that rival casinos such as those in Las Vegas. NCL’s Casinos at Sea ™ players club was the first and is still the most popular player rewards scheme on the high seas. Even land based operator Caesars Palace of Las Vegas got in on the act and operated the luxury casinos on Crystal cruises but now Century Casinos of Colorado, operator of the casinos on board the four Silversea cruise ships, is the only land based operator managing casinos at sea.