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Eight Top Casino Holiday Destinations
Tired of Las Vegas and Macau? Try Cape Town, Panama City and Australia's Gold Coast!
Las Vegas, Macau and Atlantic City. Been there, done that. Try your luck elsewhere! Following are eight suggestions where gambling the night away at the poker or roulette tables can be combined with some fun in the sun or some sightseeing.
Gold Coast, Australia
One of Australia's premier tourist destinations, Queensland's Gold Coast is a 60 kilometer long stretch of coastline from the southern suburbs of Australia's third-largest city, Brisbane, down to the bordering state of New South Wales. Boasting almost five million tourists a year, it is home to numerous theme parks, popular surfing beaches, crazy nightlife and mountainous hinterlands on its doorstep. Add to all that the Conrad Jupiters Casino and you have a casino holiday destination.
Cape Town, South Africa
Gambling in South Africa is strictly regulated, but what better place to allow it than Cape Town, known for its harbor and for famous landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point. The Sun International-operated Grand West Casino is the only casino inside the city itself, but there are several others nearby.
Panama City, Panama
With 23 licensed casino facilities, Panama City is one of the most high-density casino destinations in the world. It also happens to be an option that hasn't yet become a major part of the tourist trail. Situated on the famous Panama Canal along the Isthmus of Panama, the narrowest strip of land between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the city is also a good base for journeying out to great beaches and lush rainforest, or a starting point for holidays to Central or South America.
For a casino holiday with a difference, try Eilat, Israel's southern-most city, located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. Gambling in Israel is actually illegal, but for years casino boats have been heading out into international waters from the Eilat port to allow locals and international visitors to gamble
Balearic Islands, Spain
The Islands of Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, which together constitute a province of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea, are home to numerous casinos. The biggest island, Majorca, has only one casino, the Casino de Mallorca, but it is so big that within there is another casino called the Casino Palladium Mallorca. There are also gambling venues on the other islands.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Another new edition to the gambling circuit after the government gave gambling the green light in April 2008. Actually the approval was given specifically for the first legal casino, but it has allowed resorts to obtain special licenses for casinos and gaming lounges, meaning venues such as the Coral Cliff Hotel in Montego Bay have built casinos filled with slot machines and other games.
The list wouldn't be complete without mentioning newly-independent Montenegro, home of the casino where Agent 007 faces off with nemesis Le Chiffre in the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale. While that casino itself was fictional, the tiny Balkan nation is actually home to several casinos, with a maximum of 14 being permitted.
Penghu Islands, Taiwan
A new destination can soon be added to the list, when Penghu, a popular holiday archipelago situated between Taiwan and mainland China, adds three casinos to its lineup of attractions. Taiwan's parliament is expected to approve the casinos by the end of 2008.