With most bricks-and-mortar casinos forced to close their doors for months on end at the height of the ongoing pandemic, it’s perhaps unsurprising that global visitor numbers and revenue took a hit – but the release of brand-new James Bond film No Time to Die, which just so happens to be set in one of the world’s most opulent casinos, might be about to change all that.
Casino de Monte Carlo – an exclusive and extravagant establishment located in Monte Carlo, Monaco – has long been a favourite amongst the rich and famous, and a place where you could regularly expect to rub shoulders with the stars. With its lavish interiors, impeccable service and strict dress code – not to mention its extensive array of casino games including roulette, baccarat, poker and other favourites, it’s easy to see why it has become world famous, but after coming under the spotlight thanks to the new 007 release, online searches have reportedly surged by a whopping 910 per cent over the past few weeks.
We saw a similar pattern in the wake of 2006 release Casino Royale, which saw some of the world’s most sophisticated casino destinations across the Bahamas, Italy and the Czech Republic become popular haunts amongst the world’s high rollers in spite of the fact that most of those actual casinos featured were fictional.
With Casino de Monte Carlo itself having featured in Bond films several times previously, it’s no stranger to enjoying a slice of the global limelight on the big screen – having appeared in 1983 release, Never Say Never Again, as well as Golden Eye, more than ten years later, in 1995.
And it’s not just land-based casinos that have been experiencing a spike in popularity since the latest film launch. Thanks to the ‘James Bond effect’, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of gamblers logging on to play their favourite games at some of the best online casinos, too – further building on the huge growth we’ve seen in this area since the height of lockdown, when thrill-seekers could only get a slice of the action from the comfort of their sofas.
Nevertheless, online gambling can’t quite match the glitz and glamour of a night at a real-life casino, and if you’ve already ticked off the iconic Casino de Monte Carlo, then there are plenty more to try. A chance to play and win big whilst luxuriating in the most opulent of surroundings, and soaking up the vibrant and suspense-filled atmosphere first-hand, these are the casinos to add to your bucket list for 2022.
The Venetian Macao, Macao
Arguably the world’s most opulent casino, the Venetian – the sister establishment to the famous Vegas casino resort of the same name and owned by the American Las Vegas Sands company – is one that doesn’t do things by halves, and from the moment you set foot in the doorway you’ll see that you’re in for a truly special experience.
The chosen filming location for 2013 blockbuster hit Now You See Me, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Woody Harrelson, this Roman-inspired, gold accented casino features a sprawling 550,000 square feet of gaming space, making it not just the second largest casino in the world, but also the seventh largest building of any kind according to floor space.
Divided into four themes gaming areas – Golden Fish, Red Dragon, Imperial House and Phoenix, it consists of more than 6,000 slot machines in total and 800 gambling tables, with exclusive private rooms reserved only for the biggest of high-rollers.
The Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
Every casino enthusiast should have a trip to Vegas at the top of their to-do list, and located on the famous Las Vegas strip in ‘Sin City’, the opulent Bellagio should be your first port of call. Acquired by the Blackstone Group in 2019 for an eye-watering $4.25 billion, it continues to be one of the most famous high-end casinos in the world – and it’s easy to see why.
This spectacular luxury resort offers some of the finest suites in the city, and with numerous swimming pools, bars, and high-end amenities, it’s the perfect choice for an extravagant stay. Inspired by the Lake Como town of Bellagio in northern Italy, the highlight is an impressive eight-acre lake between the building and the strip, which plays host to its famous nightly fountain display, synchronised to music.
Although guests at the Bellagio can enjoy an expansive gaming space packed with slots and table games, its casino is particularly famed for poker. With high table limits and private rooms for the most extravagant players, it’s regularly frequented by famous professional players including Doyle Brunson and Daniel Negreanu, with pots in the game known to have often far exceeded $1 million.
The Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Designed by Canadian-Israeli architect Moshe Safdie, there’s no denying that the opulent Marina Bay Sands Resort is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. Towering above the lit-up Singapore skyline, it featured heavily in extravagant film ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, and at its opening back in 2010 it was billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at $6.88 billion USD.
The resort features 2,561 rooms in total, as well as the world’s largest atrium casino, which is home to 500 tables, 1,600 slot machines and a buzzing atmosphere.
The resort itself is spread across three towers connected by a 340-metre long Skypark and comprises a plethora of restaurants, two floating crystal pavilions, plus a museum, shopping mall and theatre. If you’re looking to splash the cash on an extravagant casino getaway, then this is the place to do it – and as a favourite haunt of some of the world’s biggest whales, you can see some pretty nail-biting gambling in action, too.
Please gamble responsibly (18+ UK) – check age restrictions before participating