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The top 5 casino hotels & resorts in South America

By Dan Cole on 11th December 2018

We’re big fans of the casino experience here at Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, which is why you’ll see plenty of content about living the life of a high-roller on our website. From the UK, through the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, all the way to the emerging gamblers’ mecca that is Macau, casinos resort trips often provide exhilarating experiences you’ll remember for life. But if you’re chasing an experience a little different from the mainstream fare, you may be missing a trick by not considering the emerging casino industry of South America.

There’s a vibrant and diverse eco-system of casinos available in the continent, and which also provides the bonus opportunity of exploring the different culture available on the doorstep of each resort. Check out our top 5 must-visit casino resorts in South America – but before you book your flights, remember to get some practice closer to home, and check out these essential online casino tips to ensure your game is in tip-top shape before you board the plane in your Bermuda shorts.

5.) Crowne Plaza Maruma Hotel & Casino – Maracaibo, Venezuela

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Venezuela has a chequered past when it comes to gambling, and the current socialist government regulates casinos very strictly. That said, if you’re in Venezuela, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the Crowne Plaza located in the historic port city of Maracaibo, which holds its own with any contemporary casino on the continent.

The venue is as you’d expect with Crowne management – a sleek, modern design with outlets and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools to relax in. The casino itself is modest, but hosts all of the major gaming experiences: blackjack, poker, roulette, slots etc, and is very easily accessible.

Be aware, though, that you won’t be able to expect a flutter on the horses, as the ruling government currently owns the monopoly for this sort of gambling, as well as the lottery.

4.) Ocean Sun Casino, Panama Bay, Panama

Pinch your nose if you’re not a Republican, because this stylish and comfortable casino is located across three floors of what used to be Trump Tower in Panama. It is now operated by global chain J W Marriott, and the resort boasts of being one of the best luxury resorts in Latin America.

The iconic venue, housed within the 70-storey tower overlooking stunning Panama Bay, boasts a selection of 600 slot machines, 37 table games, presidential suites (presumably Mr Trump no longer needs his), a sports bar, combined with a sports betting service, an open terrace and fine-dining facilities.

3.) Casino Iguazu – Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Another casino benefitting from a South American beauty spot, the Iguazu Falls. The falls’ system is the biggest in the world, dwarfing the much-coveted Niagara Falls by comparison.

The casino itself, Casino Iguazu, opened in 1994 and houses 34 gaming tables, encompassing classic Western-world favourites like roulette, blackjack, and craps. The venue itself also houses a separate Texas hold ‘em poker room, and plays host to many tournaments throughout the year – including high-roller events like the Iguazu Masters invitation only series.

The broader resort, with panoramic views of the Iguazu river, also houses an auditorium which frequently hosts some of Latin America’s biggest-name performers.

2.) Sun Monticello – Mostazal, Chile

Formerly known as the Monticello Grand Casino and Entertainment World, the Sun Monticello opened in 2009 with a bang when Jennifer Lopez held an opening night concert. Since then, the resort, a short 45-minute commute from Santiago, has gone from strength to strength – and houses entertainment opportunities for the whole family.

The venue boasts a 5-star hotel, ten gourmet restaurants,an exclusive evening club, a spa, an entertainment auditorium and a 1,800 capacity conferencing facility.

The casino itself houses a generous selection of slots and gaming tables, with popular regional favourite Punto Banco a staple at Monticello, as well as the more mainstream poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and even bingo contributing to a vibrant and diverse mix of gaming.

1.) City Center Rosario – Rosario, Argentina

Another Argentinian venue, the City Center Rosario in the Santa Fe province is a real all-inclusive experience. The Rosario boasts one of the continent’s largest casinos inside a complex which also houses a hotel, spa, convention centre, a selection of restaurants and an arena with a packed entertainment schedule.

The casino’s itinerary includes over 3000 slots, 50 gaming tables, VIP rooms, a poker room, a disco room and a series of thematic bars. One of the most popular nights at the casino is ‘Big Tuesday’, where a weekly mid-stakes poker tournament takes place, with a $2,500 buy-in and a cap of 200 players. A must-attend for anyone with ambition win some serious pesos.