In the past two decades, as the world has become ever more globalised and the international middle class has gotten richer, casino tourism has become increasingly popular.
Casino tourism is a form of high-end tourism whereby people travel far and wide to visit casinos all over the world.
The most popular casino destinations in the world are places like Las Vegas, Macau, and Monaco. But even right here in India, we have one of the most popular casino destinations in the region: our very own Goa.
But how does Goa, as a casino destination, actually compare to the other great casino capitals of the world? That’s exactly what we’re gonna discover in this article.
Let’s start by taking a look at Goa, so we have some context for comparison:
Number of Casinos in Goa: 13
Biggest Casino in Goa: Deltin Royale
Goa is the casino capital of India, and an internationally renowned casino destination.
Goa receives millions of tourists every year from all over the world, and most of these people come to enjoy the beautiful beaches and the laid back atmosphere of India’s most liberal state.
However, there is a smaller but more lucrative segment of casino tourists who pass through Goa in order to frequent the high-end casinos in the state.
These affluent tourists sometimes spend tens of thousands of dollars in a single night, and this is why casino tourism is big business in the state.
And as far as casino tourism in India goes, Goa is THE place to be.
Although there are casinos elsewhere in India, such as in Sikkim and Dammam, those locations are small, have fewer casinos and less luxurious facilities, and therefore, do not feature on most casino travellers’ bucket lists.
In Goa, tourists will find first-class luxury casinos such as the world-famous Deltin Royale.
The Deltin Royale is the biggest casino in Goa, and one of the most popular gambling destinations in all of Asia. The casino covers more than 50,000 sq ft. of area and contains close to 1000 gaming stations.
So how does Goa compare to the other major casino destinations around the world? Let’s take a look!
Number of Casinos in Macau: 41
Biggest Casino in Macau: The Venetian Macau
Macau is (geographically speaking) the closest competitor to Goa. However, when it comes to the size and the scope of this casino destination, Macau dwarfs Goa by a sizable chunk.
At the time of this writing, there are a total of 41 casinos operating in Macau, and all of the casinos in Macau are luxury gambling destinations.
In Goa, there is a greater diversity in terms of the budget range offered by casinos. There are casinos in Goa that appeal to both the more modest domestic tourism segment, as well as the more well-off international casino tourists.
In Macau, this is not the case. All of their casinos are high-end gambling venues that cater to rich Asian business magnates, wealthy tourists, politicians, opium smugglers, venture capitalists, et al.
The casinos in Macau are all designed to handle exceptionally large volumes and stakes. Which is why people go to Macau when they want to bet big.
It’s therefore not unusual to see people risking between $20,000 and $100,000 on a single bet in the VIP poker rooms of Macau.
Number of Casinos in Monaco: 4
Biggest Casino in Monaco: Casino de Monte-Carlo
Monaco is a small city-state located on the coast of southern France and one of the oldest and most iconic casino cities in the world.
The first casino in the country was established in the mid 1800’s, and for half a century of ups and downs the casino was a gambling playground for the upper-classes and aristocracies of France and other European countries.
In turn, Monaco rose to popular fame around the years of 1891 when an ordinary-looking Englishman named Charles Deville Wells frequented the casino and “broke the bank” (meaning he won a large sum of money) on several occasions.
Stories of him were circulated not only in England but all over Europe, and even America. This led to a more ordinary clientele becoming infatuated with the idea of visiting a casino and winning large sums of money, and that was the beginning of the golden age for Monaco.
To this day, Monaco remains a very popular casino destination, primarily for Europeans, but also for casino tourists from other parts of the world.
Unlike other casino destinations, gambling is actually restricted in Monaco. Citizens of the country are not allowed to frequent the gambling rooms of Monaco - it is an activity purely reserved for tourists.
When compared to Goa, Monaco is definitely a much more polished and ritzy casino destination. This owes to the fact that travelling to and staying in Monaco is not a cheap ordeal, and for the same reason, it’s not uncommon to meet celebrities or high-profile politicians when strolling through the city’s streets.
Number of Casinos in Las Vegas: 104
Biggest Casino in Las Vegas: Wynn/Encore
It’s impossible to talk about casino destinations without also mentioning Las Vegas, the casino capital of the world.
Casinos were legalised in the state of Nevada back in 1931. Coincidentally, construction began on the nearby Hoover Dam project the same year.
This meant that there was a large influx of workers (mainly single men with money to spend) moving into the region, and therefore, Las Vegas quickly emerged as a gambling hotspot full of booze, drugs, and prostitutes. This earned Las Vegas the nickname Sin City - a name that it has retained to this very day.
However, the clientele that now frequents the hotels and casinos of Las Vegas has evolved dramatically over the years.
These days, Las Vegas is a full blown entertainment destination which is not only renowned for its casinos, but also for music performances, circuses, acrobatics, sporting events, and much more.
Moreover, Las Vegas isn’t reserved for only the upper classes or the lower classes - the city offers both budget friendly casino options, as well as many high-class casinos resorts for the more seasoned high-stakes gambler with deeper pockets.
The largest casino in Vegas is the Wynn/Encore. With its 191,424 sq. ft. of gaming area, it is indeed one of the largest casinos in the world. It is also the most family-friendly casino hotel in Vegas, with plenty of activities for the whole family.
If you’re looking for a more posh experience then the Skylofts at the MGM Grand may be more according to your taste. Here, room rates start at around $10,000 per night, and the game halls are some of the most luxurious and sophisticated in all of Vegas.
So how does Goa stack up against all these international casino destinations? Well, it’s no secret that while Goa may be a major casino destination in India, it’s probably a pretty obscure place to most well-off casino tourists.
However, Goa definitely has potential. Goa should capitalise on its beachfront location, build high-class hotels to accommodate rich tourists that are looking for a casino destination that’s off the beaten path, and offer a casino bonus, just like online casinos these days are doing.
If that is done, then we may see Goa emerge as a world-famous casino destination in the near future.