When I first got to Las Vegas, I arrived on a Greyhound bus. I climbed into the first taxi I could see, asked the man to take me to the Sahara Hotel, and stared out of the window.
We rolled onto the highway, above the desert and the glinting buildings. Half an hour later, we arrived at the hotel and the driver pressured me into paying an extra $30 because he ‘had kids to feed.’ Once in my room, I checked the map and noticed that the Greyhound station was only a two minute walk from the Sahara Hotel. D’oh!
If you are travelling to casino cities, prepare to get ripped off. These cities are not just designed to catch you out at the roulette tables; they will catch you out in your hotel and on the streets too. If you bear this in mind, and build yourself a strong itinerary for what you plan to do when you arrive, you will have a good time. Alternatively you can just stay at home and log onto an online casino like www.ukcasino-club.co.uk . Save yourself the airfare.
Despite my introduction, I actually had a good time in Sin City. Yes, it is baking hot in the summer; yes, The Strip is far more spread out than you would predict; and yes, you get plagued by ‘escorts’ whenever you approach a bar, but there is a lot to see in Las Vegas and many things can be done for free.
One of the best casinos to visit is Circus Circus. You can sit by the penny slot machines and wait for barmaids to offer you free drinks. They will try to get you drunk and if you tip them $1 they will keep coming back. Once you’ve had enough, you can take a ten minute walk towards Treasure Island Casino and watch the free Pirate Battle outside. Inside Caesars Palace you can walk through streets with fake-curving skies that, at the middle of the night, will give you the illusion of walking outside in daytime. After a while you will find yourself put off by the sheer amounts of money so many people seem to have.
Compare this to:
The abode of James Bond. The tiny city that has enough wealth to cure world hunger. This place doesn’t have the desperation of Las Vegas. The rich people in the casinos don’t alienate but fascinate. Las Vegas is a city built by mobsters and caters to mob mentality. Monte Carlo was created by a prince and well regarded diplomat.
The buildings nestle at the base of the Maritime Alps and feature three of the best casinos in the world: Le Café de Paris, Casino Monte Carlo, and Monte Carlo Sun Casino. For my short stay I remained exclusively in Casino Monte Carlo. This is the most prestigious casino in Europe and features a wide variety of table games. This is the casino James Bond spends time in, a beautiful palace-of-a-building. Interestingly, Monaco residents are banned from entering it.
This city in South-East China is a ‘Special Administrative Region’ like Hong Kong. It is heavily dependent on gambling and you will notice an odd smell in the air on arriving. The city has some of the most advanced casinos in the world and has overtaken Las Vegas in terms of revenues. The Venetian Macau is worth visiting due to its sheer size but the city actually has much more to offer. Check out the Macau Tower and the ruins of St. Paul’s – a cathedral built by the Portuguese in the 1600s.