by Andrea Doyle | August 02, 2016

Marina Bay Sands, in Singapore,
is a MICE-led, integrated resort
that includes gaming

 Macau and Singapore
Asia is a gambling mecca with destinations like Macau and Singapore as standouts. "From what we know as planners, if we have a group that wants to be at an international destination and casinos are on the forefront of a want, Asia is the fastest growing market for casinos. Casinos there are typically big and splashy," says Renee Radabaugh, president and managing director, Paragon Events, a meeting and event planning firm based in Delray Beach, FL. "There is an energy that comes from a casino destination; incorporating this type of entertainment, you are able to keep attendees alert and on their feet, with not only gaming, but shows and a creative culinary scene. People are so intrigued by the sensory, and casinos answer that need at many different levels."

Caribbean & Bahamas
When most think of the Caribbean and the Bahamas, white sand beaches, exotic culture, and a tropical setting come to mind. But groups can also add casino gaming to this list for a number of islands -- Aruba, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico among them.

The region's biggest casino is in the Atlantis, with 60,000 square feet of gaming. In addition to the high energy of the main Atlantis Casino, the Paradise Island, Bahamas resort offers guests a range of outdoor poolside and upscale indoor gaming experiences.

One of the leading gaming destinations in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has 18 casinos in Punta Cana and 12 in Santo Domingo. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana is the largest, with 45,000 square feet of gaming space and 450 slot machines.

Hard Rock International recently announced plans to develop its second gaming resort in the Dominican Republic: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Santo Domingo. The all-inclusive hotel is the brand's seventh collaboration with AIC Hotel Group and is slated to open in late 2017. Located in the heart of the capital city, the property will be home to a 23,000-square-foot casino and 33,000 square feet of meeting space. Unlike past collaborations with AIC, however, the hotel will not be an all-inclusive resort.

Aruba's casinos offer table games such as blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, baccarat, and Caribbean Stud Poker -- a game that originated on the island. McNamara of Meetings Plus Events recently visited Aruba as part of a destination familiarization trip sponsored by the CVB. "I never expected to find a casino in every hotel -- even The Ritz-Carlton," she says. "It's in such demand there. The casinos are not large, but they are everywhere."

Puerto Rico and More
There is no shortage of casinos in Puerto Rico, and it's interesting to note that all of the casinos are in hotels. Puerto Rico's El San Juan Resort & Casino, which boasts a storied history, features the 7,500-square-foot Royal Casino.

With 20 table games and 418 slot machines, the casino in the Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort combines cutting-edge gaming with a sophisticated style. Casino del Sol in the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde features 412 slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker, and craps. Casino Metro at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino has more than 400 slot machines and 18 table games.

Casino Caguas Real at the Four Points has 570 machines, one craps table, two roulette tables, one mini baccarat table, and six blackjack tables.


The Casino de Monte-Carlo is an
iconic gaming property

The Principality of Monaco has one of the most famous grand casinos in the world: The Casino de Monte-Carlo, which offers a wide variety of games, from blackjack to French Roulette in a luxurious and glamorous atmosphere. Next door, Casino Café de Paris was completely renovated this year, and now offers a large selection of slot machines and gaming tables in a modern environment, including two new gaming terraces that allow players to gamble outside all year long.

Also in Monaco, the Sun Casino -- the most American of the Principality's casinos -- offers a relaxed atmosphere with 300 slot machines and table games including a craps table, unique in the Cote d'Azur.

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This article appears in the August 2016 issue of Successful Meetings.