There is no substitute for the warm sun and cool breeze on a beach in the tropics. It’s primal nature for humans to abandon the gritty city and head for some beach blanket bingo and/or umbrella drinks with an ocean view. And after your tanning butter bakes in and the sun sets, it’s time to hit the island casinos for the ultimate nightcap.
Whether you scuba in Aruba or left your heart in St. Martin, the following Caribbean gambling destinations are the best spots to get your game on in the islands. Since all of the Caribbean islands were once colonized by Europeans, you can find the stamp of Old Empires in the architecture and language while taking in a breath of fresh island air and culture.
Antigua and Barbuda
The country of Antigua and Barbuda is made of two main islands with the same names. As an English Commonwealth territory, the official language is English. Snorkelers will find many shipwrecks off the coast of Barbuda and massive schools of tropical fish darting along the Antigua shores.
Antigua offers a choice of several casinos with the most popular slots and table games like the popular Caribbean Stud Poker. Some casinos are built into beach resorts, while others are stand-alone properties.
The St. James Club Resort in Mamora Bay offers an upscale, European ambience in a tropical beach setting. The Grand Princess Casino is one of the newest and largest gambling spots in Antigua. It houses 250 slots, 25 table games, a sportsbook, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Visit Aruba for the birthplace of Caribbean Stud Poker and a taste of the Dutch Caribbean. Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands along with Curacao and St. Maarten, and Dutch is the official language, but English is spoken in the resorts as well. The U.S. Dollar is the local currency.
Unlike most of the Caribbean islands, Aruba’s landscape is dry and arid, with cactus-lined landscapes. Aruba is the perfect spot for those who hate tropical humidity.
For those who like air-conditioned gambling action, check out any of Aruba’s dozen casinos inside the resort hotels. Some of them are even open 24/7. The island’s largest casinos are Crystal Casino in the Renaissance Aruba Resort, and the Stellaris Casino in the Aruba Marriott.
The Bahamas are made up of hundreds of islands in an archipelago stretching 500 miles long into the Atlantic east of Florida. The island nation is another jewel in the Commonwealth crown, and English is the official language.
The casinos in The Bahamas only allow tourists; locals are not allowed to enter. Check out the Crystal Palace Casino at the Wyndham Nassau or the Atlantis Paradise Island casino.
The Crystal Palace has over 400 slots and 40 table games, and the Atlantis is filled with over 1,000 slots and 90 table games in a 50,000-square-foot casino space. Popular games include Caribbean Stud Poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, and baccarat.
Another tropical gem in the Dutch crown is Curacao with Dutch and English as official languages. Curacao also produces its own famous liqueur, houses plenty of tropical resorts, and offers hundreds of casino games for the perfect holiday trifecta.
Curacao holds a constant average temperature year-round of around 80° F, with trade winds keeping it fairly dry and downright balmy. It is also located outside of the hurricane zone, making it a safe bet for some casino action.
The Venito Casino is the largest casino in Curacao, boasting a 30,000-square-foot gaming floor with 350 slots and 14 table games. Or check out the Hill Ross Casino for over 100 slots and 8 table games. Sunscape Curacao is an all-inclusive resort with a 15,000-square-foot casino.
Dominican Republic is a nation occupying five-eighths of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the neighboring Republic of Haiti. The only other Caribbean island shared between two nations is St. Martin, which is half French and half Dutch.
The Domican Republic is also home to over 120 casino in major resorts in Punta Cana and Playa Dorada. Spanish is the official language and pesos are the currency, but English and U.S. dollars flow freely in the casinos and resorts.
The largest casino on the island is the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel and Casino in Santo Domingo. Another betting behemoth is the world famous Hard Rock Hotel Casino brand, which opened a branch in Punta Cana in 2010.
For an old colonial Spanish vibe in the tropics, visit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Spanish and English are the official languages, and the U.S. dollar is king. The nation forms an archipelago of several islands, and the largest island bears the same name. The population of over 3 million is centered around the capital city of San Juan.
The famous Ritz-Carlton chain offers opulent splendor on the Isla Verde beach, and features a casino which is open 24 hours. For a Spanish-colonial mood, the aptly-named Conquistador Resort features a casino with a taste of old Spain.
The island of St. Martin is the other Caribbean island split between 2 nations; Saint-Martin is French, and Sint Maarten is Dutch. However, the only casino action worth mentioning happens on the Dutch part of the island.
There are 13 casinos in St. Maarten, and most of them are separate from the resort hotels. The largest casinos are naturally in the resorts, and the Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort houses a 5,000-square-foot casino with 260 slots and 10 table games. There’s even a gambling den called the Casino Royale at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, which boasts more than 400 slots and a high-rollers club.
Casinos and Colonial Culture
There’s certainly no way you could forget the gorgeous tropical islands of the Caribbean once you’ve set foot on any one of them. Each island holds its own ambience and charm, from Old World luxury to New World resort action.
Whether you prefer the all-inclusive island resort vacation or some happy island hopping to experience some Caribbean culture, you are destined to find a lucky star to guide you while gambling in the islands.