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Top Caribbean Casino and Gaming Destinations

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If you want to add some high-stakes excitement to your tropical travel, head to one of the Caribbean islands known for gambling. Casinos can be found on such islands as Aruba, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Curacao and Bonaire, and are often in large, beachside resorts that offer excellent package deals and luxurious extras such as spas.

1. Aruba

Oranjestad, Aruba
mytravelphotos/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
Aruba is where Caribbean Stud Poker was invented. Most of the casinos in Aruba are located in the high-rise resort hotels along Palm Beach, but the Alhambra Casino is near the Divi resort complex at Eagle Beach, while the Crystal and Seaport casinos are in downtown Oranjestad.

A few of Aruba's casinos are open 24/7, but in general opening hours are 11 a.m. for slots and 1 p.m. for table games. The currency is the U.S. dollar. Two of the most spectacular casinos include the island's largest, the Stellaris Casino at the Aruba Marriott, and the sophisticated Crystal Casino at the Renaissance Aruba Resort. Other options include the Excelsior Casino at the Holiday Inn Sunspree and the casino at the Riu Resort on Palm Beach.

2. Dominican Republic

© Casino Dominicus
The major resort complexes of Punta Cana and Playa Dorada, and La Romana are home to many of the island's 120-plus casinos. You can bet in either pesos or U.S. dollars, and the odds are the same as in Las Vegas. Most casinos are open until the wee hours of the morning — 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. One good bet is the Playa Dorada Casino in the Allegro Playa Dorada. This hotel has 500 rooms and is near an 18-hole golf course. The Renaissance Jaragua Hotel and Casino in Santo Domingo is the largest casino on the island, but if you are traveling with kids, you may prefer the family-friendly Amhsa Paradise Beach Club & Casino. The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is a newer addition (opened in 2010) but has become a major destination for Punta Cana-bound gamblers.

3. Puerto Rico

© Wyndham Worldwide
Most of Puerto Rico's 20-odd casinos are located in major hotels in destinations like Isla Verde, Carolina, Old San Juan and Condado in San Juan, as well as more far-flung destinations like Dorado, Fajardo, Humacao, Ponce, and Mayaguez. Most casinos stay open until 4 a.m. or 6 a.m., but a few are open 24 hours. The currency is the U.S. dollar. One of the most elegant options is the Ritz-Carlton on the Isla Verde beachfront. The casino is open 24 hours. Also, check out the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and El Conquistador Resort, whose Golden Door Spa is justifiably renowned. This property has a casino with a casual Spanish vibe.

.Puerto Rico also offers live racing at El Comandante Racetrack in Canovanas, west of San Juan.

4. The Bahamas

© Kerzner International
The casinos in the Bahamas cater only to tourists; Bahamians are not allowed to gamble. Casinos include the Atlantis Paradise Island, the Crystal Palace Casino at the Wyndham Nassau on Cable Beach, and the casino at the Grand Lucayan resort on Grand Bahama Island. The Atlantis offers an array of rooms and activities in addition to the 50,000-square-foot casino. The gaming floor is filled with more than 1,000 state-of-the-art slots and 90 table games, including blackjack, mini-baccarat and baccarat, craps, roulette, Let It Ride, and Caribbean Stud Poker.

The Crystal Palace Casino has 400-plus slots and about 40 table games.

5. Antigua and Barbuda

Nicole Mouck
Antigua has a half-dozen casinos offering a wide variety of play, including slot machines, video poker, craps, roulette, blackjack, Let It Ride, three-card poker, and Caribbean stud poker. The newest, the Grand Princess Casino, is located near the Jolly Beach Resort and features a sports book, 250 slots, 25 table games, restaurants, and the Liquid nightclub.

Another freestanding facility, Kings Casino, is located in the capital of St. John's, close to the cruise pier and duty-free shopping. The St. James Club Resort & Villas in Mamora Bay is the place to go for gaming in an intimate, upscale European-style atmosphere.

6. Curacao

© Marriott International Inc.
The Venito Casino at the Holiday Beach Resort is the largest gaming operation in Curacao, with a 29,800-square-foot gaming floor, 350 slots, and 14 table games. The Trupai Inn is home to the Hill Ross Casino, with 100-plus slots, eight tables of blackjack, poker and roulette, free drinks, and live music on Saturday nights. The Curacao Marriott Beach Resort and Emerald Casino and the Hilton Curacao each have smaller casinos on-site. The San Marco and Otrabanda are other casino-hotels located downtown in Willemstad. the Sunscape Curacao, the island's premier all-inclusive resort, features a 15,000-square-foot casino, and the 80-room Hotel Kura Hulanda has a European-style casino with the only seven-card stud poker game on the island.

7. Martinique

© Bob Curley
The French Caribbean island of Martinique is home to two casinos: Casino de la Batelière Plaza, located just north of the capital Fort-de-France in Schoelcher, and Casino des Trois Ilets, just south of the capital. The Batelière Plaza resembles a classic plantation house and has 140 slots and 6 table games; poker, blackjack and French and American roulette are played. The smaller Casino des Trois Ilets has 70 slot machines, American roulette, blackjack and stud poker. Martinique also offers betting on live horse racing at the Hippodrome de Carrère in Lamentin.

8. St. Maarten

© Bob Curley
Visitors to St. Maarten have a total of 13 casinos to choose from, all of which are on the Dutch side of this French/Dutch island. Unlike most islands, the majority of the casinos in St. Maarten are stand-alone operations and not located in hotels. The newest casino on the island, however, is located at the Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort: the hotel's 5,000-square-foot casino has 260 slots and 10 table games.

The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort is home to the Casino Royale, which recently added 100 new slots (for a total of more than 400) and a high-rollers club with VIP booths. Philipsburg, capital of Dutch St. Maarten, is home to the Rouge et Noir and the Coliseum Casino, while sports fans will gravitate to the Lightning Casino.

9. U.S. Virgin Islands

CasinoDiviCarina.jpg
© Divi Carina Bay Resort
The U.S. Virgin Islands has only one full-service casino: a 10,000-square-foot facility at the Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino in St. Croix. The Divi offers hundreds of slots as well as blackjack, Caribbean Stud, craps, roulette, three-card poker, Texas Hold'em, and Big 6. St. Croix's Randall "Doc" James Racetrack offers betting on live and simulcast horse and dog racing. 

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