The High Roller Life: Jetsetter Gambling Destinations Across the Globe

By Kim Campbell Thorton

Made it big in tech? Just won the lottery? Come from old money? If you’re looking for a way to blow some bucks on a grand scale, casinos around the world are anxious to help. And they have a special welcome for high rollers—“whales” in gambling parlance—the people who lay down five- and six-figure bets at a time without batting an eye and collect handsome rewards from casinos in the process.

While Las Vegas might be the first place that comes to mind when you think “high roller,” plenty of places around the world are equally if not more attractive to high-end gamblers with a penchant for luxury and a lust for international destinations. Exotic settings, islands in the sun, aristocratic haunts: All have one thing in common—the lure of the tables. Here are six luxe locales that draw stars—think Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Lady Gaga, Bruce Willis—spies (fictional and otherwise), socialites and highflyers.


This island gaming capital on the west side of China’s Pearl River Delta has gambling revenues seven times greater than Las Vegas and is nicknamed the gambling capital of the world. By day, the former Portuguese colony is defined by the blue-and-white ceramic tiles adorning so many buildings, but it glitters at night, never more so than at its numerous casinos. Hot spots that attract high rollers include The Grand Lisboa, Macau’s tallest building and boasting the world’s largest LED dome; City of Dreams, with its Michelin-starred restaurant (Alain Ducasse’s Morpheus—where I would go simply for the Pierre Herme Lounge, featuring the inspired macarons and other sweet creations of the eponymous patissier) and House of Dancing Water stage show; Wynn Palace, featuring four 3,900-square-foot penthouses and 24-hour butler service; and the Venetian Macau, which dwarfs every other casino in the world. The Venetian’s exclusive Paiza Club offers private gaming rooms and 24-hour dining. When they’re ready for a break from the tables, high rollers can visit Macallan Whisky Bar and Lounge, known for its fine selection of premium cigars and private smoking lounge, at the Galaxy Hotel. Fun fact: The Golden Dragon Casino in the 2012 Bond film “Skyfall” was not a real location but built and filmed at the U.K.’s Pinewood Studios.


Parked in front are Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, Lamborghinis, and stretch limousines. Tourists snap photos in front of the fountain or line up to tour the interior. It’s arguably the most famous casino in the world.

Who doesn’t know of the Casino Monte Carlo? Even disguised as “Royale-Les-Eaux” in Ian Fleming’s first Bond book, “Casino Royale,” the Belle Epoque beauty is instantly recognizable from the many movies in which it has played a supporting role: Bond movies “Golden Eye” and “Never Say Never Again,” 2010’s “Iron Man 2,” 2004’s “Ocean’s 12,” and the animated “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.” And in real life, racers in the Monaco Grand Prix sweep past the Beaux Arts façade.

It’s not just in the movies that the rich and famous frequent the Casino, which was founded 157 years ago in 1863 after previous casino ventures failed. The goal was to bring in revenues to support the royal family, and the Principality, a task it still achieves today.

Surrounded by gardens and with a sweeping terrace facing the Mediterranean Sea, the Casino de Monte Carlo is the largest and most famous of Monaco’s five casinos. The recently renovated Place du Casino harks back to 1930s glamour, and it’s no surprise that players can dine at the Alain Ducasse Michelin 3-star restaurant Louis XV. The Casino draws a high roller crowd to its backroom Salons Privés, where after 10 pm, coat and tie are required to enter. Known high-limit players also have access to four “super private rooms.” And although not specifically designed for it, the Casino’s extra-wide roulette tables can help make for easier social distancing going forward. Try something new—and old—with a game of Trente et Quarante. Also known as Rouge et Noir (Red and Black), it’s not a type of roulette but a 17th-century card game that is seen primarily in European casinos.


A little closer to home, high rollers and rated casino players check in to Cain at The Cove, an ultraluxury resort that’s part of Atlantis, Paradise Island, for its poolside gaming, beach cabanas and personal butlers. But guests at any of the Atlantis hotels can enjoy the 50,000-square-foot Atlantis Casino, a tribute to the mythical underwater kingdom featuring life-size ancient ship models, a Temple of the Sun, and Chihuly glass—not to mention more than 800 slot machines, 85 table games, and a race and sports book for betting on major sporting events, including horse racing. In the high limit room, minimums start at $100 and can peak at $10,000 or more. High rollers can expect invitations to live performances and other events.

Want more? Read the rest in our digital issue of Cigar & Spirits Magazine!


Check out the rest of our lifestyle pieces!

By |2020-10-13T12:57:56-08:00October 13th, 2020|Lifestyle, Travel|Comments Off on The High Roller Life: Jetsetter Gambling Destinations Across the Globe
Go to Top