The first casinos to rise up out of the Las Vegas desert in the 1930s resembled cowboy saloons crossed with motels. As time marched on, competing casinos began building larger and larger casinos in a race for dominance. Then came the glaring neon signs all competing to capture the attention of potential gamblers. As all those gambling dollars rolled in, megaresort casinos carved the skyline with high rise hotels and skyscrapers.
Tribal gaming opened up a new world of gambling, and global expansion of megaresort casino companies resulted in ginormous casinos being dropped onto Oklahoma plains and Asian islands. You might be surprised to learn that the largest casino in the world is not even located in Las Vegas. The following list of the world’s largest casinos is ranked by the size of the total gaming space, not the hotel rooms, pools, fountains, and shopping centers.
10. Casino Lisboa – Lisbon, Portugal
The tenth largest casino in the world by gaming floor size is the Casino Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal. The Lisboa offers 1,100 game machines and 26 game tables in 165,000 square feet of gaming space. The casino was opened in 2006 by Stanley Ho and his Macau-based company Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau. The company also owns the Macau casino with the same name.
The casino cost €108.9 million to build, including a €30 million concession fee. In addition to its large gaming space, the Lisboa has a poker room, 3 restaurants, 2 entertainment venues, and an art gallery.
9. MGM Grand – Las Vegas, Nevada
As one of the everlasting icons of the Las Vegas Strip, the MGM Grand places ninth in terms of a total gaming space of 170,000 square feet. It features more than 2,500 slot machines and video poker, a 23-table poker room, and a total of 178 table games.
MGM Resorts International bought the Marina Hotel and Casino in 1990 and renovated it at a cost of $250 million. It was renamed the MGM Grand, and initially opened with a Wizard of Oz theme, complete with animatronic Oz characters and a Yellow Brick Road.
After further renovation and expansion over the years, the current property swings an Art Deco theme reminiscent of classic Hollywood. The MGM Grand was one of the first casinos on the Strip to bill itself as a full entertainment experience for the whole family. It includes numerous attractions, fine restaurants, night clubs, and a theme park.
8. MGM Grand Macau – Macau, China
When the Portuguese island/peninsula colony of Macao was returned to China in 1999, the gambling monopoly ended for Stanley Ho and his companies, and foreign investors were granted casino licenses on the new special administrative region of China now known as Macau. MGM Resorts International was one of the first developers to jump at the opportunity. Since then, the additional development of several megaresort casinos has made Macau the place with the largest gaming industry in the world, worth over $24 billion per year.
The MGM Grand Macau was opened in 2007 at a cost of $1.25 billion. Its gaming space of 222,000 square feet contains 1145 slot machines and over 400 tables.
7. Sands Macao – Macau, China
Another heavyweight player in the megaresort casino realm is Las Vegas Sands (LVS). Sheldon Adelson’s casino empire has several jewels in its crown, including the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, The Venetian Las Vegas, The Venetian Macao (also on this list), and the Sands Macao. Adelson remarked that most of the world’s major casinos are in Asia—including most of his company’s holdings—and that Las Vegas should be called “America’s Macau.”
The Sands Macao was one of the first global casino imports into Macau, which is now the largest gambling mecca in the world. The Sands Macao has 229,000 square feet of gaming space filled with 750 slot machines and 1,000 gaming tables.
6. Tusk Rio – Klerksdorp, South Africa
The Tusk Rio Casino Resort in Klerksdorp, South Africa, has a whopping 266,000 square feet of gaming space for 257 slot machines and 12 gaming tables, there’s certainly a lot of elbow room in this casino. In addition to relatively small number of slots and tables, there are a variety of private gaming salons for gamblers who want their own space.
The hotel has 70 rooms, and the main décor theme for the resort is a homage to the first Rio Carnival in Brazil.
5. Ponte 16 – Macau, China
The Ponte 16 Resort in Macau boasts an impressive 270,000 square feet of gaming space, filled with 320 slot machines and 150 gaming tables. The 423-room hotel and casino is located in the downtown Macau area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Ponte 16 was built in 2008 by Stanley Ho’s casino group SJM, in partnership with Macau Success Limited. Decked out in a sumptuous French-colonial theme, the Ponte 16 houses a very unique artifact: the glove worn by Michael Jackson when he first performed his moonwalk. The casino bought the glove for $350,000. If one glove is not enough, you can probably find the rest of Michael Jackson’s wardrobe distributed all over the world in Hard Rock Café joints.
4. Foxwoods Resort Casino – Ledyard, Connecticut
The new major players in the gambling game are the Indian nations and tribes of the U.S. With plenty of reservation lands and government permission to build casinos on them, hundreds of the 500 federally-recognized Indian tribes in the U.S. have done just that.
The Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut is a proud product of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, who built the 9-million-square-foot resort on their reservation land. The massive resort complex includes 6 casinos with a combined gaming space of 344,000 square feet. This is plenty of room for the 5,500 slot machines and 250 gaming tables.
Tribal reservations and properties are not subject to the statewide smoking ban, so Foxwoods allows smoking. However, it has designated common areas such as the lobby, hallways, and restaurants, as non-smoking areas. The poker room is also non-smoking.
3. City of Dreams – Macau, China
The third largest casino gaming floor in the world is in the City of Dreams casino resort in Macau. Its 420,000 square feet of gaming space holds 1,500 gaming machines and 520 gaming tables. The hotel offers 1,400 rooms, free shows, and the high-energy vibe of 70s and 80s discotheques.
They have spared no expense with the audiovisual feast for the senses, and singles and couples can expect a swinging, hopping, bopping good time. With a Bubble Fountain, Dancing Water Theatre, and 11 tons of video screens featuring swimming mermaids, it’s safe to say that the theme for the City of Dreams is ‘water.’
The City of Dreams is owned by Melco Crown Entertainment, and the property is located directly across from The Venetian Macao on the Cotai Strip, a casino entertainment zone in Macau modeled after the Las Vegas Strip.
2. The Venetian Macao – Macau, China
The second largest casino in the world by sheer gaming floor space is The Venetian Macao, with 550,000 square feet of gambling going on. The gaming space is filled with 3,400 slot machines and 800 gaming tables. The resort has 3,000 suites, huge amounts of commercial and convention space, and a 15,000-seat entertainment arena.
The sister casino to The Venetian Las Vegas was opened in Macau in 2008 by Las Vegas Sands. Both casinos share the Venice theme, complete with lavish renaissance-style construction, and gondoliers pushing gondolas along canals with poles. The Venetian Macau’s 10.5 million square feet makes it the largest casino resort in the world, the largest hotel building in Asia, and the 7th largest building in the world by sheer floor area.
1. WinStar World Casino – Oklahoma
Drumroll, please: and the title of Largest Casino in the World goes to WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma. This tribal casino is owned by the Chickasaw Nation, who built the massive megaresort to house 600,000 square feet of gaming floor area, 7,400 electronic games (slots and video poker), 98 table games, 46 poker tables, and a bingo hall.
The WinStar’s location in Thackerville, southern Oklahoma, places it in close proximity to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. The casino resort draws people from these 2 cities and beyond, as the Dallas/Fort Worth airport is a major transportation hub and the fourth busiest airport in the world by aircraft movements.
So there you have it, megaresort casino fans. Whether you want to gamble in Vegas, Macau, or a tribal casino, these monstrous megaresorts afford massive amounts of elbow room in which to get your game on.