A whopping thirty-eight percent of Americans have been to Las Vegas. And sure, it’s the Mecca for gambling-lovers. But seriously, tourists need to widen their sights. Casinos are about more than winning money–it’s about the experience. If you’re lamenting lost dough, then the experience wasn’t crazy enough. Not insane enough. Not outside this world. Walking into the weirdest casino in the world–now that’s a whole new thrill that beats gaining a few hundred at the slot machine.
Desert Cave Hotel in South Australia
Ever think you’d be able to gamble underground? The Desert Cave Hotel is in the thick of opal mining territory in South Australia. Original settlers lived underground to stay cool, and this hotel is no different. It boasts high ceilings, spacious cool rooms, underground shops, café, bar, and of course, a casino.
Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton, Minnesota
Who would have though that a little Casino would make big news? But they did, and here’s why: in 2012, Black Bear broke the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest bacon-cheeseburger. It weighed 2,014 pounds and was ten feet wide. They even used a crane to flip it. Any resort willing to put that much work into one burger ought to have an epic casino—if you want small-town weird, it’s at Black Bear.
Imperial Hotel in Cripple Creek, CO
And then there’s weird as in paranormal. Cripple Creek, Colorado is infamous for its other-worldly sightings. The whole town has an old-flavor feel, and the Imperial Hotel shows it best. Built in 1896, the hotel is old-fashioned and stately, but hides secrets. Its original owner, George Long, had a daughter who was mentally disabled and still roams the halls. George himself comes down and plays the slot machines after closing the gaming room at night.
Resort World in Genting, Malaysia
Old-fashioned doesn’t fly here. This casino is accessible by skyway, and guests regular roll over the mountains from Kuala Lumpur in a skyway car. The tropical views are breathtaking, both from the skyway and from the casino itself. Perched on a mountain-top, rumor has it that guests who lost too much at the casino would throw themselves off of the mountain’s cliffs. That kind of desperation might be legendary, but this casino’s existence is not.
Prairie Knights Casino and Resort in the Middle of Nowhere
If you thought a skyway was remote, check out Prairie Knights. Located in Fort Yates, North Dakota, this giant, brightly-lit, spacious casino appears to have been dropped by aliens in the middle of a deserted, barren pasture. If you fly in the nearest airport, you’ll drive for about two hours at 75 mph before you get to the resort. The view from the car window will be spectacular, if a little desolate. And the people are friendly. But the night life? Don’t count on it, unless you like hobnobbing with cows.
From city to desert to haunted houses to tropical forests to the land down under, there are hundreds of havens for your weary weekend. So next time you check flights to Vegas, consider some new and unusual locations.