4 Incredibly Advanced Casino Technologies

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Image via Flickr by acaben

With the funds and incentive to find the best surveillance technologies, casinos have gone so far as to become the surveillance industry’s proving ground. As Popular Mechanics reports, casinos hire the best computer security experts and cryptographers, taking on the first version of new technologies that other businesses and agencies, including Homeland Security, have later found useful. Here’s a few of the tricks they have up their sleeves.

1. Angel Eye

Designed to stop card switching, Angel Eye technology involves a sensor in the dealing shoe and invisible barcodes on all the cards. The sensor reads and records all the cards’ barcodes when dealing. If the cards don’t have the same barcodes when they go back to the deck after a game, security gets the alert and can figure out who was trying to beat the system.

2. Radio Frequency Transmitter Chips (RFID Chips)

Thinking of stealing chips from a casino? Casinos have gotten around this common attempt with RFID chips. A small radio transmitter fits into the center of the chip, and equipment at the table and at the cash-in booth will read the signal. Counterfeit chips, however convincing they look, won’t give a signal and will give themselves and their cheating owner away. If you do manage to steal the chips like this man did, the casino can mark them as stolen so that they will know the thief when he tries to cash them in.

3. TableEye21

RFID chips aren’t good just for catching counterfeits. When used with TableEye21 software, they also help profile and rate players. Using several cameras at the table in addition to the smart chips, TableEye21 can create statistics about how often a player wins, if they win more when with a certain dealer, and more. This can not only tell the casino if someone is cheating; it can also tell them which players will make them the most money.

4. NORA (Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness) Software

If you are acting so suspicious that you’re entered into NORA and you are working with a dealer or another player, your cheating days are probably over. That’s because NORA contains the massive amounts of information that a casino acquires on its employees and players. Casinos have used it to catch a cheater using an alias and to connect a team of players who were staying at the same hotel or who went to college together. In fact, Forrester reports that it was a version of NORA that brought down the famous MIT card-counting team led by Bill Kaplan, lately portrayed in the movie 21. The software has been so successful that Homeland Security picked it up to track and connect terrorists, according to Popular Mechanics.
Basically, casinos are where surveillance software and analytics are born and start to grow up before being noticed and adopted by powerful government agencies and security organizations. And the technology is only going to get better.

Have you noticed any of these technologies at a casino?

5 of the Most Beautiful Casinos in The World

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Image via Flickr by ufo34

While many people come to luxurious casinos around the world for the thrill of gambling, they forget to stop and enjoy the beauty surrounding them. Today, many casinos strive to make themselves a destination all on their own. From miles of swimming pools, to challenging golf courses, and even deluxe hotels and spas, the following casinos have more going for them than just slot machines and card tables.

Casino de Genting, Malaysia

Casino de Genting, situated 6,000 feet above sea level, is also known as the ‘Fun City Above the Cloud’. It is the only gaming venue in Malaysia. It has over 200,000 square feet of classic table games, electronic table games, and slot machines. Beyond the amazing capacity for gaming, the resort is also known for having five hotels with a total of 6,118 rooms. The resort has multiple theme parks with indoor roller coasters, carousels, and arcade games.

Bellagio, Las Vegas

Nothing captures Las Vegas Opulence quite like the Bellagio. The resort, which opened October 15, 1998, has an impressive 100,000 square feet of gaming area, and 3,933 guest rooms. Perhaps one of the most iconic aspects of the Bellagio is the 8-acre manmade lake with the famous Fountains. There, a spectacular show of lights and water synchronized to music thrills onlookers.

Atlantis Resort Casino, Bahamas

Atlantis Resort Casino, part of the Atlantis Paradise Island, offers the largest choice of slot machines in the Caribbean, exciting table games, and thrilling race and sport betting. Cain at The Cove even offers poolside gaming of blackjack, mini baccarat, and roulette. When visitors at the resort finish gambling, they can choose from over 21 restaurants for a bite to eat, test their nerves on one of eight water slides, or unwind and refresh in the spa and salon.

Monte Carlo Casino, Monaco

The second smallest country in the world is home to one of the world’s first and most famous casinos. The unforgettable marble and gold atrium open up to gaming rooms for roulette, blackjack, craps, slot machines, and many other games. The complex also includes an opera house and ballet theater. Interestingly enough, citizens of Monaco are forbidden from gambling or even entering the gaming rooms.

Sun City Resort, South Africa

Sun City Resort offers two different casino areas for those looking to try their luck at gambling. The Jungle Casino has over 250 slot machines, and the Sun City Hotel Casino offers 330 slot machines plus a wide array of table games. Along with four different hotels, the resort has an immense number of water activities including a large wave pool, jet skiing, and parasailing. The one thing that Sun City can offer that almost no other resort in the world can is the opportunity to participate in a safari in either the Madikwe Private Game Reserve or the

Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

For many of these resorts, the thrill of gambling is only the beginning of what they have to offer. Once visitors step past the exciting and often chaotic casino floor, it becomes obvious that the developers spared no costs when creating amazing the resort’s amazing restaurants and hotels.

Four Casinos Celebrities Love

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Image via Flickr by Ian Murphy

If you love gambling and celebrities, there are a number of casinos on the Vegas strip where you can roll the dice right along with your star-studded favorites. A-list celebs enjoy the red carpet treatment rolled out for them in Sin City and you’ll find them entertaining themselves at the poshest hotels. While trying your gaming luck, you may even score an autograph from handsome celebs like Brad Pitt and beautiful alluring celebs like Pam Anderson. You just need to know where the stars are hanging out.

Cozy Up with Celebs at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino

Without a doubt, the Caesars Palace casino delivers a touch of glitz and glam with its antiquated Roman setting. Celebs fit right in with its starry-eyed atmosphere and test their luck and skill at the slots, craps, baccarat, and sports book bets. You won’t find a bigger celeb sighting casino than Caesars Palace. J. Lo, Matt Damon, George Clooney, and Khloe Kardashian are just a few of the stars who like to frequent Caesars Palace. In true Hilton fashion, Paris Hilton has hosted a slew of party bashes at this renowned Vegas hotel. Even Barack Obama stayed at Caesars Palace during his presidential campaign.

Hang with the Stars at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Sticking with its rock star theme, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino draws musicians, celebs, and NFL players. Tommy Lee, Pam Anderson, Brad Pitt, and Chris Brown all have been spotted enjoying the table games and slots. Even though the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is nestled off the strip, it draws an energetic and lively crowd. The Hell’s Belles go-go dancers swaying above the blackjack tables keep those male stars coming back along with the hedonistic Sunday Rehab pool parties.

Spot a Star at Palms Casino

Palms Casino is a magnet for the younger celebs like Britney Spears, Michael Phelps, and Jessica Simpson. R & B singer, Usher, has even coined the Palms his second home. The casino has all the classic table games, over 1,000 slots with the latest technologies and a state-of-the-art race and sports book center. While not at the casino, you’ll find celebs rocking the floor at the Ghostbar, dining at Nove, or just enjoying the party scene at the pool.

Swing with Superstars at Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino

The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino is a hotbed for superstars like Justin Timberlake, Courtney Love, and Christina Aguilera. Decked out with endless rows of slot machines on marble floors and under gold-frescoed ceilings, its lavish setting is picture-perfect for celeb icons. Its hip pool scene is often dotted with babes like Jessica Biel and Audrina Patridge. From dawn till dusk, the celebs at the Venetian are ready to rock. Rumor has it that Timberlake once got a bit too friendly with the casino go-go dancers. Shame on you Justin!
The Las Vegas casinos are Hollywood glam all the way. Seeing the celebs there is sure to make you feel like a superstar yourself.

6 of the Most Lucrative Casinos in the U.S.

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Image via Flickr by sataniod

Premier casinos are the epitome of wealth and luxury. Most casinos in the U.S. draw in impressive earnings, even in this post-recession environment. But which ones draw in the most dough? Take a look at the high-end of the high rollers.

1. The Sands

Most people think of The Sands as one of the Vegas hotels and casinos, but it actually lies just outside the famous strip in Paradise, Nevada, and the enterprise includes The Venetian and the Palazzo. The Sands also operates a number of facilities in Asia and Europe, as well as location in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Together, the enterprise was worth $52 billion before the economic meltdown of 2008, but stock prices fell considerably thereafter. It is now recovering, following some multi-million dollar investments by the likes of casino tycoon Sheldon Aledson.

2. MGM Grand

Another staple on the Las Vegas Strip is the MGM Grand hotel and casino, boasting 170,000 square feet and featuring 2,300 gaming machines and 178 gaming tables, including poker. It offers 20 restaurants and bars and 5,044 hotel rooms. Built in 1993 and featuring a Hollywood theme, the MGM is a joint venture with the Mirage, with 30 floors and 5 outdoor pools. MGM also operates a sister casino of a comparable size in Macao, China, the Las Vegas of Asia.

3. Foxwoods Resort Casino

Perhaps lesser known outside gaming circles, the Foxwoods is one of the largest hotels and casinos in the world. Located in Ledyard, Connecticut, it opened in 1986 and boasts 340,000 square feet of casinos with 7,000 gaming machines and 400 gaming tables. It also offers 824 rooms and 29 restaurants and bars. There are six full casinos in the facility, with 17 types of table games with 100 tables dedicated to poker. Managed by the Mashantucket Pequot Native American tribe, it features one of the world’s largest bingo halls. Its proximity to large metro populations like New York and Boston drives the business.

4. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Situated in Atlantic City, Borgata means “Little Village” in Italian, and is worth an estimated $1.1 billion. As the largest casino in Atlantic City, it offers 161 square feet of casinos, with 4,100 gaming machines and 285 table games. 17 restaurants and bars satiate the guests, many of whom stay in one of its 2,002 hotel rooms. Marina District Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the massive Boyd Gaming company, which owns and operates facilities in Las Vegas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, and Mississippi also owns Borgata.

5. Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino

In an industry in which “over the top” is the norm, the Rio developed a unique way to stand out. In 2008, the casino and hotel partnered with a Las Vegas gentleman’s club and began offering a European style topless swimming pool. Though police eventually blew the whistle on this particular marketing ploy, the Rio still draws in guests with 120,000 square feet of casinos, offering 1,245 gaming machines and 104 game tables. It offers 18 restaurants and 2,500 hotel rooms. The Rio sits just off the Strip in Paradise, Nevada.
Modern gaming, however, isn’t confined to brick and mortar casinos. Some of the largest and most lucrative gaming facilities operate online. Online casinos are an excellent way to enjoy casino action outside your vacation time, while also honing your skills for greater success in the casino arena.

4 Things to Consider When Choosing an Online Handle

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So you’ve decided to log on and get in the game. Online gambling, however, is slightly different from casino gambling. Players often interact with games solitarily, and their gambling reputation is linked directly to their online handle (username) rather than their face. If you’re ready to get started with online gambling, be sure to pick the right username. These four tips will ensure your online handle is good to gamble.

1. Choose a Memorable Username

Choosing an online handle that’s easy to remember is good policy, since most online casinos state in their terms and conditions that they’re not responsible for misplaced, forgotten, or lost user information. If you insist on choosing a highly unique or complicated username, be sure to record it for future personal reference.

2. Create an Identity

Your online username will often precede your reputation. It will tell users a little about skills, and possibly a bit about your sense of humor as well (gambling puns for the win). Create an identity for yourself with your online handle. Ensure it’s one you’ll be comfortable with for years to come. Most of all: be humble. “BestPlayerEverx1000” could bite you in the blackjack if you have a bad game.

Pay attention to other online handles, as well. Try not to create an identity based off a username that’s too similar to another player on the same site you wish to join. This will avoid confusion.

3. Avoid Special Characters

Special characters not only affect the memorability of an online handle, it also impacts the ability to establish an identity. They can also make a username seem downright cheesy. Furthermore, many online casinos don’t allow special characters in usernames.

What to Use Instead: Numbers are always a safe bet when you’re looking to pad out a username or create one that’s unique. However, be sure that the numbers you choose aren’t offensive (see below) as this could affect your user account. Do choose numbers that indicate a personal detail, such as your age. Other players will be more likely to interact with a player with a username they can relate to.

4. Leave Offensive Language Behind

It may seem funny or witty to include curse words or derogatory language in your online handle, but it’s a quick way to get your account deleted. Even if an online casino accepts your deprecating username, offensive language still reflects poorly on your gamer reputation.

What to Use Instead: Opt for wordplay. Clever is always better. For example, “RonBurgundy21” is a playful way to hint at the blackjack term “Anchorman” without including anything tasteless. As a user, it tells other players that you like to play in the third base position in an amusing way that won’t distract from your skills.

Ultimately, you want to choose a username that represents you well. Your gambling handle is like a digital smile or a virtual poker face. How will you show off your skills?

What’s the worst online handle you’ve come across? What’s the cleverest handle you’ve found? Share some of your favorites in the comments below.

Top 5 Cities with the Most Gambling

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Image via Flickr by Doug Kerr

Las Vegas has long been thought of as the gambling mecca of the world but there are so many places out there besides Vegas. If you love the thrill of placing a bet, punching a button, or guessing an outcome, you’re going to adore these cities:

Atlantic City, New Jersey

This nostalgic location marries a family friendly boardwalk and beach to some of the most exciting gambling on the eastern seaboard. Atlantic City has undergone a regentrification project and boasts some really spectacular properties. With dozens of big-name casinos, nightclubs, and eateries you’ll get your fill of excitement in this town.

Chicagoland, Indiana/Illinois

With a rich history of intrigue, it’s not surprising that Chicagoland is one of the highest grossing casino markets in the U.S. There’s something romantic and exciting about the idea of gambling in an area with such a scandalous history. However, Chicago was late to the gambling scene. It wasn’t until the Riverboat Gambling Act legalized riverboat gambling in Illinois in 1990, with a similar law in Indiana in 1993, that legal gambling arrived in the Chicagoland area. Now the Chicago Casino boasts some of the loosest slots around.

Detroit, Michigan

Known historically for Motown and cars, Detroit also has three well-known casinos with plenty of action. From slots to video gaming, to Super Pit table games, Detroit has you covered.
If you want to experience gambling with an international flavor (you need only be 19 in Canada to gamble where alcohol is served), cross the river into Windsor, Canada. Caesar’s Casino offers poker, slots and table games. Just don’t forget your passport.

Uncasville, Connecticut

Once a sleepy Mid-Atlantic state, this area of the country is making a name for itself in the gambling industry. With Foxwood Resorts (Mashantucket, CT), Mohegan Sun (Uncasville, CT) Casinos and others, you’re sure to have an amazing time. They have slots, table games, race books, poker, smoke-free gaming and more.
Should you get tired of gambling, or want to rest on your winnings, both locations bring in big name performers. Mohegan Sun’s Arena was recently named #3 in the world by Venue Today.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Home to the Liberty Bell, Philly has turned into a gambling town. With most of its action, focused on the track, it also offers several stand-alone casinos.

Another popular gambling option in Philadelphia is a Turf Club. These establishments offer off-track wagering and state-of-the-art technology. They present races from around the world, along with major sports action. The exciting events are displayed on video walls, big screens, and personal screens.
Philadelphia is only a short car drive away from Atlantic City and a couple of hours from Connecticut so if you’re looking for some real action, you can sample them all in a very long, fun weekend.
The days of trekking to Vegas for the ultimate gambling experience are long gone. There are many hot spots across the country where you can try your luck without going far. Just make sure you bring a great traveling companion, like Lady Luck.

Feeling Lucky: 5 of the Biggest and Brightest Casinos in Las Vegas

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By Brian Whitmarsh on Flickr

Glitz and glitter galore, Las Vegas does nothing in a small way. Even the smaller casinos in this town are gigantic, If they happened to sit in any other city on earth they would stretch for several city blocks. In a town renown for grandiose facilities, which of the Las Vegas casinos take the prize for size?

1. MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

Home to one of the world’s most famous arenas, where countless boxers have competed for world championships, the MGM Grand is a Hollywood themed hotel and casino. The largest in Las Vegas, the Grand features 56,900 rooms, 2,300 gaming machines, and 178 table games including poker. Standing 30 stories tall, it also offers full service spas, a wedding chapel, and an abundant number of shops and stores. Guests can choose from 20 restaurants offering everything from fast food to fine dining, and 8 night clubs. 5 swimming pools, 3 whirlpools and a lazy river are ideal for unwinding after one of their spectacular on-site shows or touring the lion habitat. They also offer special attractions, such as CSI: The Experiment.

2. Luxor Hotel and Casino

This Egyptian themed hotel is the second largest in Las Vegas, and the eight largest in the world. It features 4,408 hotel rooms and a full service spa. Guests can enjoy one of its four swimming pools or the whirlpool, or one of the many on site entertainment venues. Its eight night clubs allow the venue to feature up to eight live shows at a time. Guests can also shop at Luxor’s 29 different stores.

3. Hotel at Mandalay Bay

This hotel and casino offers 4,341 guest rooms, 20 sit down restaurants, and 4 fast food venues. Mandalay also features 8 bars, 4 stages for special events, 3 swimming pools, a wave pool, and a lazy river sitting atop 2,700 tons of real sand. It also features a full service spa and salon, along with the Shark Reef Aquarium. Mandalay Bay is also a pet friendly facility.

4. The Venetian

For the gamer who values luxury, the Venetian bathes their guests in pampering fit for kings. It has 4,027 hotel rooms, 3 pools, a pool deck, and 23 cabanas. Its 22 restaurants offer one of the widest varieties of foods available at one hotel, including seafood, steaks, Italian food, Asian offerings, and French cuisine. The Venetian also features three night clubs and can provide as many as 9 special events simultaneously.

5. The Bellagio

Named after the famed Italian resort on Lake Como, the Bellagio is another hotel mastering in extreme luxury. With 155,000 square feet of space, entertaining guests with 2,449 gaming machines, 207 table games, and 20 restaurants and bars. With 3,993 rooms and 200,000 square feet of convention facilities, the Bellagio is a popular spots for business seminars and meetings.
Frequent visitors are often offered special packages and discounts on accommodations, food, and other hotel amenities. Packages are also available through travel agencies for avid gamers, couples and families, as well as business travelers. Check ahead to see what discounts and perks you can get on your Vegas travel plans.

5 of the Best Casino Buffets in Las Vegas

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Image via Flickr by K.M. Gong

A cursory look at Vegas casinos lets you know: if things are big in Texas, things are gigantic in Vegas. And this enormity doesn’t stop with the endless mazes of casinos, massive hotels, and plethora of shopping centers. Buffets in Vegas seem to stretch for miles, offering more variety than one kitchen seems capable of. Eating in Vegas is a spectacular treat, so here is your list of the very best.

1. ARIA Resort and Casino City Center

ARIA isn’t one of the best known Las Vegas hotels and casinos, but it regularly receives rave reviews from the local and national media. Situated on Las Vegas Blvd, ARIA lays claim to the only tandoori oven in the city. Serving king crab, prime rib, gelato, Asian dumplings, and a variety of other seafood and cultural cuisine. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, guests can receive unlimited champagne or Bloody Marys from breakfast through lunch. They offer gourmet meals during dinner Friday through Sunday, including Maine lobster. Prices range from weekday breakfast at $19.99 to weekend dinners at $39.99.

2. Bellagio Buffet

Not to be outdone on any front, the Bellagio feeds 4,000 guests per day, offering seafood (including shrimp and smoked salmon), homemade pizza (from their real wood burning oven), and Asian foods. They bake all breads fresh on the premises. Other specialties include beef Wellington and Kobe beef in béarnaise sauce on Fridays and Saturdays. Weekday breakfasts cost $17.99 and prices rise through the weekend dinners for $37.99. It’s the ideal way to relax after an exciting day of gaming.

3. Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace

Bacchanal maintains their food excellence by employing chefs from all over the world, who bring their native techniques and secrets for a wider variety and more authentic cultural tastes. With 9 cooking stations, these chefs crank out over 500 separate dishes each day, including Mexican tortillas, custom sushi cones, and a variety of miniature souffles made to order. They also offer authentic lobster and corn chowder, Chinese roast duck, and Mexican pork carnitas served with homemade salsa. Prices range from $25.99 for a weekday breakfast to $50.99 for weekend dinner.

4. Wynn Las Vegas Buffet

The Wynn features a variety of offerings from light and delicious to rich and hearty. Begin with one of their fruit and cheese creations, and progress into meaty meals of Thai beef, Korean kimchi beef, beef brisket, crab legs, crepes, and an astounding assortment of desserts and confections. The Wynn is one of the best places in Vegas for vegan eaters, offering as delectable selections sans meat as those featuring exotic beef. Ranging in price from $19.99 for weekday breakfast to $39.99 for weekend dinners, the ambiance is another excellent reason to dine at the Wynn.

5. Wicked Spoon Buffet at the Cosmopolitan

One of the hippest buffets on the Strip, the Wicked Spoon serves their foods in unusual containers, including mini stove pots, ramekins, and Chinese takeout boxes. Offerings include andouille, Culotte steak, Korean squid salad, prime rib, crab legs, truffled scallop potatoes, and a variety of cult wines. Prices begin at $24 for weekday breakfasts and top out at $41 for weekend dinners.

Some of these buffets do attract long lines. It’s a good idea to head toward your selected spot an hour or so before you plan to eat so you’re not overly hungry when you get your food. Most of these restaurants received excellent marks by reviewers for their service, in addition to the delicious cuisine.