Rolling the Dice: A Tour of the World’s Largest Casinos

From the Venetian backstreets of the seventeenth century to today’s staggeringly opulent empires, the world’s largest casinos have redefined the scale of entertainment and luxury. They’re a testament to the pursuit of pleasure on an astonishing scale, but where is the largest casino in the world?

Building Big Engineering
19 January 2024

In the dazzling world of high stakes and luxurious indulgence, the world’s biggest casinos stand as monuments to the thrill of chance and the allure of untold riches. From the lavish luxury of Las Vegas to the mesmerising magic of Macau, these colossal casinos are not merely houses of gambling but are vast empires encompassing huge hotels, gourmet restaurants, sprawling shopping complexes, and state-of-the-art entertainment.

The origin of the casino as we know it today can be traced back to seventeenth century Venice, from where they evolved over centuries from exclusive gambling houses for the rich and privileged to giant entertainment destinations welcome to all.

The biggest casino ever built and the pretenders to its throne offer a diverse range of activities that extend far beyond traditional gambling. Modern casinos are often part of larger resort complexes, boasting amenities like world-class spas, championship golf courses, dozens of restaurants catering for all tastes and budgets, and mind-blowing live shows from the planet’s biggest stars.

Beyond their scale and entertainment value, the world’s largest casinos are also significant economic contributors and employment generators. They’ve become pivotal to the tourism industries of their respective regions, attracting millions of visitors annually. The runners and riders for the title of biggest casino in the world also lead the way in technological innovation, utilising cutting-edge technology to enhance the gambling experience and, of course, to maintain security.

So which is the biggest casino ever built? Let’s find out.

A Very Short History of the Casino

Close up of gambling chips on gaming table. (Credit: Simon Webb and Duncan Nicholls via Getty Images)

Games of chance have been prevalent in almost every civilisation throughout history, but it’s believed that the first gambling house that we’d recognise today as a casino opened in Venice in 1638.

Called Il Ridotto, or ‘the private room’, it was opened by the Great Council of Venice to offer a type of state-sanctioned gambling to dissuade the public from games of chance that were happening on street corners. Although Il Ridotto itself closed in 1774, by the start of the nineteenth century, casinos were popping up all over Europe.

Games like roulette and twenty-one arrived in America with French settlers, and by the middle of the nineteenth century, gambling dens were rife throughout Europe and the US. But it wasn’t until after World War II that the modern-day casino – and Las Vegas – was created, setting the scene for today’s betting behemoths.

A list of the world’s largest casinos can be measured in a number of ways – by revenue, number of slot machines, or gaming tables. For the purposes of this countdown, it will be measured by the amount of space allocated to gaming.

MGM Grand

The casino floor at the MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada (Credit: Robert Mora via Getty Images)

Location: Las Vegas, USA | Gaming Space: Approx. 171,000 ft2 / 15,900 m2

With almost 7,000 rooms, the MGM Grand, the largest hotel in the world and reported to be the biggest casino ever built when it opened in 1993, is one of the world’s most famous resorts and holds the much-coveted title of the largest casino in Las Vegas.

The casino floor is home to over 2,000 slot machines ranging from 1c to $1,000 and dozens of gaming tables. The gaming floor includes the Emerald City Casino and the Monte Carlo Casino for high rollers. At the front of the hotel is a bronze statue of the famous MGM lion weighing 45 tonnes and standing fourteen metres tall.

Rio Casino Resort

Rio Hotel, Las Vegas, the same group as the Rio Casino in South Africa (Credit: Ethan Miller / Staff via Getty Images)

Location: Klerksdorp, South Africa | Gaming Space: Approx. 266,300 ft2 / 24,700 m2

Believed to be the largest casino on the African continent and one of the world’s biggest casinos, the Rio Casino Resort, formerly known as Tusk Rio, is a 24/7 casino that opened in 2002.

Located around 190 kilometres west of Johannesburg, there are around 400 slot machines and dozens of gaming tables including casino classics Blackjack, Roulette and Poker, and the casino, alongside the adjoining 70-room hotel, is themed around Rio de Janeiro’s colourful carnival.

Foxwoods Resort Casino

The Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut (Credit: Bloomberg / Contributor via Getty Images)

Location: Connecticut, USA | Gaming Space: Approx. 344,000 ft2 / 31,200 m2

Foxwoods is another contender for the title of biggest casino in the world. The casino was opened in 1992 – the 2,228-room hotel followed five years later – and is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Ledyard, Connecticut.

The casino is home to over 3,500 slot machines from James Bond to Jurassic Park, as well as more than 250 gaming tables. Poker, keno and bingo are also available, and entertainment includes go-karting, one of America’s longest and highest zip wires, and a room full of classic arcade games.

City of Dreams

City of Dreams in Cotai, Macau, China (Credit: Victor Fraile / Stringer via Getty Images)

Location: Macau | Gaming Space: Approx. 420,000 ft2 / 39,000 m2

Spread over five towers, four hotels, and three separate casinos, the City of Dreams on the Cotai Strip has been described as a ‘mego casino’. There are around 1,500 slots and over 500 gaming tables in total, as well as 2,270 hotel rooms, 16,300 m2 of retail space and the three Michelin-star Jade Dragon restaurant.

The vast hotel and casino complex – one of the world’s largest casinos – took six years to build and cost a reported $2.4 billion.

The Venetian Macao

Venetian Casino's Great Hall, Macau (Credit: Chris McGrath / Staff via Getty Images)

Location: Macau | Gaming Space: Approx. 546,000 ft2 / 50,725 m2

Sitting on the Cotai Strip, the 39-storey, 3,000-room hotel is home to the second largest casino in the world. The 3,400 slot machines and over 800 gambling tables are divided into four themed areas – Golden Fish, Imperial House, Red Dragon, and Phoenix – and there’s also a private area for high rollers called the Paiza Club.

The hotel is modelled on its sister hotel, the Venetian in Las Vegas, and includes a 15,000 seat arena, 300 retail stores, Michelin-starred restaurants and a Venetian-style canal complete with singing gondoliers.

WinStar World Casino

A blackjack table at a casino. (Credit: Alina555 via Getty Images)

Location: Oklahoma, USA | Gaming Space: Approx. 600,000 ft2 / 55,750 m2

Opened in 2003, the biggest casino in the world by gaming space is also one of the biggest in the world by number of gaming tables. It’s owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, and sits in Love County, five miles from the Texas state line.

The casino incorporates nine themed gaming plazas – Beijing, Cairo, London, Madrid, Paris, New York, Rio, Vienna and Rome – home to 10,000 electronic games, over 100 table games and a fifty-five-table poker room. The hotel has almost 1,500 rooms as well as two championship golf courses and an event centre that has played host to the likes of ZZ Top, Maroon 5, Dolly Parton, and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

Big Deal: The World’s Largest Casinos

Croupier holding card at Blackjack table. (Credit: John Howard via Getty Images)

The largest casino in the world, along with the planet’s other great colossal casino complexes, has grown into an enormous entertainment and lifestyle destination, symbolising luxury, innovation, and the pursuit of pleasure.

These huge venues blend gaming with a myriad of experiences, from gastronomic delights and high-end shopping to top-tier entertainment and sumptuous accommodations.

These casinos have not only reshaped the gaming industry but have also become significant economic drivers and iconic cultural landmarks, each telling a unique story of glamour, ambition, and the universal appeal of chance and fortune.


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