There is an interesting background to the Cambodia casinos that lie just across the border from neighboring Thailand, where casino gambling is illegal. Eight casinos are situated in a relatively small area in the city of Poipet in Cambodia. This conclave of Cambodia casinos is in a prime location, a three to four drive from Bangkok and Macao, the two biggest gambling centers in Asia. Cambodia casinos do a thriving business with Thai workers and visitors from Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, with only very few Westerners. The phenomenal income gained from the casinos ranges from $7.5 million to over 12.5 million, and there are few restrictions or registration requirements for casino ownership. Ownership is presumed to be largely Thai; however, investment sources are vague. The borders are officially open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and although visas are supposedly required to cross, there are ways around this, as is true of most border crossings.
The first Cambodia casinos opened in Phnom Penh in 1994, but were forced to close in 1998, leaving only one casino in the capital, the Naga Resort. The Naga, a stationary boat casino, features 150 slots and sixty table games. The Naga casino is open 24 hours with 42 tables of mini-baccarat, four tables of blackjack, 10 of roulette, two of Caribbean Stud Poker, and one each of Pai-Gow and Tai-Sai.
The first casino in Poipet, the Holiday Palace, opened in 1999 and the Golden Crown soon followed. There are 150 slots and five table games at the Golden Crown and 104 slots and 68 table games at the Holiday Palace. The newer Holiday Palace Casino and Resort features 300 slots and 70 table games and the Princess Hotel and Casino, also in Poipet, has 166 slots and 96 gaming tables, including 87 baccarat (the most popular game), Fan Tan, and Pai Gow. In addition, there is the Casino Tropicana, with 135 slots and 66 of the familiar table games, as well as one table of Casino Stud Poker. Another one of the eight casinos in Poipet, also situs betgratis in a hotel, is the Princess Casino with 166 slots and 97 games. The Star Vegas Casino is part of an international resort and hotel complex that features a number of amenities in addition to the casino, which has 10,000 square feet of 130 slots and 88 table games.
Across the Cambodian border at Asmech/Surin is one casino, the Casino O Samet, with 100 slots and 50 tables of baccarat. In addition, the Koh Kong Casino, in the province of Trat, is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., with 100 slots and four table games. A smaller casino, Le Macau Casino and Hotel, opened recently at Bavet on the Vietnamese border.
South Korea’s casinos are in something of an odd situation. While there are 14 of them and licences have been issued for three more, only one of them is actually open to South Korean citizens. All the others are restricted to foreign nationals. As South Korea is not, despite certain attractions, known as a great tourist destination, this has meant most of the casinos running at 10% or so of capacity.
Koreans themselves are inveterate gamblers and in recent years there has been an explosion of online casinos in the Korean language, which the Government is busily trying to close down. There is also extensive gambling on horse racing, sometimes even bicycle racing and other sports events, as well. But despite this huge cultural predisposition to gambling, South Korea’s casinos are hampered by the fact that only one of them is allowed to let the local citizens inside.
The state of California, located on the west coast of the United States, is by far the most populous state in the country. There are also a number of California casinos operating within the legal jurisdictions of its Native American owned lands. Because they are located on Native American land, many California casinos are located in out-of-the-way places. When visiting a California casino, it is advisable to call ahead and get specific directions.
Nearly all California casinos are open 24 hours a day. California casinos are allowed to offer electronic gaming machines, blackjack, and other card games. Unfortunately, the games of craps and roulette are not permitted, but some California casinos offer modified forms of these games that are played with cards rather than dice or roulette wheels. Slots, video poker and video keno are the most popular electronic gaming machines you’ll find in California casinos. Some of the card games frequently played in California casinos include blackjack, baccarat, poker (including pai gow, Caribbean stud and three-card poker), Spanish 21, and Let it Ride. Many California casinos also feature bingo, casino war and OTB (off track betting) options for gamblers and casual players.
In addition to traditional gambling games, many California casinos offer some exciting and unusual amenities. For example, the Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino in Lakeside has a full 18-hole golf course and a wedding chapel. Visitors to the Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina, also in Lakeside, can take in a marina with 80 ships. The Win-River Casino in Redding features a comedy club and an entertainment center. Relax at the Cache Creek Indian Bingo & Casino in Brooks with a full-service spa. California casinos are as varied and colorful as the residents of California themselves, and many of them are full of surprises!
Several California casinos allow overnight RV parking for the traveling gambler, so if you’re planning a California casino trip you can make quite a few stops and stay a while. Age restrictions at California casinos are 18 and up except where liquor is served, in which case it’s 21 and up. Other California casinos include the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, the Mono Wind Casino in Auberry, the River Rock Casino in Geyserville, the Palace Indian Gaming Center in Lemoore, the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, the Black Bart Casino in Willits, the Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River, and many more!