MIAMI – Most people associate gambling with opulent casino floors, high-street bookmaking shops, bingo halls, or racetracks. Despite popular belief, gambling is not restricted to these locations only. In some countries, thrill-seekers can punt while having a drink at their local pub or even while waiting for their flight at an airport.
Some of the world’s busiest airports indeed offer special gambling areas or entire casinos in some cases. An overcrowded, noisy airport may not fit your description of a luxurious gambling venue, but playing there is not without its advantages.
One of the biggest benefits of gambling at an airport is that you get to keep all your winnings. Airport gambling zones impose no taxes on gambling profits since all games (like all other products for this matter) are normally duty-free.
Perhaps the biggest advantage is that you can kill some time while waiting for your flight and possibly win some money in the process. So if you plan a trip soon, have a look at this list of the world’s best airport gambling areas.
McCarran Airport in Las Vegas
You know you have arrived in Sin City as soon as you step off your plane at McCarran International Airport. This is probably because the first thing that greets you are the bells and whistles of flashing slot machines. All this hullabaloo would suffice to immediately put you in the mood for a gamble.
Visitors can find one-arm bandits strewn all over the airport. Everyone can have a spin as long as they are over 21 years old. Passengers can conveniently kill some time while waiting to catch a flight, having a choice from more than 1,300 buzzing and glaring slot machines.
The McCarran Airport welcomes millions of Sin City visitors each year. It only makes sense the local gambling regulator, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, opted to make slot machines conveniently available to them straight from the airport’s entrance.
If you are down on your luck, McCarran offers plenty of other attractions to keep you busy, including shopping centers, a smoking area, and dining options. You can even drop by the Aviation Museum, where you can see the 1958 Cessna 172 aircraft, a world record-holder for the longest endurance flight (nearly 65 days!).
London Heathrow Airport
On the other side of the ocean lies Heathrow, the largest airport in the British capital London. Heathrow originated in the late 1920s when it started as a plain airfield. Renamed in 1966 as London Heathrow, it went on to become one of the world’s busiest international airports in terms of passenger traffic. The airport lacks a designated casino area but this does not mean there are no gaming options.
Travelers will find different slot cabinets scattered around London Heathrow. Any passenger of legal gambling age (18 years old in Britain) can enjoy a few spins while waiting for their flight. On top of that, London Heathrow offers top-notch restaurants, shops, lounges, spas, and hotels.
If you are not a fan of airport casinos, you can always visit the traditional ones. ClermontClub is definitely one of the best place for this purpose. From Slots and Blackjack through to Punto Banco and Roulette, there you can enjoy them in the most prestigious surroundings.
You can check out this guide to UK casinos where you will find a variety of excellent options.
Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada
Reno-Tahoe International Airport is among the few US airports where travelers can entertain themselves with slot machines to pass the time between flights. The gaming area sits on 4,100 square feet of space and operates each day from 5 am to 11 pm. Those keen on a gamble face a choice from dozens of slot machines, most of which are manufactured by no other than IGT.
Visitors will find some of the most iconic IGT machines like Megabucks, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Party Time, and Elvis. Coin denominations are diverse to ensure all travelers can give the reels a spin. Reno-Tahoe International Airport is home to multi-denomination, nickel, penny, dollar, and quarter slots. If the buzz of the spinning reels tires you out, you can always restore your strength in one of the numerous bars and restaurants at the airport.
Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam
Schiphol is one of the largest international airports in the Netherlands, welcoming tens of thousands of travelers each day. The busy Dutch airport sits approximately nine kilometers away from the country’s capital Amsterdam. While waiting to catch their next flight, travelers can pamper themselves in the airport’s spa and meditation centers or have a look at the technology exhibitions at the NEMO Science Museum.
If your time in between flights is too short to visit the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, you can always explore the airport’s exhibition of famed 19th-century Dutch painters. Travelers keen on gambling should drop by Casino Holland located in proximity to the Schiphol Airport. According to reviews on TripAdvisor, the range of games is a bit limited, but visitors still have a choice from various slots and table games like roulette and blackjack.
Featured image: London Heathrow Airport. Photo: Ferrovial Airports