Bizarre Betting – A Guide


If Monaco feels passé and Las Vegas lacks the thrills, maybe it’s time to look further afield to find a Blackjack table with a view or a roulette wheel that will make your ears pop.

To be honest, ambition set the stakes a little high in many cases and some of these incredible casinos still remain little more than flights of fancy. Here is our pick of the casino dreams that soared and a few that fell by the wayside.

Roulette by the Reef

In 2005, casino entrepreneurs Ken Ho and Kerry Packer had plans to build the world’s first underwater casino in Macau. The City of Dreams complex was still in the hands of ambitious architects; and elaborate plans for an ear-popping, sub-aquatic, casino with 3,000 slot machines and 250 table games, were making headlines worldwide.

In the end, they completed building the City of Dreams in 2009. It is a remarkable casino, with 420,000 ft of gaming space. Sadly: all above sea level. There was an aquarium, a bubble fountain, and a dancing water theatre; but that is as far as the waterworks went. The underwater casino dream sank.

But… don’t despair. A short plane hop away in Singapore is the Resorts World Sentosa. Although its 15,000 sq m casino is on dry land, you can book an Ocean Suite room, complete with an underwater bedroom. Now it’s the turn of the fish to ogle you!

Come Fly with Me

The airborne casino is another flight of fancy that has remained stuck on the runway. Several years ago, luxury aviation designers Airjet Designers teamed up with French airline interior design firm Designescence to create the Casino Jet Lounge casino concept for the Boeing 777.

Incredible though it was, the real thing never got off the ground. Too expensive, too exclusive, and it was always going to be tricky keeping the roulette wheel level.

Virgin also briefly flirted with the idea of adding casinos to its stand-up bars in first and business class. In 1981, Singapore Airlines installed lightweight slot machines in the aisles of its planes. The experiment lasted only two months.

Swissair installed gambling software on their planes that allowed passengers to gamble up to $350 on a variety of casino games, including Poker, Keno, and Blackjack. Other carriers were interested in the idea, until a plane crash in 1998. The in-flight entertainment was implicated as a reason for the crash and the concept got shelved.

Of course… today, thanks to in-flight Wi-Fi, you can enjoy an online casino game at any time. Just log on to your favourite casino and play. Simple.

Going Underground

Underground casinos come in two flavours: illegal and below street level. Fortunately, better regulation and sensible law is making illegal casinos increasingly redundant. This is why we are looking down – at casinos (literally) under the ground.

One of the best subterranean venues for a game of Blackjack or Video Poker is the Desert Cave Hotel in the South Australian town of Coober Pedy. The former opal mine is now a hotel, complete with underground rooms, an underground bar, and a gaming room with “the only underground poker machines in the world”. For the claustrophobic casino fan, it’s a nightmare; but, for those in search of a bizarre betting experience, the Desert Cave Hotel casino is one to discover.

Two more honourable mentions in the underground category.

First: the Basement Casino, at North Cadbury Court, in Somerset. This Grade 1, 16th century, country house is a popular wedding venue with 25 bedrooms, 1,500 acres, and a secret in its cellar. The underground room has been converted into a small but perfectly formed casino, complete with full-size roulette and blackjack tables, a poker room, and a bar. The venue is also a world heritage site.

Second: if you want to experience a little burlesque with your Blackjack, head to Lola’s Casino, on the lower ground floor at London’s Hippodrome. The venue combines craps, chorus girls, and live dancing all under one roof and under the ground.

High and Not Dry

The relaxation of casino gambling legislation in the United States has meant the loss of one bizarre casino. Rivers Casino, in Illinois, was built in 2011 on a giant, shallow, pool of water. The bizarre set-up allowed the hotel to comply with the state law on casino gaming, by qualifying as a riverboat. In 2019, legislators relaxed the law and granted the casino a permit to trade on dry land.

Finally, the claim for the world’s highest casino comes from Cripple Creek’s Wildwood Casino, in Colorado. At 9,593 feet above sea level, this casino is officially the home of the ‘highest roller’. The only competition comes from someone climbing Everest, playing Blackjack on their mobile.

Our team of talented writers at the Blog have years of experience writing about and working within the online gaming industry. We bring you the latest casino gaming news and the best insights into what’s happening in the world of casinos.

Latest Articles

money management roulette banner

Money Management

When participating in gambling activities of any kind, how you manage your bankroll is essential for long-term success and enjoyment.

Read More
tips to win at roulette

Tips to Win at Roulette

In a separate post on the subject of roulette, I discussed the ins and outs of roulette strategy and the importance of knowing what works

Read More