Spectacular scenery, stunning beaches and colorful cultures are just some of the attractions that draw millions of people to South America each year. With so much diversity, it’s hard to know which country to choose – but if you like to combine the joys of travel with the pleasures of gambling in a casino online or offline, then Argentina is your best bet. Maybe the name, which means “land of silver”, is a hint. In any case, Argentina has a very successful gambling industry with no fewer than 79 casinos, thanks to a combination of a high population and user-friendly gambling laws. This makes for a gambling culture where the focus is on relaxation and pleasure – and a possible entertaining gambling experience can be found in “the Paris of South America”, Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires.
Mega-casino, floating casino
The docklands area of Puerto Madero used to be the dirty, hard-working heart of Buenos Aires. Now, like many refurbished docklands the world over, it’s a high-rent precinct famous for its upmarket restaurants, hotels and bars. It’s also home to Casino Buenos Aires, a huge entertainment complex built in 1999 – 40 000 square metres of casino floor space offering slot machines, poker halls, blackjack tables and everything else you’d expect from a world-class gambling facility. For a more unusual experience, you can go right down to the docks and step into the Buenos Aires Boat Casino. Take your pick of 150 gaming tables and 700 slot machines in a unique atmosphere. Entrance to this Mississippi riverboat replica is free 24-hours a day, every day. Complete the experience by visiting Puerto Madero’s two nautical museums as well as El Zanjón, a ruinous but atmospheric mansion built on the site of the first settlement in the Buenos Aires area from 1536.
Casino games at the races
Palermo is the largest barrio (neighborhood) in Buenos Aires. A haven for anyone who loves food, art, shopping or partying, Palermo is a cultural hotspot popular with tourists and locals alike. Shop for artisanal wares at the markets at Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia, or pick up cutting-edge couture at the boutiques along Gurruchaga, Honduras and Malabia streets. Feast on art at The MALBA (Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires), with its impressive collection of 20th-century Latin American art, or the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo, an incredible mansion with Louis XV décor, classical paintings by El Greco, Fragonard and Manet, ancient Roman sculptures, ancient Chinese vases, and much more. Then, to anchor yourself in the scene, take in the Hipódromo de Palermo casino near the racetrack. Here you will not see many tourists, but you will rub shoulders with local punters, making for an authentic experience. Entrance to the race-track on racing days is free, so you could have a flutter on the gee-gees while you’re at it.
About 30km from the city centre – just an hour on the train from Retiro Station, at the point of entry to the islands and canals of the Paraná delta – is the popular riverside town of Tigre, where many houses are built on stilts. Here you can hunt for unique gifts at the Puerto de Frutos open-air market, explore the islands and canals by rowboat or kayak, admire the elegant mansions along the Paseo Victorica riverside promenade, or take a ferry bus into Paraná Delta – the world’s fifth-largest river delta in the world, unique because it flows into fresh water instead of the sea. Then you can entertain yourself at the Trilenium Casino, the biggest casino in South America, with three floors of slots and table games, including European and American roulette, Texas Hold ‘Em poker, blackjack and even baccarat (known locally as Punto Banco). Add tango dancing, fine dining, and the Trilenium is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of Argentina while trying your luck – and improving your Spanish.