Caribbean Cards

Visitors to the Caribbean can find all sorts of activities to suit any interest, and for those who have dreams of the glitz, glamor, and neon of Las Vegas--as well as the beautiful islands of the tropics--Caribbean casinos can offer the best of both worlds. Gambling in these casinos can add a little spice to any vacation, even for the casual visitor. Keep in mind that each island's gambling laws will be distinctly their own.

Casino games most often include slot machines, video poker, blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, craps, and roulette. Some casinos include multiple restaurants or clubs, often featuring merengue music. Many casinos are flashy and look like they came right out of Vegas, but others are in an old French-style. Beware that in some casinos, especially those in Puerto Rico, you may be expected to dress formally since many of the islanders like to make a night out a night to remember. Some may even keep their doors open 24 hours a day.

Popular in many Caribbean casinos, Caribbean Stud Poker is played by many of the same rules as regular poker, but has one big difference. The players, instead of playing against each other, play against the dealer only. Another small difference is that all of the players can see one of the dealer's cards, which he deals face up. With this information, players are free to make bets. This type of poker is extremely popular both in the Caribbean and on cruise ships, which makes sense because the game comes from Aruba.

Many of the islands have gaming zones where casinos are allowed to be built, or certain laws regarding the locations of the casinos. On some islands, there may be only one city that is home to casinos, while on others they are scattered throughout. Some Caribbean islands may have very few casinos, or no gambling at all--St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands is home to the Virgin Islands only casino--while on others, such as Puerto Rico, there may be more than 15.

However, don't make plans for a casino stay without first picking the right island. Many of the Caribbean islands do not offer gambling, and those that do may have very different styles of casinos. Consider the following islands before making any casino choices: Antigua, Aruba, The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While these are not the only islands to offer gambling to their visitors, they are some of the most popular.

  • Antigua has three popular casinos, including the notable French-style St. James Club.

  • Aruba was the birthplace of Caribbean Stud Poker in 1988 and is home to 11 casinos, which are usually open from midday to nearly dawn.

  • The Bahamas are home to many casinos including one of the largest gaming facilities in the world, the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, which is open 24 hours a day.

  • The Dominican Republic makes up only two thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti, but has the highest concentration of casinos in the Caribbean.

  • Puerto Rico is home to many very unique casinos. However, keep in mind that as island laws state, you probably will not be able to drink alcoholic beverages while you're playing here.

  • St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands is home to the Virgin Islands only casino, the Torarica Hotel & Casino.

When you plan your trip you may want to remember a little extra spending money if you are visiting any of the many islands with legalized casinos. Whether just for an afternoon activity or a night out on the town, casinos in the Caribbean are certainly something special.