White sandy beaches and clear blue waters are what attract many to visit the numerous islands of the Caribbean.
What the majority may not be aware of is that the Caribbean is also rife with gambling opportunities.
According to the World Casino Directory, there are 158 different casinos throughout the Caribbean, featuring the best part of 22,000 slot machines, 1,300 gaming tables and 28 poker rooms.
But where do you need to schedule in a visit if thinking of embarking on a gaming getaway? Below are some of the countries where you can expect fun at the tables, as well as in the sun:
The casino hotbed in the Caribbean is the Dominican Republic, with over 100 located on the island.
A vast number are positioned in the major resort complexes of Punta Cana, Playa Dorada and La Romana and many allow visitors to gamble in either US dollars or Dominican pesos.
Among them is the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which is the largest thanks to 45,000 square feet of gaming space.
Alongside 400 slot machines, there is a poker room, 40 unique tables and a VIP area offering high-limit baccarat and blackjack.
Meanwhile, for those wanting a more family-friendly establishment, the Amhsa Paradise Beach Club and Casino is an option because of its kids’ club.
The appearance of and devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in the second half of last year is still taking its toll on both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, but the majority of the 18 casinos within the latter are back up and running.
This includes the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf and Beach Resort, following a multi-million-dollar renovation.
Visitors can expect to step into 7,000 square feet of gaming space, offering slots, video poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em and a popular Puerto Rico game called Jackpot del Encanto.
Casino Metro at the Sheraton San Juan Hotel and Casino is another to keep an eye out for as the largest available, thanks to the inclusion of 400 slot machines and 18 table games, including baccarat.
It is worth noting that not all casinos are open 24 hours each day, although many will not close until the early hours. The US dollar is also the currency predominantly accepted.
It may not be common knowledge that Aruba was the location where Caribbean Stud Poker was reportedly invented, or at least being played when patented. This variation allows players to take on the house playing poker, rather than other players.
The place to be is certainly the high-rise resorts along Palm Beach, with the biggest being Stellaris at the Aruba Marriott. This is also the only venue to play Wheel Of Fortune on the island.
Another venue of note is the Hyatt Regency, where players can enhance their experience further through hand-rolled cigars and live music.
Meanwhile, the Seaport casino is in downtown Oranjestad and is classified as the only waterfront casino on the island.
Although some casinos are open 24/7, the table games at most are closed at 1pm and all gambling needs to be done in US dollars.
Geographically, the Bahamas is not in the Caribbean because it is situated in the Atlantic Ocean and not in the Caribbean Sea. However, culturally and politically it is regarded as a Caribbean country.
The Atlantis Casino within the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort has some attractive perks if staying at the same venue.
These include receiving some free slot play if gaining casino points and using your room key as a players card, ensuring that all of your playing sessions are tracked. Free lessons are available too for those that think they need them.
Within the 50,000 square-foot gaming section, visitors have the choice between 725 slot machines and 85 tables, which provide the likes of baccarat, poker and craps.
Whereas the Baha Mar Casino is situated in Paradise Island, close to the capital of Nassau.
The 1,000-acre resort is soon to celebrate its one-year anniversary and features a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, a 30,000 square-foot spa and 100,000 square-foot casino.
Restaurants can be found throughout the casino floor, while there are 126 table games for visitors to take a seat at.
Interestingly, the casinos in the Bahamas are only open to tourists as Bahamians are not allowed to gamble.