Greece is one of Europe's top tourist destinations; most foreign visitors come for the sunshine and beaches, as well as the heritage and history of Athens, Delphi, and Mycenae. There is, however, much more to the country than simply the Greek islands and classical ruins. Greece is developing a reputation as one of Europe's most attractive destinations for travelers seeking vibrant nightlife and entertainment, and Greece casinos are an important part of this appeal. Like many other European countries, Greece has a mixture of long-established casinos and newer ventures, which together offer a healthy choice of options to visitors and native Greeks alike.
Up until the mid 1990's, Greece casinos were all state-owned businesses, but this has changed in recent years, and several private companies now operate casinos in the country. Unlike some other countries, Greece casinos are not centered in the capital; on the contrary, most of the casinos in Greece are spread throughout the rest of the country, as well as on the larger islands. There is a lower age limit of 23 on visitors to Greek casinos, and an entry fee is normally charged at the door.
The largest Greece casino is situated in the Hyatt Regency in Thessaloniki, which is Greece's second city, in the north of the country. This casino has some 77 tables and nearly a thousand slot machines on the floor, making it one of the biggest casinos in Europe. There are also casinos in Xanthi and the popular resort of Porto Carras, although these are not on the same scale as the Hyatt Regency Casino. In addition, there is a very large casino in Loutraki, a spa town in southern Greece. Loutraki is very popular with the Greeks, especially the Athenians seeking to escape the city during the hot summer months, and particularly in August, when many residents flee the city in search of tranquility. This casino, the Club Hotel Loutraki, is on a similar scale to the Hyatt in Thessaloniki, and both are extremely busy and popular venues.
There are also casinos on some of the larger islands, Corfu in the north, Rhodes in the east, and Syros, which is nearer Athens. These casinos are extremely popular with foreign tourists, for obvious reasons. Of all the Greece casinos, the closest to Athens is the Mont Parnes casino, which has a spectacular setting on a mountain north of the city, offering panoramic views over the entire Athens area. For this alone, the Mont Parnes casino is a must-see addition to any trip to the Greek capital.
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