Western Europe is home to the majority of casinos in Europe, most of which are to be found in the larger countries, Britain, France, and Germany foremost among them. But significant numbers of West Europe casinos are also located in Switzerland, Austria, Holland, and Spain, and most other countries in the region have casino facilities of one kind or another. In some countries, these casinos are mostly in the hands of state-owned companies, but in some there is a significant degree of private sector involvement. This trend is expected to continue over the next few years.
The center of the West Europe casino scene is undoubtedly France, where many of the games played in casinos originated, and where the rules and etiquette of gambling developed. There are major casinos in Paris, but it is perhaps along the French Riviera that the most famous casinos are located. The south coast is also home to the jewel in the crown of West Europe casinos, Monte Carlo; no visit to Monaco would be complete without a spin of the roulette wheel at one of its glamorous and exclusive gaming tables. A visit to the Monte Carlo Casino is one of the most unforgettable experiences that Europe has to offer.
The United Kingdom has nearly 70 casinos spread around the country, of which 22 are in London. The British government has been deregulating the market in order to open the British casino business up to foreign investment, with a "supercasino" planned for one British city - the current frontrunners being London, Blackpool, and Glasgow. It is estimated that there are some 11 million visits to UK casinos every year, and this number is fast increasing.
Germany has over 50 casinos, many located in historic spa towns and under municipal control. Austria and Switzerland also have a long tradition of gaming, the latter in particular moving ahead with several big developments in resorts like Davos, which prove very popular with both tourists during the winter skiing season, and business travelers, as well.
Most other countries in Western Europe have a small but thriving casino trade, with venues normally being restricted to one per city or resort. This is the case in Spain, Portugal (which has a famous casino at Estoril near Lisbon), Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Sweden. Unlike some of their larger neighbors, these countries' casinos are not tourist attractions in their own right, but they are nonetheless very popular, and are as vibrant and dynamic as West Europe casinos anywhere else.
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