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Casino-hopping in Cancun

About 75 years ago, gaming was banned in Mexico. Nowadays, the legal aspects surrounding gaming remain obscure and fluctuating. This doesn’t prevent tourists from being able to enjoy a night at the slots, or from playing bingo and online bingo, both of which are very popular in Cancun.

Bingo, also known for its slang word –yak, is a very popular game in the country. Most bingo halls include slot machines in the form of electronic bingo terminals, and are typically part of larger gaming centers. There are also various small operators that own and run bingo halls. Today, about 50 applications for bingo halls are made and are waiting for the government’s approval.

(Image credit: jeff91764 via Flickr)

Online bingo is another way for Mexicans to enjoy the game. Despite the absence of local bingo websites in the country, Mexicans can still access foreign bingo sites. Although internet access in many rural areas at first restricted the growth of online bingo, the arrival of affordable smart phone technology provides Mexican citizens with an affordable way to access the internet.

The rise of mobile internet is one of the most powerful trends in the gaming industry. About 50 percent account for smart phone gaming app usage; and half of Facebook users go to the site specifically to play games. Gaming Realms, new operator of online bingo game Iceland Bingo, is growing its business by offering its products through a unified technology platform which deploys the latest customer acquisition, retention design and monetization techniques.

Although online gaming is big on locals, the country is ranked number four on the list of favorite destination for gaming for international customers. In the information released by the Mexico Tourism Board on the Journey Mexico website, from January through July 2011 year on year, 11,440,000 international tourists traveled to Mexico, a 3.3 percent increase year on year. Of all the cities in Mexico, Cancun was ranked the number one international destination on the travel website Orbitz Insider Index Summer Travel report. Aside from being a major world-renowned tourist attraction, Cancun is also known for its top three casinos.

Casino Palace

Located on Tulum Avenue downtown, the Casino Palace was the first proper casino to open in Cancun. The facility consists of two floors, with slots and televised sporting events on the lower floor while upstairs is a lot more sophisticated with Blackjack, Poker and Roulette.

Dubai Palace Casino

The Dubai Palace Casino was the next Cancun casino to open in June 2010. Spanning at 100,000 square feet, it is hailed as the largest casino in Cancun. It boasts of 450 slot machines and a VIP room with various games such as Roulette, Texas Hold’em and Blackjack.

Playboy Cancun

Opened in December 2010, Playboy Club is upscale, modern and attracts the well to do locals of Cancun in addition to tourists. One disappointing aspect of this casino though is the membership fee and at 200 pesos which is quite costly for a casual visitor but not for a regular patron.