So you have booked your vacation and are ready to head off to the Dominican Republic’s beautiful beaches and amazing weather. As you are packing you start to ponder the various things you can do in the evening once the sun has gone down. Some people like discos, while others like the shows the various resorts have for their guests each evening. Many hotels do have wireless so these are options that are available in the Dominican Republic just like at home.

I am not a big gambler but have noticed the many Casinos in the Dominican Republic. They are much smaller than most Casinos one would see in Las Vegas, but they are Casinos nonetheless and for Casino lovers they will fit well in your plans. When you enter there are the familiar flashing lights from the slot machines and table games. The Casinos also provide drinks and of course there is always music, just like everywhere else on the island.

There are Casinos in all locations with major numbers of tourists—Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerta Plata, and Punta Cana. Most Casinos cater to foreigners so you have the ability to find people who speak English. Just remember that Spanish is by far the most spoken language so the person you are speaking with will need you to take it easy if you speak English.

If you decide to go to the Casino while you are on vacation keep in mind some extra precautions. Casinos in the Dominican Republic offer the same odds as casinos in Las Vegas, so you are just as likely to lose money in the DR as you are in Vegas. These odds are generally considered fair, but there is no Gambling Board or other government body who monitors the Casinos, so be even more aware than you would be at your favorite casino. If you play games that include strategy you have better odds—depending on how good you are with the strategy part. If you play slots your odds are not nearly as good. You will find the same games in the Dominican Republic you would find back home.

Reading comments online shows a lot of people recommend steering clear from Keno, since the game in the Dominican Republic is not the same game as Las Vegas. Another game visitors complain about often is the local Roulette. Players are encouraged to keep increasing their bets until they simply cant keep going. Keep in mind that Casinos and some of the individual games are not operated by the Casino (or hotel where the Casino is located) but by an independent contractor, so any complaints to the property owner fall on deaf ears.

As with most tourist areas, you can use dollars or pesos, but if you want to keep your bets low use pesos, as the denomination is larger. Casinos will accept credit cards and cash travelers checks, but it is most recommended to withdraw cash from an ATM (from a major local bank) and buy chips with cash. There are lots of horror stories in Dominican Casinos about credit card numbers being stolen and charged with excessive fraudulent charges.

If you want to get a little gambling in but don’t want to head to the casino try entering into a Dominos game or local card game. They are fun to play with the locals, who usually sit on their porch or at the local colmado and play in the afternoons and evenings. These local games are not usually high value games, but really fun to pass the time.

More importantly than trying to make money while you are on vacation, try to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. You will remember your trip much more if you spend some time playing cards or Dominos with the locals than you will if you go home with a few extra bucks.

Enjoy your vacation in the Dominican Republic!