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Have you noticed those adorable cat figurines waving at you in your local Asian restaurant or supermarket? Did you know the cat has a name and a long, interesting history? In Japanese, these cats are called Maneki-Neko, or "beckoning cat." They're often associated with hospitality and fortune, but there's more to the story than that. Would you like to learn more about this Japanese lucky cat and how it can improve your luck? Read on! The Story of Maneki-Neko The history of Maneki-Neko dates back to the 18th- and 19th-century Edo period in Japan. Legend has it that a wealthy lord named Ii Naotaka got caught in a violent thunderstorm. He saw a cat beckoning to him from a nearby temple and quickly moved into the temple from beneath a tree. Seconds later, a bolt of lightning hit the tree he'd been standing under! Moved with gratitude, the Lord Ii befriended the cat and the temple priests, sharing his fortune and prosperity. Other versions of the story feature an old shopkeeper or a Samurai warrior, but the moral of the story is always the same—a cat that brings good luck. Maneki-Neko Today The legend of Maneki-Neko spread and became popular in China, Thailand, and other Asian countries. It's also known by names like Lucky Cat, Welcoming Cat, and Waving Cat. Today the cat is a common sight in restaurants, hotels, markets, and private homes. If you're a Pokemon fan, you'll also be interested to learn that the Meowth character is based on Maneki-Neko. Variations of the Japanese Lucky Cat Traditionally, Maneki-Neko is a calico cat waving its left paw, but there are many cultural variations. 1. Paws A waving left paw is a sign of welcome for visitors and customers. A waving right paw is thought to invite money and luck into the home or business. If you see a Maneki-Neko with two raised paws, it's both very welcoming and very lucky! 2. Colors A white cat symbolizes happiness and good things to come, while black cats ward off evil spirits. A gold cat (not surprisingly) is connected to wealth and prosperity. There's also a green cat for good health and a red cat for success in romantic relationships. 3. Lucky Items You might occasionally see a lucky cat holding: a coin a fish a mallet (small hammer) a marble a gem a radish or gourd In Asian cultures, each of these items is associated with fortune and good luck. Do you see the common theme here? Japan's Neko Cat: Will It Help Your Luck? We may not know the exact story behind Maneki-Neko's origins, but we do know that the cat has a deep connection with luck. From saving ancient Japanese lords to greeting you at your favorite Chinese restaurant, Maneki-Neko has a rich and fascinating history. So the next time you see one waving at you, now you'll know why! How has your luck been at the casino lately? Could a Neko cat of your own help to turn your luck around? Invest in your own Maneki-Neko and then play of Maneki-Neko slots games, we covered all the best video slots themed with this lucky cat.
When you think about large casinos, your attention may immediately focus on some of the more popular casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. While these cities are known for their gaming action, the reality is that most of their gaming resorts pale in comparison to the size and grandeur of the top venues around the world. Whether you are new to gambling or you are a high roller, these are the largest and most magnificent venues in the world, and they deserve your attention for your next big trip. Casino Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal (Image credit: casino-lisboa.pt) 1. Casino Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal If you are looking for serious gaming action in Europe, Casino Lisboa is the place to go. The gaming space in this enormous resort covers 165,000 square feet across two floors. It includes 26 table games and 1,000 slot machines. When you need a break from gaming, you can take advantage of the many other amenities and attractions on-site. For example, you can catch a live performance in a large auditorium that boasts a triple-ring rotating stage. This venue also has three impressive restaurants and a contemporary art gallery. MGM Grand, Las Vegas (Image credit: mgmresorts.com) 2. MGM Grand in Las Vegas MGM Grand is the largest gaming resort in Las Vegas and the only one that is large enough to make this list. If you visit MGM Grand to enjoy its gaming action, you will have more than 170,000 square feet of space to explore. This area boasts 200 table games, 3,000 slot machines and a dedicated poker room for non-smokers. As a travel destination in its own right, it is also home to two theaters that host elite performers regularly, three hotels along with elite villas, a nightclub, a spa, a huge pool, a sports arena, 15 restaurants and more than two dozen boutiques and shops. The Sands, Macao (Image credit: sandscasino.com) 3. The Sands in Macau The Sands is only one of five huge gaming venues in this city. Its gaming space covers 229,000 square feet, and it holds more than 1,000 slot machines and 200 gaming tables. It is notably known for its towering ceilings, which create a grand ambiance. Adding to the fun, this venue also is home to a theater, a health spa and nine restaurants. Rio Casino Resort, South Africa (Image credit: riocasino.co.za) 4. Rio Casino Resort in Klerksdrop, South Africa At the Rio Casino Resort, you can appreciate a jovial, carnival-inspired ambiance as you explore more its 266,330 square feet of games. It hosts poker tournaments regularly, and it gives you 24-hour access to its 274 slot machines and 12 table games. This venue offers something for all of its guests to enjoy with amenities like a bar, two unique restaurants, an arcade for the kids, a luxurious hotel and a private salon dedicated exclusively to high rollers. Ponte 16, Macau (Image credit: ponte16.com.mo) 5. Ponte 16 This is the second Macanese venue to make the list, and its gaming space covers 270,000 square feet. It boasts a waterfront location in the Inner Harbor, two VIP rooms, 307 slot machines and 109 tables. Its many games include fan tan, face-up blackjack, 3-card Baccarat and American roulette. During your stay, you can feel pampered at a French-themed luxury hotel. You can also enjoy a fitness center, a spa, a pool area, a gallery featuring live performances, a foot massage station, a children’s play area and numerous bars and restaurants. Wynn Macau (Image credit: wynnmacau.com) 6. Wynn Macau This Wynn-brand casino is located relatively close to Ponte 15, and it is slightly larger. Across its 273,000 square feet, you will find slots, table games and other gambling hot spots. In addition, the Wynn is home to a pool, an art gallery, a spa, more than two dozen shops, four elite restaurants and stunning visual arts shows that combine music, fire and other elements. Foxwoods, Connecticut (Image credit: foxwoods.com) 7. Foxwoods in Ledyard, Connecticut This is the second of three venues in the United States to make the list, and it is owned and managed by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The venue is broken into six unique casinos, and they collectively cover more than 340,000 square feet. The gaming centers have 3,400 slot machines and more than 250 tables for a wide range of games across the six venues. In addition, you can take advantage of 55 restaurants and bars, a spa, a shopping center, zip-lining, bowling and more. City of Dreams, China (Image credit: cityofdreamsmacau.com) 8. City of Dreams in China The next venue on the list is considerably larger than Foxwoods. City of Dreams sits in Macau, and its gaming space encompasses 420,000 square feet. Its spacey, futuristic vibe is only one of its many qualities that set it apart from others. It is home to several VIP lounges with unique themes, more than 1,500 slot machines, 450 gaming tables and 30 bars and restaurants. It also has more than 175,000 square feet of boutiques and shops, four hotels, a nightclub, four spas, a water theater, an art exhibition space and more. Venetian, China (Image credit: venetianmacao.com) 9. Venetian in China The Venetian is the largest gambling venue in China and throughout Asia. Out of more than 10 million square feet of total space, approximately 530,000 square feet is dedicated to gaming activities. There are four game spaces with exciting, individualized themes, and these collectively hold 800 gaming tables and more than 6,000 slot machines. The venue also includes a 39-story hotel, numerous retail and dining areas, a huge special events center and a beautiful Venice-inspired decorative scheme. WinStar World Casino, Oklahoma (Image credit: winstar.com) 10. WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma Across Europe, Asia and beyond, all casino venues pale in comparison to the WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma. It is owned by the Chicksaw Nation. This venue’s gaming space covers 600,000 square feet, and it boasts an additional 600,000 square feet that has a wide range of additional amenities and attractions for every high roller to enjoy. At the WinStar World Casino, you will find an 800-seat bingo hall, 100 table games, more than 7,000 slots and a poker room dedicated to non-smokers. Additional hot spots at this venue include two event centers that offer more than 11,000 seats collectively, a golf course, a spa, a pool with a poolside bar, a sports lounge, a nightclub and 17 restaurants.