Betting in Berlin

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Throughout the Cold War Era, the divided city of Berlin was the very epicentre of global tension between East and West. Surrounded everywhere by military forces, it was not a place commonly associated with recreational activities. The grandeur of its past, dating back some seven centuries, had been all but swallowed whole by conflict, making it an unattractive venue for tourism and entertainment focused solely on diplomacy and business.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall (1961~89), however, Berlin has been on a course of revitalization. Since 1991, it has been restored as the capital of unified Germany, and most federal offices and ministries have been relocated from Bonn since 1999. Its population now tops 3.5 million and during the past decade the city’s place among major world metropolitan areas has been reclaimed, with international-class culture, politics, media and science, festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts, public transportation networks and a high quality of living.

In concert with this modern Renaissance, no fewer than eleven sanctioned gambling facilities have take root in Berlin. Fully eight of them belong to the Casino Merkur-Spielothek network, a division of the Gauselmann Group headquartered in East Westphalia. In 1957, Paul Gauselmann started out by refurbishing used U.S. jukeboxes, and by 1976 the family-owned company had begun manufacturing its own slot machines.

Today, Casino Merkur-Spielothek venues make machine gaming available all around Berlin, including Kottbusser, Kurfürstendamm, Lietzenburger, Nahmitzer Damm, Nollendorfplatz, Nonnendammallee and Turm (Turmstraße). Like the network’s main location on Oranienburger Straße, all of the casinos are open daily from 11am till 3am.

Those seeking a bit more upscale experience for gaming activities now have some excellent choices in Berlin, too. For example, the Casino Berlin on Panoramastraße has a large slots area with some 195 gaming machines operating from 11am to 3am daily, plus a table gaming pit that includes Roulette, Blackjack and Poker at eight tables from 7pm to 3am daily. Facilities at the Casino Berlin include the Mystery Bar for food and drinks, a health club, sauna, meeting room, shopping arcade and a private gaming area. Patrons must be at least 18 years of age, remit an entrance fee (€5 for table games; €1 for slots), and adhere to a dress code requiring jacket and tie for men.

Similarly, the Spielbank Berlin on Marlene Dietrich Platz has the same rules for admission to its gaming area, which is divided into two separate casinos: the Casino Royale open from 3pm to 3am and the Casino Leger, with hours from 11am to 5am. In total, the Spielbank Berlin has 250 gaming machines available from 11am till 3am daily, along with Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Sic Bo and Poker at 19 tables. Also on the premises are three bars—Absolut, Baccara and Cubano—and three restaurants— Berliner Caféhaus, Hummerstübchens and Schumacher.

The popularity of Poker in Berlin cannot be denied. The European Poker Tour regularly schedules a stop in the capital, using the Grand Hyatt Berlin on Marlene Dietrich Platz as its base of operations. Fixed poker rooms also dot the city, including the Pokerlounge Berlin on Platz der Luftbrücke and the 27 All Inn with its five dedicated tables on Winnsstrasse.

For those who enjoy horseracing, the Hoppegarten Racecourse is a turf horse track in Dahlwitz-Hoppegarten, just on Berlin’s doorstep in the state of Brandenburg. The course was one of Germany’s most important equine centres until 1945. Today it again offers thoroughbred racing, plus the amenities of the Biergarten Café for drinks and dining.

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