Betting in Port of Spain

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Although Port of Spain has been the capital of Trinidad and Tobago since 1757, it is still not the country’s largest city. With fewer than 550,000 residents, its population is less than that of both San Fernando and Chaguanas. Nevertheless, its location on the northwest coast of the island facing the Gulf of Paria makes Port of Spain the nation’s largest container port and a shipping hub for both agricultural products and manufactured goods. It is also an important retail and administrative centre as well as a hub for financial services throughout the Caribbean. Indeed, two of the region’s largest banks are headquartered here.

The tourism industry has only lately been made a priority in Port of Spain. The city offers a range of nightclubs and entertainment complexes, plus a great variety of restaurants featuring cuisines from Italian, Mexican and Lebanese to Thai, Venezuelan-Panyol, French, American and Indian, especially concentrated on Ariapita Avenue, a popular entertainment strip. The annual pre-lenten Carnival is the city’s main cultural festival and tourist attraction, but in recent years international conferences have helped bring more visitors to the capital, too.

At the heart of Port of Spain is Woodford Square, around which City Hall, the Hall of Justice, the Red House (Parliament), the old Fire Station, Trinity Cathedral and the National Library are congregated. The historic old town, known colloquially as “Town,” reaches down to South Quay, west to Richmond Street, north to Oxford Street and east to St. Ann’s River. Newer developments surround the downtown, such as Woodbrook, a former sugar estate to the west; Laventille, just east of St. Ann’s River; and Belmont, at the foot of the Laventille Hills to the northeast.

Casinos are legal in Port of Spain, but they must operate as Members Clubs. That typically means paying an initial membership charge of TT$100 when joining, but most clubs “rebate” the fee in the form of non-negotiable chips or slot tokens worth TT$100 to be used in play immediately.

Closest to the city centre are two properties owned and operated by Tilley Entertainment, which was founded by Clive Tilley in 1996. The Play 2 Win Club on Frederick Street just west of Woodford Square features gaming machines only, while the Big Bucks Club on Charlotte Street to the east has table games as well as slots. Both require membership for entry.

Also downtown is the Trinidad Club Princess on Independence Avenue, managed by the Princess Entertainment Group out of Istanbul, Turkey. Open daily from 10am until 2am, it has a 12,000-square-foot gaming floor with 169 gaming machines and nine table games. This casino also has a sister property constructed on reclaimed land at the waterfront—the Royal Princess Casino inside Movietowne at Invaders Bay.

Open from noon to 4am each day, the Royal Princess Casino is a Members Club featuring a 18,500-square-foot gaming space with 180 gaming machines and a dozen table games, including Roulette, Blackjack, Texas Hold’em and a popular local game called Rhum 32. Its proximity to the cruise ship docks and Falls Shopping Mall make it a popular venue among both locals and visitors.

Over to the west in Woodbrook, the Ma Pau Casino at French Street and Araipita Avenue is open 24/7, featuring 50 gaming machines and three table games: Blackjack, Baccarat and Poker. Also in Woodbrook is “Players on the Avenue” at O’Connor Street. It offers a cozy Members Club with gaming machines and six tables featuring 3-Card Poker, 4-Card Poker, Blackjack, Casino Hold’em, Roulette and Rhum 32. It is open daily from 6pm till 3am for all games and from 4pm for slots.

One other Port of Spain casino is the Palms Casino on Saddle Road. It, too, is a Private Members Club featuring a poker room, a slots floor with 80 machines and table games ranging from 3-Card Poker and Blackjack to Roulette and Rhum 32. On selected weekdays, there is also free Bingo on the premises and promotions such as free drawings in the slots area. The Palms Casino has two bars providing complementary drinks and “lite-bite” meals, too.

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