Betting in San Jose

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San José, which means “Saint Joséph” in Spanish, is the national capital of Costa Rica. With a metro population of over 2.1 million residents, it is the focal point of the country’s political and economic activity, and its location in the Central Valley makes it a natural hub for trade and transportation.

The city started as a Spanish colony in 1723 and grew only slowly due to a lack of water resources. Its European influence is still obvious, however, in its art and architecture, especially noticeable in the numerous theatres, museums, houses, parks and plazas in the city centre that date back to the 18th century.

The eleven districts that make up San José are subdivided into neighbourhoods known as “barrios.” The city centre consists of the Merced, San Francisco, Catedral and Hospital districts and is laid out on a grid of numbered avenues running east-west and calle (streets) going north-south. A highway loop called the Circunvalación, Route 39, wraps around central San José on three sides—west, south and east.

Many of San José’s finest casinos are located in downtown hotels. At Avenue 2, Calle 4, for example, the Royal Dutch Hotel & Casino Europa is open 24 hours daily, featuring 100 gaming machines and six table games, from 3-Card Poker, Baccarat, Canasta (Roulette), Pai Gow Poker and Rommy Blackjack to a local game called Tute. The property also has a sports bar and 70 guestrooms.

Over at Avenue 1, Calle 9, the 104-room Hotel del Rey is home to Casino del Rey, with its 75 gaming machines and ten table games, including Canasta (Roulette), Caribbean Stud Poker, Rommy Blackjack and Tute. Also on the premises, open daily from 11am till close, are the Del Rey Café with its international cuisine and the Blue Marlin Bar, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

On the same block to the east at Calle 11 is the Club Colonial Casino, open 24/7 and offering 125 gaming machines and a dozen table games, among which are Canasta (Roulette), Craps, Let It Ride, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker and Rommy Blackjack. American-style food and beverages are served on site in the Restaurante Magnolia.

Major international resort-casinos are found mainly around the edges of downtown. The Radisson Hotel & Casino Europa on the north side of the San Francisco District has 107 rooms, two restaurants, 219 gaming machines and 13 table games open round the clock. The Crown Plaza San José Corobici on the west side of the Merced District has an outdoor pool and a fitness center in addition to an on-site casino, and the adjacent Barceló San José Palacio Spa & Casino offers 254 rooms, two restaurants, two bars, 18 gaming machines and 15 table games, open daily from 8pm till 3am.

Among casino chains operating in San José, the largest is Thunderbird Resorts with five local properties. Three of them are managed under the Fiesta Casino brand, and their flagship is inside the landmark Hotel Presidente at Avenue 2, Calle 7. It features 5,328 square feet of gaming space containing 150 gaming machines, open daily from 11am to 4am. The two other Fiesta Casino venues are located inside the Holiday Inn Express near the airport and the Ramada Plaza Herradura on General Canas Highway to the northwest off Route 1. The latter features a 4,400-square-foot gaming space with 87 gaming machines and nine table games as well as three restaurants. Opening hours are from noon to 7am daily.

Thunderbird Resorts’ second brand is Lucky’s Casino. They operate a 1,313-square-foot facility inside the Hotel Villa Tournon on the north side of central San José, where 50 gaming machines are featured. Then there’s the Perez Zeledon property in San Isidro de El General to the southeast. It has 2,475 square feet of gaming space, with 118 gaming machines.

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