Betting in Bucharest

Published: 02/04/2013

When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, Romania gained its independence, but it was not until 2003 that the doors swung open for foreign investment in betting activities. Led by the Liverpool-based Stanley Leisure gaming group, roughly £1.3 million was injected into two new chains of sports betting shops—a joint venture called Stanley Fairbet and a second company called Invicta—giving the citizens of Bucharest and other Romanian cities dozens of ways to wager on football, team handball, basketball, rugby union, tennis, gymnastics and other locally popular sports.

Since 2007, the country has been a member of the European Union, and Bucharest has become better known to travelers for its leisure activities. From world-class performing arts to a hip youthful music scene, the capital city offers a vibrant array of cultural and entertainment attractions. Indeed, many of the big casinos that have opened in this bustling city of nearly 1.7 million people are nestled within first-class hotels, offering a touch of luxury along with games of chance.

The Casino Bucharest, for example, is considered by many to be the epitome of gaming excellence. Inaugurated in 1991, is part of the Casinos Austria International Group and resides within the 336-room Hotel Intercontinental on Boulevard Nicolae Balcescu. Open from 6pm till 6am daily, Casino Bucharest offers only table games in its 3,228-square-foot gaming area, including American Roulette, Blackjack, Oasis Poker, Texas Hold’em and 3-Card Poker.

Also on the premises at Casino Bucharest are five bars and restaurants, from the Intermezzo Piano Bar with its bar drinks and food to the Madrigal Steak House and the Corso Brasserie with its international cuisine. Proper dress is required and players must be at least 18 years of age.

Similarly, the 425-room Marriott Grand Hotel & Casino has a gaming floor with 19 machines and 22 table games. It is open from 2pm to 8am on Mondays and Tuesday and 24 hours a day the rest of the week. Meanwhile the Lido Casino inside the 122-room Lido Hotel is open round-the-clock daily, offering twenty table and poker games.

Inside the Radisson SAS on Calea Victoriei, with its 74 business suites and 311 guestrooms, is the Platinum Casino. The facility features 100 gaming machines and 27 tables for poker and casino games. The Casino Partouche inside the Athenee Palace Hilton on Strada Episcopiei is open 24 hours daily with five gaming machines and twelve table and poker games, and the Casino Fortuna occupies 4,306 square feet within the 77-room Hotel Europa, offering 28 gaming machines and 13 table games from 8pm to 6am each day.

Stand-alone gaming properties have also taken root around Bucharest in recent years, from slot clubs like the 24/7 Havana Princess Slot Club on Boulevard Elisabeta and the Viva! Electronic Casino at Plaza Romania B-Dul to specialized poker rooms, such as the G Poker Club Casino with its eight electronic poker tables.

The city has no central nightlife strip, so entertainment venues are dispersed throughout various neighbourhoods. One company that has capitalised upon the decentralisation is the Merkur Casinos network, a division of the Gauselmann Group headquartered in East Westphalia, Germany. They currently operate four properties around Bucharest—the May, the Prosper, Point Zero and Crangasi—all featuring gaming machines that operate 24 hours a day.

The Olympic Entertainment Group, based out of the Republic of Estonia, also manages a property in Bucharest—the Olympic Casino Militari. It is open daily from 10am to 4am on Bulevardul Iuliu Maniu. And the Viva! Casino Berceni on Soseaua Oltenitei is open daily from 10am to 5am, offering a gaming space with 27 gaming machines.

Published on: 02/04/2013

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