Betting in San Juan

Published: 02/04/2013

As the largest city of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated Caribbean island territory of the United States, San Juan serves as the region’s capital under the official name “Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista” (i.e., the “Municipality of the Capital City, Saint John the Baptist”). Spanish colonists who first settled in the area in 1521 called the city “Ciudad de Puerto Rico” or the “Rich Port City.” It has the distinction of being the second oldest European-established city in the Americas, following Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

Over the centuries, San Juan grew to become a key Puerto Rican seaport as well as the centre for manufacturing, finance, culture and tourism on the island. The city’s greater metropolitan area is now home to some two million inhabitants—almost half of Puerto Rico’s population. Noteworthy historic sites include the city’s two former defensive forts—Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristóbal—as well as La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas. Just east of Old San Juan along the Atlantic coast, a wealthy tourist-oriented neighborhood has sprung up called “Condado,” where sandy beaches and numerous luxury hotels form a nexus for visitors.

San Juan resort-casinos are famous for their salsa music and carefree atmosphere. Representative of them is the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza Hotel, featuring a 12,500-square-foot gaming space on the second floor, which is open 24/7 with live bands nightly. The property offers 400 gaming machines, 18 table games, 11 restaurants and 570 guestrooms, facing the ocean to the north and lovely Condado Lagoon to the south.

In the same vicinity near the hub of Condado nightlife is the Casino Del Mar inside the posh La Concha Hotel. It offers 15,000 square feet of gaming space, 401 gaming machines, 19 table games and four restaurants—La Komakai, Perla, Solera and Voga—along with luxury accommodations. Operating hours are 24/7.

Just a few blocks down along the beachfront is the 525-room San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, which has been called “a great place to enjoy some Puerto Rican rum cocktails and roll the dice in a relaxed atmosphere.” The casino’s 12,700-square-foot gaming space has 482 gaming machines and 28 table and poker games. There are also three restaurants and a bar on the premises.

Then, near the end of Ashford Avenue and the line-up of ocean-facing resorts is the Radisson Ambassador Plaza Hotel, featuring 15,000 square feet of gaming space. Open 24 hours daily, it has 500 gaming machines, a dozen table and poker games, one restaurant and 233 guestrooms.

The two Sheraton-owned properties with casinos in San Juan have positioned themselves a bit differently from their competitors. The Casino Metro at Sheraton Convention Center offers 24/7 access to its 425 gaming machines and 15 table games right by the airport, where the 503 rooms of the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel are first greet new arrivals. Meanwhile, the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino is located across San Juan Bay within the city’s historic walls. Open 24 hours daily, it features a 7,000-square-foot gaming space with 351 gaming machines and 10 table games, plus two restaurants and 240 guestrooms.

Apart from the casinos inside land-based hotels, San Juan also serves as the home port for the Carnival Cruise Line’s Victory cruise ship, which features a 9,000-square-foot gaming space with 191 gaming machines and 17 table games, including Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker and Craps. Also on board are four swimming pools, a spa, a water sports zone with water slide, and three restaurants—the Caribbean Lounge, the Mediterranean Restaurant and the Coral Sea Café—along with three bars, nautically named Aegean, Irish Sea and Trident.

One other special gambling opportunity is located in San Juan’s eastern suburb of Canovanas. It’s the Camarero Racetrack, with its one-mile oval and seven furlong chute. The surface is sand, offering fixtures on Wednesday through Sunday from 3pm to 6:30pm. The property also features a full-service race book, the buffet-style Terrace Room restaurant and the Winners Sports Bar.

Published on: 02/04/2013

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