Betting in Sharm El Sheikh

Published: 22/04/2013

Located near the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, Sharm el-Sheikh was a quiet fishing village for hundreds of years under Ottoman rule. Then, in the mid-20th century, its strategic importance was recognised by the Egyptian government, who set about turning the promontory overlooking the Straits of Tiran into a major commercial port and naval base. The transformation, however, was anything but peaceful.

During the Suez Crisis of 1956, Sharm el-Sheikh fell briefly under Israeli rule before being restored to Egypt a year later. Israel again captured the port during the Six-Day War in 1967, and it was not until 1982 that it reverted once more to Egypt under the terms of the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty.

Since then, Sharm el-Sheikh has become the administrative hub of Egypt’s South Sinai Governorate. Although the port’s population is fewer than 40,000 residents, it has hosted several major Middle East peace talks, marketed itself as a congress centre and developed a tourism-based economy to replace commercial shipping. In place of former military facilities, Sharm El Maya Bay has become the city’s main yacht and service port. And thanks to dramatic landscape, year-round dry and temperate weather, long stretches of natural beaches, clear and calm waters, coral reefs, and a bustling nightlife, Europeans as well as Middle Easterners are discovering Sharm el-Sheikh as a holiday destination.

The city’s four large casinos are also part of the attraction, each of them located within a luxury resort along the coast and open to players aged 18 years and over. For example, the 200-room Sonesta Beach Resort at Naama Bay is home to the Sinai Grand Casino, owned and operated by the Raineau Group of France. Its 2,500-square-foot gaming space contains 210 gaming machines and 29 table games, including 3-Card Poker, Blackjack, Stud Poker, Roulette and Texas Hold’em. Also on the property are two restaurants—Marika for Italian and Les Palmes for steak—along with a sports bar, a lounge and a nightly Vegas-style revue.

At the 394-room Hilton Sharm Dreams Resort, also on Naama Bay, the casino is open from 8pm to 4am daily. It offers 50 gaming machines and six table games, including Blackjack and Roulette. Among the property’s facilities are four restaurants—Le Jardin, Casa Sharm, Nook Café and Tex-Mex—two bars, nine swimming pools, private beach access, billiards, darts and live music nightly.

Another Naama Bay gaming venue is the Casino Royale inside the 5-star Maritim Jolie Ville Resort (formerly the Movenpick, now owned by Germany’s Maritim Hotel Group). It is open 24 hours a day, offering 77 gaming machines and 17 table games, including Three Card Brag, Blackjack, Hold’em Poker, American Roulette and Caribbean Stud Poker. In addition to 335 guestrooms, there are six restaurants, six bars, the Jolie Thai Spa & Wellness Center, two swimming pools, a fitness room, tennis courts and beach access.

The Domina Coral Bay Hotel, Resort, Spa & Casino houses the Aladin Casino, open daily from 9pm to 4am. With 10,764 square feet of gaming space, it features 100 gaming machines and 15 table games, including American Roulette, Blackjack, Caribbean Poker, European Roulette, Poker, Punto Banco and Texas Hold’em. There is also an exclusive gaming area called “The Prive” for those who require additional privacy. Smaila’s exclusive entertainment club, the Arena theatre under the stars and an Italian restaurant can also be found on the premises.

Published on: 22/04/2013

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