Review written by Sophie Couard, on March 7, 2016.
When talking about casinos, people often immediately think about Las Vegas or Macau, although the history of gambling establishments in Europe is much more interesting and older. The first casino was opened in Venice in the 17th century, but today, the oldest casino in the world that is still operating is not there. In fact, the oldest operating casino is in Belgium. Yes, you read that right: in Belgium!
The Casino in Spa is currently considered the oldest in the world. It was opened in 1763 and the ballroom and theatre were completed in 1769. In comparison, the famous Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco was opened only in 1862, almost 100 years later. The casino is being managed by the Circus group since 2004, who completely renovated the establishment 2010. Let us now see in our review what this historic establishment has to offer.
A casino with classy games
The casino is not only the oldest in the world, it is also one of the most beautiful! The complex has a unique and authentic architecture that few other casinos can match. There are many paintings and elaborate chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The design is a real feast for the eyes, and the luxurious atmosphere really offers a lot more soul to playing the games.
The slot machines
The slot machine room is open every day Sunday to Thursday from 11 am to 4 am, and Friday and Saturday until 5 am. The room has a warm and friendly atmosphere, and you can find 100 devices accepting bets from 1 cent. Among the games are:
- mechanical slot machines,
- video slot machines,
- video poker,
- games with progressive jackpots,
- electronic roulette games with 19 spaces.
The games in the selection are from the following developers:
For example, you can find these popular games :
- Choy Sun Doa,
- Where's the Gold,
- Texas Dice,
- Zeus II.
The table games
The table games are available Monday to Thursday from 8 pm to 4 am, Friday from 8 pm to 5 am, Saturday from 4 pm to 5 am and Sunday from 4 pm to 4 am. There is a good selection of table games available, and you can play the following games at 10 tables:
- English roulette,
- roll hit,
- dice jack,
- stud poker,
- sic bo,
- spa poker (a variant inspired by texas hold'em where you play only against the dealer).
The poker room is located near the table games and is open from Monday to Sunday. The cash games vary at the tables and texas hold'em tournaments are organised every week.
Before ending the section about the games at the casino, I would like to mention that access to the casino is restricted to adults over 21 years, and only if they are not prohibited from gambling, as this is the law in Belgium. It is also mandatory to present a valid ID.
Relaxing between the games
Aside from the very nice games room, the Casino in Spa also has a restaurant and bar where you can either enjoy lunch, dinner or have a drink in a nice atmosphere. Events and entertainment are regularly organised by the establishment, such as theme nights, shows, concerts or other events to entertain the visitors of the establishment.
The Bar at the Casino is open the same hours of the slot machine hall Sunday to Thursday from 11 am to 4 am, and Friday and Saturday until 5 am. The bar offers a comprehensive menu with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as a menu with small snacks.
The Brasserie at the Casino is open from 6 pm to midnight on weekdays, and until 2 am on weekends, but it is closed on Wednesday. The restaurant offers a diverse menu with dishes for good prices. The dishes are simple, but very good nevertheless, which is the most important thing, isn't it?
The Casino in Spa does not have a hotel. If you want to stay a few days in the area, you will have to look elsewhere for accommodation. Fortunately, the city is popular with tourists and offers plenty of possibilities for accommodation, such as:
- the Radisson BLU Palace Hotel which is a few hundred metres away from the casino and prices start from €105 per night,
- the Relais de Pommard which is 7 km away from the casino and prices start from €75 per night,
- the Hôtel de la Source which is 8 km away from the casino and prices start from €100 per night,
- the Radisson BLU Balmoral which is 2 km away from the casino and prices start from €120 per night.
So, what can I conclude about the Casino in Spa?
Firstly, it is the oldest gambling establishment in the world and one of the most beautiful as well. It deserves to be discovered just for these reasons. Secondly, although the actual games room is relatively small, and there are not many games available, the game selection itself is very good, and you can play games, such as dice jack, roll hit and sic bo, which are not very common in general.
In short, I think the casino is an excellent establishment. Although it is not very large you will not be disappointed.
By car : Motorway A27 (E42) - Exit 8 Jalhay/Spa.
By train : Train station of Spa.
Slot machines : Sunday to Thursday from 11 am to 4 am, and Friday and Saturday until 5 am.
Table games : Monday to Thursday from 8 pm to 4 am, Friday from 8 pm to 5 am, Saturday from 4 pm to 5 am and Sunday from 4 pm to 4 am.