Belgian Casinos: Spa and Kursaal
While Belgium might not immediately spring to mind when one thinks of casino capitals, the truth is that the Belgian people, whether Flemish or Walloon, have a great selection of brick and mortar casinos where they can find the fantastic atmosphere and great games of a top quality casino. Indeed, there are nine casinos available to players in Belgium; four in Flanders, four in Wallonia and one in Brussels. Of these nine, one in particular stands out: the Casino in Spa, known for being the oldest in the world.
The Story of Casino Spa
Few casinos can boast a history as turbulent and memorable as that of Spa Casino. It was built nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, in 1762, on the initiative of the two mayors of the city, Xhrouet Lambert and Gérard de Leau. Their goal was to create a luxurious set of services for the local nobility, such as ballrooms, theaters and casinos. La Redoute Spa was designed by architect Jean-Barthelemy Liege Digneffe. Nine years later, La Redoute Spa finally opened and began to welcome its first visitors. The casino was in its heyday up until 1789 when the Liege revolution, several devastating fires, and the prohibition of play by the Belgian government all caused huge problems for the casino. Nonetheless, La Redoute Spa survived into the 19th century. A new fire in 1917 destroyed much of the building. The reconstruction work undertaken by the town hall lasted more than ten years and eventually saw the casino rise again, like a phoenix reborn from its ashes. The current casino is also located today on the foundations of the former building. In 1980 and 1981, renovations to the casino restored it to its former glory and in 2003 the casino was purchased by the Belgian Circus.
(photo (c) Casino Circus de Spa)
Hours of fun and games at Spa
Even though the casino spa is not up to its French equivalents in terms of variety of games, it still offers its visitors a range of casino games to choose from. Guests can indulge in blackjack, roulette and slots. Interestingly, the most popular game at the casino is Texas Hold'em and in fact, tournaments take place regularly and attract the cream of European poker players. Around the casino, you will find a theater, several restaurants, a ballroom and a cultural center. In short, the Spa Casino is not just a brick and mortar casino situated out in the middle of nowhere as some casinos found in Las Vegas are, but it is located within an impressive leisure complex and tailored to the player's needs.
How to get there
The casino of Spa in the Belgian Ardennes is located in one of the crossroads of Europe - the cities of Brussels, Bonn, Aix-la-Chapelle or Luxembourg are within a hundred miles of Spa. It's easy to get to the Spa Casino. From eastern France, follow the A31 motorway to Luxembourg and then take the E26 in the direction of Liège. From Paris, the A2 will take you to the Belgian border near Valenciennes. From there follow the A7 to Liege and then continue for 50 miles until you reach Spa. Happy spinning!Casino Circus de Spa 4, rue royale 4900 Spa Belgique Téléphone : 00 32 87 77 20 52 (Minimum age : 21)
While Spa is indeed the oldest, that doesn't take away from the shine of Kursaal Casino. While many people might never have heard of Ostend, this small town on the coast of Belgium is actually the largest in the region and has a well kept treasure for all casino lovers. The Kursaal casino in Ostend was originally opened in 1857 but was unfortunately destroyed during the Second World War. The building was later rebuilt with a more modern feel to it. Today, the casino holds a concert room, a restaurant with a beautiful terrace, and of course, several gaming rooms which should cater to everyone's gambling needs.
Brits crossing the channel
Before World War II, Ostend was a highly frequented gambling resort for the British upper class, especially since Queen Victoria prohibited gambling in the´20s. The gambling law was applied throughout the entire kingdom, making it impossible for the British people to enjoy gambling in England or in any colonial territory serving under the Union Jack. However, the Queen's law never applied to Belgium, something that made the Kursaal Casino a very popular destination for English gamblers during the roaring twenties (which as we all know was when the concept of the brick and mortar casino peaked).
Slots a lot
Up until only a few years ago, slot machines was prohibited in Belgium, but today this well-known casino feature can be found pretty much anywhere inside the walls of the casino. There are approximately 120 slot machines placed around the roulette and poker tables which means that slots lovers have a vast amount of choice. What's more, the bets on the machines vary from €0.1 up to €1 which means that all budgets are catered for.Casino Kursaal Oostende 8400 Oostende Belgique Telephone: +32 59 70 51 11
Other Sights in Ostend:
o The Hippodrome Wellington horse racing tracks
o St Petrus and St Paulus Church
o The beach and the promenade pier
Other European Casinos:
Don't have time to go to a Belgian Casino? Then head to an online casino instead!