Greece, for the love of GAMBLING
Greece indeed is a gambling country. I don’t have to fall into sarcasm or malice and remind you of the state budget, the crisis, and the rescue package. Other EU countries will be facing bankruptcy just as soon if they do not protect their budgets with a secure EU financial rescue package. For the Greeks, however, gambling seems to be in the genes. Many are corrupt, they abstain – if somehow possible – from any obligatory tax payments, they torch their forests for major projects (I will go into detail about a particularly breath-taking casino in this context), but above all, Greeks love to gamble. The promising information I received in Sofia about the casinos in Greece was more than true.
With what expenditure, with what monumental splendor do the Greeks stage all their game palaces? What about the rush of visitors? How many roulettes, poker, blackjack tables, and slot machines are there?
Unbelievable! Up to forty recorded roulette tables lurk for their prey in the Greek metropolises, provinces, and islands. Everywhere there is greed for power, stories fed by temptations, occasionally also cries of luck, but above all recurring despair about losses that power the growth of casinos. Every casino is filled with crowds of people who, supported by the croupiers, bless the operators with monstrous gifts. Greece is a long way from a decline in the classical game, which is feared in Germany and Austria. And unlike in Slovenia, which also invested a lot of money in its casinos, here the horrendous investments face a wide, pleasure and gambling addicted audience.
Casinos in Greece
1. Casino Xanthi in Xanthi
2. Regency Casino in Thessaloniki
3. Casino Mont Parnes near Athens
4. Casino Porto Rio in Patras
5. Casino Loutraki in Loutraki
6. Casino Syros on the island of Syros in the western Cyclades
I have visited these six casinos in Greece. Again and again. Seven weeks in which I drove from north to south, almost to the Turkish border, back and forth. The two other casinos that still exist in Greece, one on the island of Rhodes and one on the island of Corfu (on the border with Albania), I have not yet visited. A trip to island Syros was enough for me, and so was the stay in the five casinos on the mainland.
Of course, I would never have made this effort if the casinos didn’t prove to be an excellent source of income (but about that a bit later). Before I write in detail about my experience in Greece, here are a few remarks about the common things between all Greek casinos.
There is no fixed dress code. There is always an entrance fee (sometimes you get a free drink in return) and on your first visit, each casino takes pictures of you for the card index. In return, you will receive a season ticket that looks like a credit card, which you can use on your next visit, together with your ID card, to enter the casino without further checks. (An entrance fee is, of course, to be paid at each visit). The most significant difference to casinos in other countries is when you change your money into chips. It is only possible to change money at the tables, directly at the croupiers – in connection with this season ticket. The cash desk is only used to exchange the chips back. However, chips can never be purchased there. This way, every casino not only knows how much money you have invested in an evening; they can even allocate the amounts to the individual tables. On the other hand, it is allowed to change, e.g. 2,000 Euro at one table and then play with these chips at another. They will not tolerate it if you intend to take photos, not only of the interior but also when trying to take a picture of the casino from the outside. An employee of the security will appear immediately and prevent the picture from being taken.
Harald Pia is a well-known author in the industry and a managing shareholder in Lady Hammer
Casino. He is also a professional boxing manager!
NewCasinos.nz Magazine Issue 4, Article List