Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Gambling House Frau

Today was a gray, cold and rainy day; yet another in a long stretch of gray, cold and rainy days here in Luxembourg Ville. So, what's a bored house frau to do when she wants a mini adventure on a rainy day? Why, head to the casino, of course!

A 50 cent deposit goes in this machine.
Today, I hopped on a bus to Mondorf-les-Bains, a small town that boasts the country's only casino. It's a 30 minute bus ride away and the casino, CASINO 2000 is open every day from 10am until 3am the following morning (and 4am the following morning on Fridays and Saturdays). Despite all plans to stay until the bitter end at closing time tomorrow morning, my 15€ budget only allowed me to remain in the casino for exactly an hour and a half.

I've only been gambling in Europe a handful of times, in Interlaken, Switzerland, and in both √Čvian and Nice in France. The casino in Nice required a passport to enter, but Interlaken and √Čvian just required any old form of ID. I wasn't sure what to expect in Luxembourg, so I took both my driver's license and my passport. As it turns out, you don't need either in order to enter; all you need is a 50 cent coin. At the entrance, you must drop a 50 cent coin into a red box that then spits out a card the size of a business card. This card is then shown to the person at the entrance to the casino, who validates the "ticket" by stamping it with the date.
The machine then spits out this card, which is validated upon entrance.

The casino here is nothing like the casinos you'll find in Las Vegas or even Atlantic City, but being the only casino in all of Luxembourg, it does the trick. Upon entering, you'll find yourself in a somewhat large, multiple-leveled room full of slot machines. Wandering around, I saw only 2 cent, 5 cent and 50 cent slots, nothing higher (though it's possible I missed those). Slot machines are the only games available in the daytime as it's not until after 5pm that the roulette, blackjack and poker tables open. (And to get into the table games section you're required to drop another 2.50€, in addition to the 50 cents you've already laid down.) Smoking is allowed and there are ashtrays everywhere, so I imagine it gets a little smoky when things are really hopping - but there are no free drinks, at least on a Wednesday afternoon...which was fine considering it is Wednesday and that it was 2pm! (I will have a follow-up report on this critical aspect of gambling after I go to the casino on a weekend night.)

Anyway, I started plunking coins into a few 50 cent slots and won a little here and there, which just went back into the machines. I decided I needed to slow down my game if I wanted to stretch out my adventure a little longer, so I started playing the 2 cent slots. I played the same slot machine for about ten minutes before a well-dressed gentleman approached me and asked if I liked jazz music and whether I might be interested in seeing a concert in one of the casino's lounges on Friday night. Was I interested?? Of course! I love free stuff! So I said yes, and now Nick and I will be seeing Fredrika Stahl this Friday night for free. Thanks to Google, I found her web site, which tells me that she's a Swedish singer with a new album out that "represents a whole new level of musical achievement." I just hope her levels of achievement follow a stricter standard than mine, because that's essentially the same way I describe my work-in-progress French every time somebody actually understands me when, say, I ask for a glass of water or ask how much a pair of shoes cost: "my French has reached a whole new level of language achievement!"

After scoring the free tickets, I upped the ante and headed over to the five cent slots where I played a game called Lucky Luigi's Pizzeria, which I immediately fell in love with because it said things to me like "Thatza niiice!" It was like a short trip to Italy every time I dropped another coin in the slot! I also did extremely well at this game, winning at least 10€ worth of additional plays. I assumed that my winnings were due to having told the nicely suited gentleman that it was my first time in the casino...surely they would want me to come back and spend all of my husband's money! Following my success at Lucky Luigi's Pizzeria, I decided to walk my inflated ego up to the third tier of the casino (which must be the high stakes area, I assumed) and hit the 50 cent machines. I left a few minutes later. I also decided that it was probably time to leave the casino altogether, lest I have to explain to Nick why we can't afford to pay rent in February...

However, with my two free concert tickets in tow - a 14€ value! - I will return to CASINO 2000 this Friday night. But don't worry: if anything interesting happens on my next casino adventure, you can be sure to find an update here on Luxemblog!
Winter view of the entrance to CASINO 2000 in Mondorf-les-Bains, Luxembourg.

Update: One does, in fact, need proper identification to enter the table games section of CASINO 2000. So, if you head over in the evening to play a little blackjack or roulette: take your passport!

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