Post-Soviet Casinos: Gambling in the Poorest Country in Europe

Moldovan gambling laws - GamingZion

Prepare yourself for one of the weirdest gambling experiences, in Europe’s poorest country: Moldova.

Las Vegas and Macau might be the most popular gambling destinations, but do you ever wonder what it would be like to play in a post-soviet casino? Gambling is popular all over the world and not everyone can afford to fly to the US for a quick game of roulette, so every country has its own, smaller version of a Vegas casino.

Eastern Europe is surely not famous for its gambling venues, but some countries are still trying their best to attract more customers. Take Moldova, for example. A casino operator in the continent’s poorest country boasts about having “the biggest entertainment center in Eastern Europe” – Napoleon Palace.

While this might be an exaggerated statement, playing in a Moldovan poker room could very well turn out to be one of the weirdest gambling experiences you’ll ever have.

Where to gamble in Moldova

First of all, if you’re feeling adventurous and you’re willing to try new things, you will be happy to know that Moldova has a lot to offer. The country’s first post-soviet casino appeared right after the state became independent in August, 1991. However, it wasn’t until the end of 1994 that the fist Moldovan gambling law appeared.

That being said, the country has a few casinos in the capital Chisinau and several other gambling options, despite the crushing poverty. The Napoleon Palace alone has 17 gambling tables and more than 50 slot machines, as well as a restaurant, bar and strip club.

You can play all your favorite casino games here, including American roulette, blackjack, Russian poker, Texas hold’em poker, oasis, ultimate, three card poker, ultimate Texas hold’em and slots. All of these venues struggle to replicate the Las Vegas experience, but with little success. The good part is that everything is incredibly cheap! Call it the perks of gambling in the poorest country in Europe.

Passion, celebration and… egalitarian games?

Napoleon Palace isn’t your only option to gamble at a casino in Moldova, but it’s probably the safest. A promotional video of the capital’s largest gambling venue attempts to draw you right in, by showing a group of models having a fun night at the casino, running around from one table to the other.

And if you’re willing to get past the poor English, or the fact that they’re playing blackjack when the ad actually talks about poker, the promotional video seems almost believable. According to the ad, visitors can expect to see “the last generation slot machines”, “the most egalitarian terms of the games” and “the most attractive blackjack rules”, all in an “empire style interior”.

So if you’re willing to risk driving your car on the cracked roads of Chisinau, allow your GPS to take you through the communist scenery of Stefan cel Mare Boulevard, straight to Napoleon Palace.


Casinos in Moldova and their “unheard-of benefits”

With little to offer – except for low prices – this casino is sure making an effort to get gamblers to Moldova. The company has a junket service which promises “unheard-of benefits and privileges”, but only for “serious players”.

The offer is meant to “combine pleasing and useful things”, such as gambling and visiting the East-European capital. Pairs are promised a discount, but the rules say this only applies to the traditional “man and woman” type of couple.

Not you convinced yet? Well the truth is we have no real arguments why you should choose Moldova as a gambling destination, unless you have a weird interest in post-communist countries. Or, of course, if you’re looking for a very cheap country where you can play casino games.

As is the case with most East-European countries, no one can guarantee you’ll get everything you paid for. But at least you won’t be paying much!

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