At Online Casino Ground, we often write about casinos (and gambling halls) in the Netherlands . For example about our experiences with these casinos, but also about the range of games. Many casinos are often modern, new and use the latest technologies. But sometimes it is also very nice to play in a truly authentic casino. That is why we went in search of the oldest casino in Europe and in this blog you can read all about this special casino.
The oldest casino in Europe
The oldest casino in Europe, which is almost 250 years old, is located about 40 kilometers from the Dutch border. This authentic casino can be found in the Belgian town of Spa. Spa is a city and municipality in the Belgian province of Liege. In about 45 minutes you can drive from, for example, the Dutch Maastricht to Spa in Belgium. Spa is also called the ‘Pearl of the Ardennes’. It is a fresh, pleasant town with less than ten thousand inhabitants.
Spa was the main tourist center of the Ardennes until about 1980. In the 16th century, the commercialization of the thermal baths in the city started and many spa guests came to Spa. The first bathing establishment was built in 1764 and the city became known as a health resort. In 1774 the second casino in Europe was opened. Casino de Spa to be precise.
Casino de Spa in Belgium
This casino opened its doors in 1774 but about eleven years before, in 1763 the construction of this casino started. In the 19th century Spa became so well known in Europe that in English “spa” became a generic name for a health resort. The wealthy bourgeoisie had castles and other real estate built there. Numerous members of the royal family, composers and writers stayed in Spa. It became an exclusive place.
The Ardennes were back then, but are still a very popular holiday destination for families. Many people from the Netherlands also visit the nature reserve in our neighboring country. There are many reasons why people choose a holiday in the Ardennes. For example, nature is beautiful, it is close by for the Dutch and you can undertake many sports activities. Think of beautiful walking and cycling trips, but also more adventurous activities such as abseiling, mountain biking or a canoe trip. The proximity of the car race circuit Spa-Francorchamps also ensures that many Dutch people regularly visit this region.
The old, but beautiful building, immediately stands out in the town. As mentioned, this casino opened its doors in 1774 after 11 years of construction. The opening was tackled on a grand scale at the time. Almost all wealthy people from the region were present at the opening. While enjoying a drink, one could take a gamble first . The ‘normal’ citizens in the region had no chance to be there, this opening was purely by invitation. But of course, as time went on, less well-off people began to visit the casino more often. This sometimes caused a problem in the past. The casino wanted to safeguard its allure and especially at that time, there was a greater difference in classes than we know today. Not everyone agreed.
A nice detail is that the casino is no longer in the same building nowadays. The Casino de Spa is now located in the building La Salle des Fêtes. This is also an impressive building, just like the previous building. The reason for this move in the early 19th century has never been officially revealed. Rumors have it that the first property was not properly secured in the end and after the casino board got their hands on sophisticated plans from criminals , they decided to move. Whether this incident, which looks like a scene from a movie, was the real reason we will probably never know again.
Casino de Spa
If you are a fan of authentic casinos, the Casino de Spa is definitely worth a visit. Where else can you visit a casino almost 250 years old? The casino is still a draw in the region. Not only gambling enthusiasts come to gamble, but also people who want to see the history and architecture of the impressive building with their own eyes. It is also a really beautiful building where Casino de Spa is located.
Game selection in Casino de Spa
Although the casino is many years old, the range of games is excellent . The oldest casino in Europe also features the latest live table games and slot machines. But Casino de Spa also organizes many different tournaments. They also organize events with live music or entertainment, but most people come here to play a tournament. Think of poker and blackjack tournaments, or playing bingo , very popular with the Belgians.
Interesting poker festivals are held here every month , such as the Belgian Amateur Poker Tour (BAPT) and the Belgian Poker Championship (BPC). Due to the many tourists who come to visit the Ardennes, they also have guided tours through the casino with an extensive explanation of the ancient history of the building. In addition to the events, tournaments and tours, the games of roulette, Roll’Hit, Dice Jack, blackjack and Stud Poker are also offered. The well-known and favorite slot machines cannot be missed, of course, not even in Casino de Spa. Casino de Spa has about ninety classic slots . While playing on these slot machines you can already play for a small amount. The deposit on some cabinets is at least € 0.01.
Restaurant in Casino de Spa
You will of course get hungry at some point from such a tournament, playing on a slot machine or a tour. Fortunately, you can also visit the restaurant in the casino. They offer different daily specials, fine wines and you can even order an extensive 3- or 4-course dinner. The restaurant is open from 6 pm to midnight on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. On Friday and Saturday, the restaurant is open from 6 PM to 2 AM. They are closed on Wednesdays.
But don’t forget, you can also enjoy various free snacks and drinks and even a delicious soup while playing. This is completely free.
The opening hours of this beautiful casino are on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 AM to 4 AM. On Fridays and Saturdays the casino is open from 11:00 AM to 5:00 AM. The minimum age is 21 years and admission is free.
The best way to reach the casino is by car. Spa’s casino is conveniently located at one of the crossroads of Europe, meaning Brussels, Bonn, Aachen and Luxembourg are all within 150 kilometers. You can park easily and for free at the casino. The address is: Rue Royale 4, 4900 Spa, Belgium.