Eastern Europe — Casino & Gambling

This section of World Casino Directory deals specificially with East Europe casinos and gambling. The continent of Eastern Europe has countries with casinos in them and countries with pari-mutuel facilities in them, including horse racing and dog racing or the newer racinos which have slots or video poker terminals within reach of the gamblers. Click…

This section of World Casino Directory deals specificially with East Europe casinos and gambling. The continent of Eastern Europe has countries with casinos in them and countries with pari-mutuel facilities in them, including horse racing and dog racing or the newer racinos which have slots or video poker terminals within reach of the gamblers. Click the following articles for a run-down on specific gambling in this continent. East Europe Poker for the poker guide, or East European Lottery for East Europe lottery results and lottery information and last but not least visit this page for the current gambling news in Eastern Europe.


WCD Eastern Europe update September 9th 2013

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and fall of communism in the early 1990’s, casinos, which were never allowed in the countries that made up the USSR, started to spring up across all of Eastern Europe. In December of 1991, as the world watched in amazement, the Soviet Union disintegrated into fifteen separate countries. East European countries that were previously in the USSR and that soon started up casinos were the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, plus Georgia and Ukraine.

Many countries of the Warsaw pact that were controlled by the USSR were the first to break free after the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. Even before the fall of the Soviet Union, casinos were beginning to appear in Poland. Eastern Europe’s first ever casino in a country previously part of or controlled by the USSR was a venture between the world’s largest casino company Casinos Austria and the government owned Lot Polish Airlines named Casinos Poland. Casinos Poland in 1989 opened their casino in the Hotel Pod Roza in Krakow and quickly followed that by opening in the Marriott Warsaw.

Although there was an explosion of casino expansion all through the 1990’s and most of the 2000’s there was a major reversal in quite of a few of the major countries. When on acting on a law passed by the federal government in January 2007 the Russian government ordered around 3700 casinos closed down on July 1st 2009. Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union soon followed Russia’s example of closing casinos in major cities and setting up special gambling zones far away from population centers.


In Russia the first legal casino actually opened before the USSR’s collapse at Moscow’s Savoy Hotel in 1989. A company from Finland opened the casino exclusively for foreigners according to a special permission from the Soviet government. Casino Savoy was the first land based casino allowed by the communist government but the same Finnish company were actually allowed to operate a casino on the cruise liner ‘George Ots’ from 1987 and this was technically the first casino to have operated in the then Soviet Union.

Casinos operating in what then became just Russia reached nearly 4000 but a surprise and mega shock came when the federal government passed a law on January 1st 2007 which stipulated the creation of 4 special gambling zones and the closure of all casinos by July 1st 2009. Casinos in Russia are now confined to the Altai region of Siberia; the coastal area of the Far East, near the border with North Korea and China; Kaliningrad a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania; and the Azov Sea region in the south.

Things were slow to happen in the special gambling zones and it was not until Casino Oracle opened in the territory of the Azov-City gambling zone on January 30th 2010 that a slow process of new casinos in these zones opening up began to happen. Since the Casino Oracle opened only 2 other small casinos have in opened in the special zones due to a combination of lack of investor interest and belief the authorities would allow casinos again in the big metropolitan areas. In March 2013 at the Global Gaming Asia Business show there was finally strong interest from gaming giants from around the world in especially the Primorye Region near China’s border which is close to the major city of Vladivostok . On July 11th 2013 Lawrence Ho, son of Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho said he will invest in two Russian gambling resorts worth $630 million in the Primorye region. On September 9th 2013 Asian casino developer NagaCorp Ltd. Became the second major player in pitching a possible casino in the Primorye Region and its proposed new casino-resort would require a $350 million investment.

Many of the ex-Soviet states were, or still are, influenced by Russia, and incredibly Ukraine which was the country with the second largest number of casinos in Eastern Europe almost immediately followed Russia’s example and in the same month closed all the country’s casinos. In addition to closing all the country’s casinos Ukraine also announced that like Russia they were setting up special gambling zones in far flung regions but by the second half of 2013 nothing had been built.


Belarus had the third largest amount of casinos after Russia and Ukraine and greatly benefited from the closing down of casinos in these countries. Minsk is the capital of Belarus and just this one city has 29 casinos, with Admiral Casinos having 12 and Olympic Entertainment Group 7. Olympic Entertainment Group also operates casinos in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.
Poland is where it all started at the beginning of 1989 where Casinos Poland opened the regions first legal casino in many decades. Casinos Poland and Orbis Casinos are jointly the largest operators of casinos in the country now with 7 casinos each. Casinos Poland’s casino in the Marriott Warsaw is easily the country’s largest and most profitable of 27 nationwide operations. Probably the most famous casino in Poland is Orbis Casino Sopot in the Grand Hotel Sopot which actually had a famous casino in the same building in the late 1890’s and is a classical building to this day.

Bulgaria and the Czech Republic have the next largest amount of casinos with over 20 each. Princess Group which has 31 casinos in 11 countries are by far the largest operator in Bulgaria and own the country’s 3 largest casino complexes and Princess Hotel and Casino Sofia, which is the country’s largest. While the casino business is booming in Bulgaria the industry and casino numbers are rapidly shrinking in the Czech Republic, mainly due to the economic downturn there and an oversupply of casinos especially in the capital Prague. Gambling activities in the Czech Republic are regulated by the International Relations and Financial Policies Section of the Minister of Finance and after granting too many licenses at least 6 casinos in Prague have closed in recent years because of too much competition.

Of other countries in Eastern Europe, Hungary has also seen its casino industry shrink especially in the capital Budapest which in 2013 has only 2 casinos whereas in recent years it had 11. Casino Las Vegas and the Tropicana Casino which were the first casinos to open in the country are the only ones left operating in Budapest. Hungary has 4 casinos in other parts of the country mainly run by one of the world’s largest operators, Casinos Austria. Albania legalized casino gambling in 2004 and the Hyatt Regency Tirana opened a year later and is still the only casino in the country having had several arguments with the government and at one point threatening to close down.

Slovenia, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia all have casinos also, with the HIT group the main operator in these countries. In Croatia the government lotteries actually operate 7 full blown casinos. In Slovenia HIT Group operate the country’s 6 casinos and also operate 1 each in Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro. Serbia is one of the most populous countries in the region but was the last to allow casinos which it did at the end of 1994, most of the casinos in the capital Belgrade are only slot operations but in 2007 the Grand Casino Beograd opened with 30 tables and 243 slots and is one of the largest casinos in Eastern Europe. Kaliningrad a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania is a designated gambling zone of Russia but so far no investors have come forward and no new casinos have opened as we approach 2014.

Eastern Eurpe Casinos & Gambling

Casinos are emerging as a popular form of leisure entertainment and revenue in eastern parts of Europe. Most of the casinos and the gambling arcades are seen to be present in the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, FYR Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro and Turkey. Here is an overview of how the gaming industry functions here.

Gambling in East Europe

Albania decided to bet on casinos in late 2004 and the first casino was opened in October 2005 by the Hyatt Regency in Tirana. Now as the government has decided to quadruple taxes on slot machines, Hyatt has threatened to close down the joint. This casino has 22 tables and 240 slot machines. Gaming in Bulgaria evolved too and has set high standards. While luxury outlets have up to 50 gaming machines, less attractive ones have 10-20 slots.

Locations to gamble at in East Europe

Large casino operators are found in Bulgaria, and the Turkish entertainment group called Princess owns the three biggest casinos there. Local operators include the bookmaking chain Eurofutbol with 2 casinos and Multigroup that owns and runs 3 casinos. Smaller and more seasonal operators of casinos are also present. Electronic casinos are present with one of the biggest local chains is Eldorado which has more than 20 locations of electronic casinos that come equipped with video slots, automatic roulettes, and progressive jackpots. Chains of Queens Club, Blitz Club, and other local smaller operators with 1-2 gaming arcades are also well visited. Bosnia and Herzegovina has one casino at Sarajevo while Hungary, Turkey and Poland have many.

Poker in Eastern Europe

Poker is much enjoyed in East Europe and has many outlets.
Poker Rooms in Czech Republic include the names of American Chance Casino located in Ceska Kubice, Route 59 and Hollywood spin. Casino 777 offers poker rooms in Brno, Liberec, Teplice, Zlin-Ondras and Znojmo. Furth im Wald, Ceska Kubice, and Kleinhaugsdorf border crossing, Hate, also have poker rooms. Poker, banana poker and matrix poker are available and enjoyed in Bulgaria. Hungary has four poker rooms while Poland has 20 including Grand casino and the Novotel chain of casinos.

Pari-mutuel wagering in East Europe

While pari-mutuel wagering has evolved and found its place in the hearts of many, it is still catching on in Europe. Betting on horses, boats, bicycles, lotteries, bikes and sports has become common and many choose this form of gambling over other kinds.