We had a fantastic night Friday at the Grand Casino in New Belgrade, on the banks of the Sava River. This was the first time we went to the casino. There is an interesting Serbian law that forces people to become members of the casino. You have to have a photo identification and fill out some paperwork. I am shown above with my card.
Other than the membership thing, the casino was similar to others around the world. We felt good and had some friendly dealers on the black jack and roulette tables. I think the ghost of Tito was helping us, as we kept betting on red. We are Red Star fans, and with Tito’s former socialist resort, the abandoned Hotel Jugoslavia next door, red kept on hitting. The casino is owned by a Greek company and partly by the Serbian Lottery. It is really nice and as usual, everyone was very friendly.
I lived in Nevada for two years, one of the US states with legalized gambling. My thoughts on gambling and casinos are as follows:
1) It is a fun night out! We take $100 and have the philosophy that we’re going to have $100 worth of entertainment. If we lose, we are going to have fun doing it. We never go back and get more “ammo” or money.
2) I love the social aspects of the roulette and black jack tables. Strangers sitting around the table kind of become a team against the dealer, and the thrill of victory and agony of defeat are fun when you have a good group. We laughed quite a bit with the others on the table! We also placed bets on each other’s squares on the black jack table, gave each other advice, etc.
3) Slot machines are absolutely boring and I don’t see the addiction of them. In fact, I don’t see how gambling can be addictive, but it is. I had friends that needed to take a second job in Nevada to pay off their gambling debts.
4) Don’t go to casinos to win money – you won’t, at least over the long term. The odds are in favor of the casino for every game.
I would love to buy and renovate the Hotel Jugoslavia. I would make it a communist/socialist kitsch theme. All the rooms, lobby, etc, would be decorated with a modern, comfortable version of the socialist furniture, and decorating schemes. I envision morning calenstetics in Soviet jumpsuits, a baton run along the river, a Tito mascot meeting and greeting guests. The possibilities are endless! If anyone with lots of money wants to help me with my dream, I’ll gladly be the artistic and historic consultant on doing it right. I think it would make a mint. Especially with Eastern Europe quickly changing to exactly like the rest of Europe.