After the fall of the Soviet Union and communism in Eastern Europe, gambling and casinos previously prohibited in the USSR began to gain some recognition. The history of gambling in Eastern Europe started in early 1990 as the Soviet Union split into fifteen independent states. Countries previously banned from indulging in gambling as members of the USSR soon started up casinos, meeting up with the rest of the world. Let’s dive into Eastern Europe’s gambling history with experts in reviews – Top-Casino.RO.
First Casino in the Communist Government
Under communist rule, many Eastern European countries adopted an anti-gambling stance, considering it contrary to the principles of the ideology. However, despite this official disapproval, some countries cautiously introduced state-controlled gambling establishments to generate revenue and cater to foreign visitors. These casinos operated under strict regulations and were often limited to specific areas or tourist zones.
With the fall of communism and the transition to democracy in the late 20th century, Eastern Europe witnessed a significant shift in its gambling landscape. The newfound openness and economic reforms led to the rapid expansion of the gambling industry. Western-style casinos, lottery systems, and online gambling platforms emerged, attracting both local players and international investors.
Still, before the Soviet Union disintegrated, some casinos opened up early. For example, Russia’s first legal casino was also created in 1989, called Casino Savoy. This was the first land-based casino allowed by the communist government. Technically, this company was the first to have operated in the then-Soviet Union.
Even before the fall of the Soviet Union, casinos were already legalized in countries that made up the Warsaw Pact, like Romania. So, Romania can be called the leader of the gambling industry in the Soviet times, and maintaining its status now, it still offers a list of current profitable offers from Romania.
Earliest Casinos After the Soviet Union
After the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, the Baltic states, previously under the USSR, started opening up casinos. This included the likes of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, and Ukraine.
As expected, many other parts of Eastern Europe soon opened their doors to casino gambling and had a blast with it. Some of the first casinos were:
- Casino Budapest, Hungary
- Grand Casino, Czech Republic
- Olympic Casino, Estonia
- Casino Poland, Poland
- Princess Casino, Bulgaria
By the early 2000s and late 1990s, there were casinos in almost all parts of Eastern Europe.
The Change in Eastern Europe Casino Industry
In the present day, Eastern Europe’s gaming legacy continues to thrive. Countries such as Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Czech Republic boast vibrant casino scenes, featuring world-class resorts and entertainment complexes. The region also hosts major poker tournaments and international gambling events, attracting players and enthusiasts from around the globe.
Russia and Ukraine, Belarus had the highest number of casinos in the region, and the move by both the Russian and Ukrainian governments favored Belarus the most as it became the top gambling spot in Eastern Europe. Minsk, the capital city of Belarus, has about 30 casinos.
Bulgaria comes next on the list of Eastern European countries with the most casinos, as it has over 20. The casino industry in Bulgaria continued to boom. Similarly, countries like Hungary and Albania have also experienced a casino industry shrinkage over the years.
As we see, in some periods, gambling in Eastern Europe faced strict regulations or even outright bans due to moral concerns or political ideologies. However, gambling always found a way to persevere, adapting to changing circumstances and emerging once again when circumstances allowed.