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Casino du Liban

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A Night at the Casino

Published by Michael Dib — 3 years ago

Getting started

Today we’ll be talking about one of the most entertaining places you can go to in Lebanon if you’re into fast paced environments. The Casino du Liban. Your average bloke has been to a casino once or twice in their life. However, more likely than not they have never seen anything like this. It's also pretty interesting to see that many will be shocked to hear that there are Casinos in the Middle East. Lebanon does have one and it is absolutely grand. This casino had been built decades ago back in 1959. Coincidently it was built 59 years ago.  The Casino can be found in Maameltein. This is located north of Beirut. it's a very pretty location found right next to the sea. This would allow for some of the most spectacular views around.



If you combine the scenic combination of the sea along with the Casino at night, then you have something out of a James Bond movie. A luxurious area of lights, glamour and beauty. I will give a description of the inside of the place in a story. This story included a huge event which a mate of mine had been invited to and subsequently invited me to attend as well. So, let's start from the beginning. In March there is an Italian celebration of unification. For when Garibaldi united the three divided parts of Italy from the South, the central Papal state and foreigners in the north. To celebrate this the Italian embassy was hosting a massive event in the Casino du Liban filled with performances of all sorts. I only found out about this thanks to one of my closest mates.

He lives in the Polish embassy, so his parents were invited along with other Polish employees there. It was a massive embassy event where all were invited to join and partake in the good times. My mates and I suited up and we were driven over to the Casino in embassy cars. It was honestly a magical experience. Something one could easily get used to. Anyway, one thing that's worth noting is that even in March, which is the very beginning of Spring it is piping hot in Lebanon. The humidity of the country is mind numbingly hot. It was crazy annoying to deal with. Especially in suits. So, we put the air-conditioning on the very max and kept the windows tightly shut. As one could guess Lebanon is a pretty small country. It holds a population of about 4.5 million individuals (not counting the 1.5 million refugees that arrived since 2015).



This would mean that the distances from one place to the other are crazy short. You could travel from one end of the country to the other faster than travelling from Adelaide to the nearest major city of Melbourne (which is about eight to nine hours of driving). So, it took us a pretty short amount of time to travel from Baabda (where many of the embassies in Lebanon could be found). The thing you do have to keep an eye out for is congestion. The roads in Lebanon are usually filled with traffic on most parts of the work day. It's an annoyance and one that you should always keep in mind if you plan to get from A to B. Some areas are just not worth visiting due to the amount of time you would be spending in traffic. Sometimes walking is the better option. Although, not that much better as it is quite humid in the country. So, walking about would not be the most comfortable experience you could have. Regardless, lets return back to the story.

Getting there

We took the embassy cars until we ended up right at our destination. The ride there was absolutely beautiful. Most of the path there took us right by the sea. So, we were able to witness the majestic sunset by the sea as we drove on northwards. It's pretty beautiful and we snapped quite a few photos. As we got closer into the embassy we managed to spot more expensive looking cars. Some of them were definitely filled with embassy personal. There were even some armored cars that were heading to the Casino. Apparently, there were even generals and military personal of high status going to this very event. I was pretty excited. After we finally made it to the Casino. As we got out of the car an usher parked our car for us. We met the rest of the invited Polish embassy employees and made our way inside. Along the way I met one of the family friends of my mates who was a pretty interesting bloke. If you ever need to know anything about general knowledge, then this guy is the one to come.

We were talking together, and I mentioned that I had never been to this casino before. That's when the floodgates of information opened up. He explained to me how this majestic casino had over four hundred slot machines and over 60 different gaming tables. So, there was always plenty of space for many tourists and locals to enjoy a game or two here. It was crazy to imagine how full this place would be if all those different gaming platforms were filled. These are some details that I also found interesting. Apparently during the Lebanese civil war of 1989, the Casino was understandably closed. Since then it had fallen into disrepair until it was refurbished by some very wealthy individuals and groups based in Lebanon and London. This guy was absolutely incredible. He knew so much about the place. Perhaps he simply learned it all on the fly. Or right before the event just out of interest. I could see why he was hired to work in the position that he was in. Another fact I recall him telling me is that it cost about fifty million dollars to refurbish and rebuild the Casino.

Regardless, we were led inside. I managed to catch a glimpse of a plethora of slot machines at the ready for patrons to use. At the time the place had been empty of customers. Probably for security purposes. We were led inside until we were in the main entertainment centre. It was a massive theatre. It was empty by the time we got there and was slowly being filled. People were chit chatting and socialising. Probably creating connections and all the sort. I was told how there are cabaret shows and all sorts of different performances. We took our seats and within thirty minutes the show was on. The theatre was almost completely full, and I was looking forward to it. Within Lebanon, theatre shows are not as grand and as widespread as in different parts of the world. This rings especially true compared to Europe (France in particular) when it comes to these shows.

The first performers came on stage. They were Italians acting out a scene. One that involved singing and some short dances but mostly centered around dramatic poses and expressions. It was pretty easy to understand the theme of it all even though the whole thing was conducted in Italian. We then began with a violin duet and a piano performance as well. There were speeches about uniting the world in peace and many more performances. It was an amazing experience although I won’t get into too much detail as we still need to explore the rest of the Casino. So, if you are keen to see performances in Lebanon in a spectacular place then I would recommend that you look into the Casino du Liban theatre performances. I had a very enjoyable time watching it all. My mates and I decided to do a bit of exploring with our general knowledge mate. We went to the showroom where they were apparently performing for a performance. I was not sure for what exactly although there was a band setting up at the time. It wasn’t being set up in a way that would place them in the limelight. They were probably a supporting band for whatever was in store later on in the night.



The rest of the Casino

The next thing we did was head on over to the main area of the casino. It was absolutely grand standing in the thick of it all right before it all began to get underway. It was so huge. I looked up the size of the casino and it's over 25 square kilometers! The rooms themselves were very elegant and well furnished with very intricate carpet designs. It surely wasn’t some cheap knock off. From here we could spot one of the restaurants they had on display with many traditional Lebanese foods and also burgers and pizzas. I was told that there were over five different restaurants in the Casino. Five! I'm sure that each restaurant caters for a different wealth bracket. So, the one we saw would have been for the average joe who would go to the casino for a bit and have a relatively affordable meal. However, there were probably some absolutely high tier fine dining restaurants in the Casino.



It would be hard to imagine if this were not the case. The Lebanese have adopted quite a bit of the ‘French way’ of doing things. So, they also took a lot of the fine dining which made the French eating experience truly French. Unfortunately, as a student I would not be able to afford such a thing until way longer into the future. Anyway, we also managed to find a room that was apparently the nightclub and then the banquet facility. I was not surprised at all that they had a nightclub. The casino was certainly full of all manners of surprises. It was probably important to provide the customers everything a casino should have.

However, this casino isn’t like many of the ones you find in Las Vegas in the sense that you have to dress in a certain way. You could not walk around in shorts and flip flops. After our exploration of it all we decided to call it an end. It had been a couple of hours in this majestic building of decadence. I don’t reckon I agree with what casinos stand for, but it is what it is. One thing that is certainly worth noting is that the Casino is placed in a pretty entertaining area. Just a few minutes’ drive away you will be able to hit the nearest entertainment district. This district is filled with many different bars and restaurants to enjoy. At this point things were going all out. It was a Saturday night, so it was one of the busiest days of the week. It's worth mentioning that even at night it was absolutely steaming. The humidity and spring heat really caused things to get uncomfortable. Keep that in mind if you want to travel to somewhere else after the Casino. I would bring a second pair of clothes. A shirt and shorts preferably. Nobody really wears long sleeve button down shirts unless they want to swear a waterfall from each armpit.

This concludes the Casino du Liban experience. Hopefully this will entice you to visit Lebanon and visit the Casino. Not for gambling but for entertainment, the area it's in and the beauty of the whole place. So, if you’re on exchange nearby or within Lebanon then make your way over here. I would advise that you do not engage in gambling although in the end of the day its up to you. There are plenty of things to enjoy about the Casino that does not involve gambling and even the surrounding area. So be adventurous and see what there is to offer. Also to add there are plenty of english speakers in Lebanon. So you shouldn't have a hard time getting around. Happy adventuring and stay safe!

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