Housed within the timeless Kurhaus in Baden-Baden (Germany), Casino Baden-Baden is a historically rich establishment that is almost a hundred and fifty years old. It showcases the architectural genius of German city planner Friedrich Weinbrenner.
A Long Journey
The journey began in the medieval times; the setting was an obscure town next to the Black Forest known simply as Baden. There was nothing spectacular about the town except for its spas that were visited by a few people every now and then.
Little by little, the number of visitors grew and by the 19th Century the who’s who of Europe had discovered Baden and they were flocking into the town in large numbers. These visitors had time and they had money so it was only natural that one of their favorite pastimes was gambling.
It was against this back-drop that Baden’s rural ballroom became the Kurhaus; and within the Kurhaus laid Casino Baden-Baden. The casino hotel that was built between 1821 and 1823 looked like a palace and had entertainment to suit royalty. Here revelers could gamble and dance thus the number of people that came through its 8 Corinthian columns grew steadily.
As if things couldn’t get any better, in 1838 Louis Philippe (King of France) outlawed gambling in France. The casino owners had to find alternative businesses and one in particular saw potential in the neighboring country: Germany. His name was Jacques Bénazet and he set up shop at Casino Baden-Baden which was generously fed on French, Russian and even British gold. Both the town and the casino flourished.
Then suddenly the tide turned: the Franco-German War brought hostilities between the once friendly neighbors and there was no more French gold. To make matters worse, Chancellor Bismarck wasn’t entertaining gambling within his boarders. And so Casino Baden-Baden had no option but to close for 61 years.
In 1933, dice began to roll again at the ancient casino but the celebration was short-lived because by 1944 its doors were once again bolted shut. Eventually, the local government of Baden-Württemberg had the insight to have the casino ran by the Baden-Württembergische Spielbanken GmbH & Co. KG instead of private shareholders. This has seen the casino remain open since 1950.
Although Casino Baden-Baden has had its fair share of struggles it has found its way into the hearts of many. One of these people is author Fyodor Dostoyevsky whose book The Gambler was inspired by the casino.
Today, Casino Baden-Baden is a preferred tourist destination for many who are impressed by its timeless splendor that has stood the test of time. It has also not lost its party mood and on New Year’s Eve it comes alive with the sound of celebration.
Moreover, gaming is still going on in the casino and one can find 140 slot machines just waiting to churn out some coins. Furthermore, Roulette, Poker and Blackjack have found a permanent home here and you can sit at a table and play like the nobles did.