Casinos in Bulgaria are about as frequent as Starbucks in Seattle. Essentially every 7 feet. I always treated these oases of gambling with a healthy buffer zone, because, there is nothing as sad as a broke Peace Corps volunteer who ALSO happens to be in debt thanks to nickel slots. But, the allure of neon and roulette was just too strong to pass up (that, and there was a casino attached to the hotel I was staying at). I figure I'll walk in, play 5 lev, and be on my way. Noooppee. To even go into the casino, I had to have my ID card scanned, a picture taken, and all cameras put in storage. Needless to say, I'm not psyched at this point. About 10 minutes later, when I had gone through black jack customs, I entered....what can only be compared to an adult chuckie cheese. There was no glitz of the deliberately tacky Vegas, but more like a designer saying "Ah, close enough". Slot machines and more slot machines. They even had electric roulette, which seems to take some of the fun away in my opinion. I head over to the change booth, to get some chips, or what I assume will be chips. NOOOPPEE. For my 20 lev, my two friends and I received a bucket of 10 statinki coins. So we were sitting there with 200 coins, which looked identical to game tokens at an arcade. I did hit it big, 50! on a slot machine,...which took my brain a few seconds to calculate as 5 lev. One saving grace of the whole equation: all drinks are free. You have to fight to even give the waitresses a tip.
In summary, I came out 5 lev poorer, but with my dignity in tact. Las Vegas is going to be ok for the time being.
(You don't see it coming, but there is a giant casino inside)
Happy St. George's Day