The trend of urban exploration has become increasingly popular in the past few years with intrepid thrill seekers exploring abandoned structures in search of ghosts and ghouls. Abandoned Hospitals and old asylums are the Holy Grail for ghost hunters, but there’s another place that hosts spooky spiritual guests – casinos.
In this article explore an old abandoned casino, some of the most haunted gaming centres in Vegas and how the horror craze is taking the gambling industry by storm.
The Abandoned One – Casino Constanta, Romania
In 1880 the Casino Constanta was erected on Elisabeta Boulevard – overlooking the Black Sea – and was built upon twice more before it closed in 1990. During its heyday before the Second World War, it was considered as the Monte Carlo of Romania.
A regular haunt of some of Constanta and Romania’s most elite and powerful citizens, the casino was closed as it didn’t fit in with the principles of communism. Almost fittingly, it was then converted into a ‘House of Culture’ displaying state propaganda.
The government also erected a detached building to the casino that was used to house political prisoners. They were forced to work 12-14 hours every day for the duration of their stay at the Casino – it is their ghosts that are said to haunt the building to this day.
Following the fall of the communist government, there were attempts to restore the casino to its former glory, attempts which unfortunately failed. The site has barely been visited in the last 28 years, although brave explorers have managed to sneak in to witness the spooky goings on inside.
The tortured souls of political prisoners and ousted elitists are said to roam the debris-ridden halls of the Casino Constanta. If you want to check out just how creepy it is for yourself, take a look at the video below.
YOUTUBE LINK: www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-v7wV5AIbs
The Really Haunted One – Bally’s Resort and Casino, Las Vegas
One of the worst tragedies in Las Vegas’ history occurred on the 21st of November, 1980. As over a thousand guests were enjoying themselves in the newly built MGM Grand Hotel, a fire broke out in the deli.
Unfortunately for visitors and staff, the resort had not been fitted with fire sprinklers and several fire safety doors malfunctioned. The fire spread quickly and rose up the hotel tower trapping hundreds of guests, with many waiting in their rooms for firemen to reach them by ladder.
Disastrously, the fire brigade’s ladders couldn’t reach the windows above the ninth floor. Quick-thinking guests made their way to the hotel roof, where they were rescued by helicopter. Those who weren’t as quick-thinking remained in their rooms and the hotel corridors, where they unfortunately perished.
650 guests were injured with many of them needing to be hospitalized, and 87 people lost their lives. The resulting lawsuits cost MGM over $200 million and led them to sell the ill-fated establishment to Bally’s Resort and Casino.
5 years later Bally’s opened their casino and hotel, which almost immediately led to reports of ghoul-like behaviour. A number of guests reported a smell of acrid smoke filling the corridors and the hotel rooms.
In the main casino room, several guests and staff members claim to have seen a woman playing two slot-machines at once whilst her dress slowly caught fire. Upon further investigation, the woman would disappear amid agonising cries of pain.
Burning children roaming the corridors looking for their parents have also been spotted, however the casino has made no official comment on these apparitions. It is thought that Bally’s believe that admission of the ghostly presence in their resort would scare future punters away.
However, with the popularity of ghost tours operating in Las Vegas it seems that Bally are missing out on a potential money-making idea. Perhaps they’re afraid that the hauntings will increase if they further disturb the tortured souls believed to roam the resort.
Haunted Casinos in Media
In Film: Considering the amount of horror films on the market, it is surprising that there is a lack of quality when it comes to finding one set in a casino. Perhaps encouraged by the stories emanating from Bally’s Resort and Casino, writer Domonic Muir took advantage of the haunted casino craze and commissioned Charles Band to direct his horror film – Dead Man’s Hand: Casino of the Damned.
The 2007 motion picture followed Matthew Dragna, who after inheriting a rundown old casino, discovers that it is haunted by the violent ghost of Las Vegas mobster Roy “The Word” Donahue. If you’re worried we’re spoiling the plot for you, don’t! Dead Man’s Hand is considered a truly terrible film and Rotten Tomatoes agrees, giving the film a score of 19 out of 100.
Online gambling: Unfortunately – or fortunately depending on your viewpoint – online casinos and slot machines can’t be haunted like their land-based counterparts. However, that hasn’t stopped online gaming sites cashing in on the horror theme in gambling.
A particular hit has been Bloodsuckers, it’s easy to see why, it features some blood-chilling action. Based on vampires, it includes lots of horror imagery and is full of tension and intrigue. Due to the popularity of this game and the genre itself, there is an impressive range of online slots that strike fear into players, offering the perfect alternative for those that aren’t brave enough to visit an actual haunted casino.
In print: In 2012 Paul W. Papa released his book entitled ‘Haunted Las Vegas: Famous Phantoms, Creepy Casinos and Gambling Ghosts’. The title is a bit of a mouthful but the book is absolutely fantastic.
Papa explores all of the unexplained phenomenon is Sin City, as well as debunking some of the fake stories that are touted by cash-driven tour guides. If you dare to delve into the murky world of old-time Vegas, this book vividly brings its mysterious past to light.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you have to admit that there’s a certain human intrigue in spirits from the beyond. When the body fails, where does the conscience go to? Is there a higher meaning or are our spirits doomed to walk the face of the earth for all eternity?
If you are interested in horror and ghost hunting, then casinos are the ideal place to start your hunt. With many falling into disrepair and being left abandoned there are bound to be spooky happenings where you can connect with the spirit world. Or failing that, gamble with them!