Casino Marina is the newest casino in Colombo located at 30, Marine Drive, Colombo-3 (phone: 94-114-922-733). For those who already know of the older "Stardust Casino" on Galle Road, the newer one will be easy to locate because Casino Marina is located right behind Stardust. This back-to-back location appears to be no co-incidence because I saw a receptionist who was earlier working in Stardust, at the reception of Marina. My intelligent guess is that Marina belongs to the same management as Stardust. This casino group is different from the BBM Group which consists of the famous three casinos in Colombo - Ballys. Bellagio and MGM. Stardust was no match for the BBM Group's energetic casinos and was languishing at the fourth spot. I had visited Stardust once and was out of the place in less than half an hour. The manager of Stardust had stopped me outside the main door and suggested that I should not go into their ground floor but to the VIP hall on the upper floor. He escorted me to the upper floor where I found about 20 players in all some of whom were engaged in a loud argument over something. The atmosphere was not conducive but I still tried to play Blackjack for sometime. It was boring. I went down and forced my way in to the ground floor. The atmoshere was more of an illegal gambling hall. That was the end of Stardust for me. But Marina sounded different when a cab driver spoke about this "New" casino in Colombo. Here's what I found at the Marina Colombo (Read below...):
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|Marina Colombo Casino|
Marina Colombo is big and shiny, somewhat like Ballys. All the popular table games like Roulette, Blackjack, Three Card Poker, etc. are there alright. They issue membership cards to new players upon request. When I went there, the place was nearly full (it was a weekend), free drinks & snacks were being served on the table, and free buffet dinner on offer in a corner restaurant. So was it a complete break from the Stardust culture? Not quite. For starters, the drinks and snack service sucked. At the Blackjack table, I asked for a bottle of water. After 30 minutes I remined the waiter. Then asked another waiter. No water even after one hour. I tried ordering again. This time asked for coffee and a water bottle. The coffee came but no water. Another reminder. By the time someone brought water, the coffee was cold. I asked the waiter to replace my already cold coffee. I couldn't believe it when he said that "it was not his fault that the coffee had gone cold". Marina did not look shiny anymore. It was just a bigger Stardust.
Blackjack rules were not player-friendly either. BBM Casinos claim to offer the "Highest Winning Percentages in the World". Perhaps Stardust Group wants to do the opposite. BBM casinos allow "Surrender" in Blackjack. Marina Colombo has not even heard of the "Surrender" rule. This one ommission alone increases the odds against the player. I left the table after losing some money and headed to the dinner buffet. Some food was still left on the stands. There were empty water glasses on my table and there was restaurant staff around. I waited to see if someone came to fill my water glass. No one came. I finally called someone and asked for water. He obliged. I quickly ate whatever vegetarian food I found there of my liking and went out. It was the end of Marina Colombo for me. Fortunately, at the front desk they agreed to give me a free drop to Bellagio. Their cab driver aksed me why I was leaving so early. After hearing my reason, he expressed genuine concern which I liked. At least someone in Stardust Group knew something about customer service. Surely for as long as Marina Colombo can be called a "New" casino, they will attract players. Thereafter, I can't say.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|