Sunday, 11th December, 2016

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What Is The Biggest Casino in The Aland Islands?

The Aland Islands are a small group of islands off of the west coast of Finland and the east coast of Sweden that are an autonomous region of Finland. The Aland Islands are comprised of around landmasses, with the majority of the islands’ 29,000 population based on Fasta Island. Because the islands are autonomous, a lot of legislation is run directly by the island’s own government as opposed to the Finnish government. The Aland Islands were, centuries ago, part of the country of Sweden, but were later ceded to Russian forces along with the land that became Finland. Due to this history with Sweden, the majority of the population of the Aland Islands speak Swedish, and there were claims that over 90% of the islands identify with Sweden over Finland in their attempts to cede from Finland at the turn of the 20th century.

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However, in more modern times, the Aland Islands have become intrinsically more Finnish, and with the autonomy that the Finnish government has given the islands there seems to be relative peace and contentment in the region.

Mariehamn is the biggest city and also the capital city of the Aland Islands and can be found in the south-west of Fasta Island. It has a population of just over 11,000, making it the most populated area in the Aland Islands. As well as having the largest population, Mariehamn also has the largest casino on the Aland Islands – PAF Casino Mariehamn, on Strandgatan 35, overlooking Slemmern Bay near the south of the city. The casino opened in June 2010 and is actually in the same building as the Hotel Arkipelag.

As you can tell from the name, PAF owns and operates the PAF Casino Mariehamn. PAF is a Finnish company which has a monopoly over gambling in the Aland Islands, as well as running an online operation. Like the casinos in mainland Finland, the PAF Casino Mariehamn is run as a not for profit to generate funds for humanitarian and social projects on the islands. PAF was founded in 1966 as an amalgamation of several charitable organizations which provided gambling and gaming machines.

PAF Casino Mariehamn from open from 10am until 2am between Sunday and Thursday, while its opening times extend on Fridays and Saturdays, between 10am and 3am. There are currently 65 slot machines available to play at PAF Casino Mariehamn and eight of them have a unique ‘play among friends’ feature with a mystery jackpot on offer to the winner. There is also a choice of three table games at PAF Casino Mariehamn – blackjack, roulette and Oasis Poker. The roulette wheel at PAF Casino Mariehamn is a European roulette wheel, giving the casino just a slight edge compared to all the casinos around the world using an American roulette wheel.

The poker room at PAF Casino Mariehamn is open on Wednesday and Saturdays and offers not only Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha, but Crazy Pineapple as one of the standard games, which is a rare thing to see. Wednesday nights are currently the night for tournaments, while Saturday nights are geared around the cash games, although the occasional tournament is played on a Saturday night, which usually features a deep stack. Due to the small size of the poker room, there tends to be a limit of 20 for each tournament.

The great thing that PAF Casino Mariehamn offers is a casino school. It can be booked for groups between 10 and 30 people. Over the 2 hours of lessons, the casino will teach you how to play Oasis Poker, roulette and also blackjack to remove any intimidation you might feel if it is your first visit to a casino.

Because the casino is relatively small, you might not spend an entire night in PAF Casino Mariehamn. However, that is not a problem, because not only is Hotel Arkipelag home to a casino, but it is also home to Arken Nightclub, which is open between 10pm and 4am. So if you get bored of playing blackjack or Oasis Poker, or you bust out early from the Saturday night deep stack poker tournament, you can finish your night at the Arken Nightclub and dance the rest of the night away.

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