MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Each year, events are held all over the Jacksonville area, but one has stuck out to Marines as a real treat for them and family members alike.
On Oct. 1, the third annual Casino Royale will be hosted by the 2nd Marine Division aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Hope Fiorvanti, protocol officer for 2nd Marine Division, describes it as the must attend event of the year.
“For the past couple of years, I think everyone has been blown away by it,” said Fiorvanti. “They come in expecting kind of a simple-casino themed evening, but what they get is so far beyond that.”
Casino Royale is an event that boasts some impressive things. A company is brought in each year that has professional dealers and games like blackjack, craps and poker. If a guest is unable to play, the dealers will teach them on the spot.
“I walked in and last year and I was so surprised,” said Marcela Miller, wife of Brig. Gen. W. Lee Miller, acting commanding general of 2nd Marine Division. “I was impressed with how nice everything looked.”
As well as gambling, door prizes will also be awarded to lucky participants, and at the end of the night, the person who has won the most money will walk away with the grand prize. Last year the grand prize consisted of a weekend in South Carolina learning how to race a BMW.
For the low cost of $25, each player will be given $10,000 in fake chips, which they can then wager in a variety of games.
“They give you ten thousand dollars and it’s obviously not real,” said Capt. Luis A. Vega, information technology officer, 2nd Marine Division. “You can just go crazy like you wouldn’t normally if it were real money. My wife and I had a great time learning blackjack from the dealers. It was great!”
Even though the focus of the evening is on the Las Vegas experience, the event provides something for everyone.
“We’re going to have wine and beer tasting as well as a cigar booth,” said Fiorvanti. “And for the food, we went all out. Roasted chicken, crab dip with flat bread and marinated mushrooms will be available as well as many other delicious foods.”
In line with the rest of an evening all about the experience, men and women will be dressed in their best, touting ball gowns, tuxedos and other formal wear.
“Everyone looked great last year and I’m sure they will this year,” said Fiorvanti. “This is an event where you really feel like you’re at a casino and you can have that experience.”
All officers are invited to attend as well as E-8 and E-9 service members and their civilian equivalents and their guests. Those who want to participate are encouraged to buy tickets early, as over 650 people bought tickets last year. With the location being changed to the newly renovated Marston Pavilion this year, the turnout may be even higher.
“If you can only attend one event this year,” said Fiorvanti, “make it Casino Royale.”
For more information, see the event flyer here.