Swedish casino gambles on weddings

In a country with one of the highest divorce rates in the world, marriage is always going to be something of a gamble.

But casino weddings are no longer the stuff of Las Vegas dreams as Sweden’s state-run Casino Cosmopol opens its doors to wedding ceremonies and receptions.

Casino employees Rafiq and Ellinor were called into action this week to stage a dry-run before the first real customers try their luck at marital bliss.

Were she not a casino worker on the state pay roll, Ellinor could possibly imagine herself as Pamela Anderson or Britney Spears, both of whom tied the knot in Las Vegas.

Having made their way to the altar with Elvis blaring from the loudspeakers amid the blinking lights of so many gaming machines, both admitted they were no cool croupiers.

“When we were standing there it felt like it was real. I was a bit nervous,” said Ellinor.

“I was actually shaking quite a bit,” said Rafiq.

The Stockholm casino is the first in the country to offer a wedding service. The management has said it is ready to cater for everything from small private services to the most lavish of bashes.

“Weddings have become very personal affairs in recent years. We are aiming for a very particular target group but I think it will really suit some of our visitors,” said manager Bård Ljöstad.

While the casino has clearly derived inspiration from Las Vegas, there are as yet no plans for drive thru weddings.

“Obviously a lot of people have associations with casinos, fast weddings and Elvis but our aim is for this to be a personal and unique experience,” said Ljöstad.

Wedding hastily arranged after a night on the snaps are however out of the question. Spouses-to-be will be required to bring along a certificate showing that there are no legal impediments to marriage.