History of Casinos. The Whole Story


Gambling has come a long way. It is hardly a recent activity and dates back centuries, with each development defining the industry it is today. Whether it’s pokie machines, blackjack, roulette, poker games and everything in between, the gambling industry is one of the most lucrative in the world. Let’s look at some of the key events throughout history that has shaped the gambling industry and casinos to what it is today.

The First Casino is Launched

The first form of gambling was recorded in 2300 B.C in China, while Egyptian dice was also found that dates back to 1500 B.C. Figuring out the exact date is impossible, but it was during this period that it is understood that the first casino came to be.

The first actual casino building was established in Venice in 1638, although there were plenty of gambling halls and saloons doing its rounds. Casino di Venezia was opened by the local council in a bid to encourage organised and responsible gambling. The casino is still open to this day.

The gambling industry was booming by the 18th century and the term ‘casino’ was finally coined. The industry was especially popular in Europe, with extravagant casinos built in Germany and Monte Carlo. Across the pond, casinos were not as glamourous as gambling only really took place in seedy bars and old saloons.

The Rise of Las Vegas

You simply cannot discuss casinos without mentioning Las Vegas. This gambling mecca attracts millions of visitors each year just to experience a piece of the thrill and glamour. This desert region became a gambling hotspot way in 1905 when railroad workers spent their free time gambling and drinking while working on the tracks that was to connect Vegas with the Pacific coastline. It wasn’t long before this behaviour caught on and the state became rife with illegal gambling and debauchery.

Gambling was actually outlawed in Nevada until 1931, but this didn’t stop avid gamblers and illicit casinos and gambling dens began popping up illegally. By the time gambling was legalised in the state, Vegas already had a for its underground gambling scene and organised crime. In 1941, the first casino resort was built in Las Vegas, called the El Rancho Vegas. The Vegas Strip’s first casino features just two blackjack tables, one roulette wheel, one craps table and about 70 slot machines. In 1966, Howard Hughes started buying out the biggest names on the strip with the hope to reinvent Las Vegas to become the leading gambling destination in the world.

Casinos Continue to Grow

The first mega-resort casino was opened in 1989 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino. The casino resorts of today as grand designs taking inspiration from the canals of Venice and ancient Rome. In fact, these casino resorts attract around 40 million gamers a year.

Casino Games

Of course, the rise of casinos should be credited to the popularity and entertainment factor of casino games. Like casinos, these games all have a rich and interesting history whose origin cannot really be pinned down to one exact moment. Blackjack is believed to have originated in France in the 1700s where a game called Vingt-et-Un, translated to 21, was played. That said, some historians contribute the origin of the game to Spain where the game One and Thirty is said to actually been the inspiration behind Vingt-et-un.

Roulette Takes the Wheel

The roulette wheel was originally designed to be a perpetual motion machine by mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal. While the invention was a failure, it resulted in the birth of the roulette wheel, which has become synonymous with gambling and casinos.

Online Casinos Cause a Stir

While traditional land-based casinos became a hotspot for sophisticated gamblers and underground gambling dens were frequented by less prestigious gamers, there became a need for players wanting a casual experience without having to venture too far from their comfort zone. Real money online casinos, therefore, became all the rage, starting in the late 90s with the launch of the internet. Back in the 90s, not many people had access to the internet, while software and banking wasn’t as sophisticated as it is today. This meant that online casinos were still reserved for a limited number of people.

Once the internet became more accessible, online gambling really took off, and is today one of the most lucrative industries. With brand new online casinos being launched almost monthly, players from all over the world have the chance to indulge in the thrill and rewards of playing casino games without having to leave home. Thanks to modern technology, anyone can access their favourite casino and the pastime is no longer reserved for the rich. Everyone can get a piece of the action, whether you are a novice player or an experience gamer.

Last Updated: December 30, 2022