The gaming world is a multibillion-dollar industry that has been pumping out popular games for centuries. Whether through slot machines, card games or any other form of casino gambling, the casino industry has changed and continues to change the world today.
Join us as we explore the origin of the first casino and how it led to the proliferation of both online and brick-and-mortar casinos.
THE BIRTH OF GAMBLING – HOW DID IT START?
Most historians agree that gambling evolved alongside human civilisation in nearly every corner of the world. Archaeological evidence points to a diverse range of games, indicated by unearthed dice prototypes and other rudimentary games of chance that date back thousands of years. More on that later, but first, let’s explore the history of casino and gambling in every major continent.
BEGINNINGS OF GAMBLING
The first casinos started popping up at different times throughout human history. Here’s when gambling games originated in Continental Europe and in the United States of America.
GAMBLING IN EUROPE
The first casino in Europe — Casino di Venezia — was not so much a gambling house as it was a private wing in Venice’s Palazzo Dandolo. Established in 1638, the private parlour provided a controlled gambling environment for crapshooters and card players while they were entertained by music and drinks.
As gambling stormed through the 19th century, casino interiors were becoming more and more extravagant. Despite the public’s zealousness for casinos, many were forced to close due to amendments in the gambling legislation. The Monte Carlo casino was the only one left unaffected.
GAMBLING IN USA
Although gambling was already deeply rooted in European history, games like roulette reached American soil in the late 19th century with the arrival of early settlers from France.
While the legislation surrounding gambling and casinos shifted at a rather slow pace, the restrictions and prohibitions didn’t slow down the evolution of gambling games in the slightest. Games like roulette, poker, blackjack and baccarat became a staple at every casino in the States, and slots quickly became one of the most played casino games around.
ONE-ARMED BANDIT – THE FIRST GAMING MACHINES
The very first gambling machine in the US was called the Liberty Bell machine— a very rudimentary slot game that was created in 1894 by Charles Fey.
This slot machine emulated the look and function of a vending machine since the symbols — lemons, cherries, plums and grapes — represented the different chewing gum flavours. Charles Fey constructed the machine to grant the player a spin of the reels by dropping coins in a small shute.
MOST IMPORTANT CASINO ACCESSORIES
In this section, we’ll have a look at the very foundation of the contemporary gambling industry, that is, dice, tokens, cards and gambling tables.
DICE FOR GAMING
Evidence suggests that the use of dice for gambling can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Dice are used in a wide range of games, including craps, sic bo, and various board games.
The first tokens used for gambling were likely objects of value, such as coins or gems that were used as currency in ancient civilizations. These tokens would be wagered on the outcome of various games of chance, such as dice or games of skill, such as archery contests.
Over time, specific tokens or chips were developed specifically for use in gambling, often made from clay, ivory, or metal.
The earliest evidence of playing cards appeared in 14th-century Europe. At the time, they were most likely imported from Egypt; considered to be quite luxurious goods, owing to the fact that they were hand-painted.
The first gambling tables were similar to modern casino tables, and were seen in Venice, Italy during the 16th century. These early tables featured games such as baccarat, blackjack, and roulette.
THE MOST FAMOUS CASINOS IN THE WORLD
Similar to gaming sites, gambling houses are incredibly popular worldwide. With that said, some casinos are known for being the most glamorous ones in the world. Find the most famous casinos below:
- The Venetian Macao, China
- Bellagio, Las Vegas, USA
- Casino de Monte-Caro, Monaco
- The Palazzo, Las Vegas
- Crown Melbourne, Australia
LAS VEGAS – THE GAMBLING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
It is no secret that Las Vegas, or more specifically, the Las Vegas Strip, is the pinnacle of glamour; it includes high-class hotels, casinos, as well as restaurants and clubs.
The city is also known for its 24/7 entertainment, world-class restaurants, and luxurious shopping opportunities. Through these, Las Vegas attracts millions of visitors each year who come to enjoy the bright lights, shows, and of course, gambling.
BEST CASINOS IN LAS VEGAS
Should you have booked a trip to Las Vegas and want some suggestions to visit a few casinos, here are the best ones:
- The Venetian
- The Wynn
- The Palazzo
- Aria Resort & Casino
THE MOST POPULAR CASINO GAMES
You don’t have to go to the largest casino in the world to find these popular card games.
In blackjack, the player must obtain a hand with a value as close to 21 as possible (without surpassing it) and have a greater total than the dealer.
The value of your cards depends on the cards you obtain. Each number card is taken at face value, jack, queen and king count as 10, and the ace counts as either one or 11, depending on your hand.
This table game works in a similar way to blackjack, in the sense that both games aim for the best possible value of card combinations. In baccarat, you must try and predict which hand will obtain a value closest to nine by placing a wager on the Player hand, the Banker hand or a Tie bet.
Roulette is a game that can be found in all the gambling houses in the world, owing to its timeless popularity. In this game, the player must predict where the ball will land on the roulette wheel. With a wide selection of bets, players can pick and choose groups of bets, including Red or Black or Odd or Even.
Many internet users talk about poker, probably due to its widespread popularity around the gambling world. Poker is a card game in which the players’ hands are ranked based on the cards they have. Coupled with four betting rounds is a dealer adding community cards (cards laid out on the table for everyone’s use). The goal is to have the best five-card poker hand in the game — this goes for Texas hold’em, the most popular poker variant out there.
THE BEGINNING OF THE ONLINE GAMBLING
Did you know that the meaning of ‘casino’ is traced to the Italian word ‘casa, which means house?
Online casino operators weren’t a thing until the mid-1990s. In fact, the first online casino was founded in 1994 and was called InterCasino. A burst of online casinos followed suit, all in an attempt to tap into what was considered to be an untapped market.
SLOT GAME DEVELOPERS IN CASINO ONLINE
The first developer of online video slots is said to be Microgaming in 1996. This was possible following the 1994 Free Trade and Processing Act in Antigua and Barbuda, and other online gambling websites shortly followed.
YOUR CASINO IN THE MOBILE APP
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BEST LIVE CASINO GAMES
The first live dealer casinos appeared shortly after the boom of online casinos, mostly owing to the fact that live games became extremely popular the moment they were created.
Live games feature a live, human dealer who conducts play in a real game studio, accompanied by several high-definition cameras to capture each and every moment of the game.
Here are the five best live casino games ever created:
- Crazy Time (Evolution)
- Live Monopoly (Evolution)
- Live Poker/Baccarat/Blackjack/Roulette/Craps
- Cash or Crash Live (Evolution)
- Lightning Roulette (Evolution)
CONCLUSION – THE FUTURE OF LAND-BASED AND ONLINE CASINOS
From Ancient Rome and Ancient China to contemporary Las Vegas; it is safe to say that casinos have come a long way. Through them, people can play a video slot inside a virtual Egyptian tomb and they can play whichever card game they like.
Suffice to say that the early Roman soldiers would be quite proud of the modern-day casino. What’s in store for the next generation of casino players is still to be determined, but it makes for an enjoyable ride nonetheless.
✅ Can anyone use an online casino?
Although most casinos will ask for verification when it comes to withdrawing funds, yes, anyone can play at online casinos. It is important to verify whether the casino in question is available in your country or not.
✅ Is playing at an online casino safe?
Not all casinos are safe. Keep an eye out for official licences before playing at a particular casino.
✅ Can you get online casino bonuses for free?
Some casinos do offer free bonuses (No Deposit Bonus), but they might be somewhat rare. Check out the LV BET Promotions page to keep abreast of any of our bonuses.