The Evolution of Casinos

Gambling is often thought of as one of the oldest activities in the world. It is true that there is evidence of games of chance being played in Ancient Greece and Rome, and there is actually an account of gambling in China dating all the way back to 2300BC! Games of chance have also been played for thousands of years by the Native Americans. So it truly is an ancient pastime.

Italy: The First Casinos

Gambling continued in private homes over the years, popular in Elizabethan England and France. In France, the roots go back to the emperor Napoleon, who had an interest in vingt-et-un, known today as Blackjack. The English developed a game called Hazard, the predecessor of Craps. However, the first official casino was only opened in 1638. This was in Venice, Italy, and was called the Ridotto. Now you know why the word ‘casino’ sounds so Italian!

It refers to a building specifically built for pleasure. Initially, these were mostly used for civic town functions like music and dancing, but over time the term began to be used for gambling houses. Like many modern casinos, the RIdotto was highly luxurious. It was closed down by the Venice city government in 1774, but was later reopened and is still operational today as the Casino di Venezia!

The USA: Saloons

In the USA, the first casinos were a lot less grand than their European counterparts. Saloons that offered gambling were America’s first casinos, the very first one being Brown’s casino, opened on the border of Colorado and Wyoming in 1822. In sharp contrast to the luxury of the Ridotto, it was frequented by miners tired after a long day’s work. Because of the casino’s popularity, many more began to appear in mining towns.

The saloons began to grow and appear in commercial areas, many becoming more upscale establishments. Large cities like Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco and St. Louis became hubs for these casino saloons. Upscale casinos began to offer meals and hotel rooms as well as live entertainment. The modern casino was born, and although at that stage players couldn't even conceive of online casinos like Gaming Club NZ, these new casinos felt thoroughly cutting edge!

20th Century: Fall And Rise

In the early 20th century, gambling was outlawed in the United States. In 1931, it was legalized in Nevada and Las Vegas. It’s no wonder Vegas is the casino capital of the USA today: it has a long history. Over time, gambling became legalized in more and more states and it became more and more popular. Casinos started looking more and more like the elaborate casino resorts we know today.

The Present And Future

Today, casinos are booming all over the world, and are more exciting and entertaining places than ever before. However, this era is really characterized by the advent of online casinos, which has made gambling so much more convenient. The future? Well, mobile casinos are on the rise. However, brick and mortar casinos show no sign of disappearing. Physical and online casinos clearly both have their roles to play.

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