History of Casinos

A casino is defined as an establishment which houses a range of gaming activities.  A casino will most often be located or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail stores, tourist attractions or cruise ships.  Casinos are also popular venues for live shows, comedy, concerts as well as sporting events.

The word casino comes from the Italian casa meaning house which meant a small country villa or a social club.  The term casino also used to refer to public building where pleasurable activities took place.  These buildings were often built on the premises of an Italian Villa or palazzo and civic functions were often hosted in these building such as sports, dancing as well as gambling. Examples of these casinos are the Villa Farnese and Giulia in Italy and the Newport Casino in Newport.

The Origins of Casinos

The use of the term in modern day Italian refers to a bordello meaning closed house, but the gambling house is spelt with an accent, casinò.  There were many casinos which were not actually used for gambling such as Catalina Casino in California which was built after gambling was made illegal in California.  The Copenhagen Casino was used as a theatre and in 1848 during the Revolution it was a popular place for public meetings and it was a well-known theatre up until 1937.  The Hanko Casino in Finland was never used as a gambling facility and is a well-known land mark in the country.  The Hanko Casino was used by the Russian nobility as a banquet hall and a spa resort and is currently used as a restaurant.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact beginnings of gambling and casinos, but it is thought that it goes back to almost every society throughout history.  It can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks, Romans, France and England.  The history books are filled with stories of these people taking part in gambling activities as a form of entertainment long before keno online casinos.

First Casino Establishments

The first gambling house in Europe was not called a casino, but was an establishment where gaming took place was the Ridotto in Venice and was established in 1638 by the Great Council of Venice in order to provide an official controlled gambling area during the carnival season.  The Ridotto was closed in 1774 as the government believed it was the reason why the local gentry were impoverished.

In America casinos were known as saloons and these establishments were influenced by the cities, New Orleans, St Louis, Chicago and San Francisco.  Many travellers would frequent these saloons where they could drink and socialise as well as take part in gambling.  Gambling was declared illegal in America during the early 20th century, but in 1931 gambling was made legal in Nevada.  It was in Nevada that America’s first legal casinos were established, and Atlantic City, New Jersey followed in 1976.  Atlantic City is considered Americas 2nd biggest gambling city after Las Vegas.

Casinos go back a long way and their history can be traced back for hundreds of years and was a pastime enjoyed by all societies.