If you are into wagering and love the many games that you can play at casinos, then you would probably love knowing more about these places that you go to. While some people believe that casinos are nothing more than places where you can gamble, there are some who actually know that these places have their spots in history. In fact, casinos and wagering have actually been around for a lot longer than you believe.
Most people think that casinos and gambling began when the first casino in Vegas welcomed their guests in 1931. In fact, casinos and gambling existed way before that but in the Far East. Casinos and gambling actually began during the Tang Dynasty, which was sometime in 617 to 908 AD. These “casinos” were basically designated gambling areas that had heavy security and were places where rich and powerful people could wager safely to their heart’s content.
Aside from these facts about the history of casinos, here are a few more interesting tidbits about casinos, their origins, and other things associated with it.
Casinos are home to lots of different games you can wager on. While these all converge in one area for you to choose from, these have very different places of origin. These were also established during different eras. Here is a brief history on some of the popular casino games people love:
BlackJack – It has been said that this game traces its origins all the way back to the 1700s in France. Today’s game is said to be derived from vingt-et-un, which is literally 21 in French. There are some however who argue that the game actually stems from a Spanish game called One and Thirty. It is, as the name implies, a game where you try to get to 31, as opposed to 21. This is a three-card version of the game people are familiar with today.
These aren’t the only old games that are said to be the forebearers of blackjack. Some say that the game dates way back to Roman times and is a modern version of numerical blocks. The game in those days was played using wooden blocks that had numbers on them. The players would then bet on who had the highest number when their blocks were combined.
Roulette – Another origins story that finds a game born in France is the one that involves the roulette wheel. This game traces its beginnings to a non-gaming start, with the wheel for the game having been made for what was supposed to be a perpetual motion machine. While the original wheel was first made in 1665, the gaming wheel did not see light until late 1700s when this was used for gambling. It is said that this gaming wheel was first seen in the Palais Royale in the late 1790s.
Birth of American Casinos
The first casinos in the US weren’t constructed in Vegas. As history would have it, these were actually found on riverboats and in saloons during the 1800s. The place where these were mostly found was in New Orleans, but when these were outlawed, they were transferred to riverboats that ran up and down the Mississippi. This kept them out of reach of the local authorities. On these casinos, you can play a number of popular card games such as blackjack and poker.
These days, you can still find a few riverboat casinos in the US. You can ride these for a taste of nostalgia and to play the few casino games that they have on them. These include slot machines, craps, blackjack, baccarat, and roullete.
Casinos in Vegas weren’t built until the early 1930s and into the early 1940s when the first resort casinos were constructed. The city however was established in 1905 but was first tagged as an unlawful city with its drinking, prostitution, and rampant illegal gambling. After El Rancho Vegas was built in 1941, things changed and the city soon saw a boom in the industry.
The Mafia and American Casinos
A lot of people credit the Mafia for the current success of Vegas and the Strip. It has been said that in 1946, Bugsy Siegel opened the iconic Flamingo in Vegas. The design of the casino and resort is said to mirror the glamour and sophistication of Hollywood. With money from Meyer Lansky, another mobster, they were able to build a resort casino that was more impressive than El Rancho.
Pretty soon, more resort casinos reputedly owned and operated by mafiosos were built in Vegas. These include casino resorts like Sands, Sahara, and New Frontier. Aside from games and resort facilities, the casinos also brought in popular acts to attract more customers. The big names that came to these hotel casinos include Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and many more.
The Railroad and Monte Carlo
Did you know that the creation of the railroad heading to Monaco and Monte Carlo actually helped make it the gambling capital of Europe? Monaco in the 1850s was in dire financial straits. The solution that the monarchy saw to help them out of such a problem was to build a casino. Unfortunately, after the casino was built, people did not know about it and couldn’t get to it because there were no roads to Monaco then and there was no publicity released on this new casino.
Fast forward to 1863 and the Princess of Monaco was able to convince French businessman Francois Blanc to run their casino. This led to the relocation of the casino to Monte Carlo, the construction of the railroad to Monaco, and the building of roads to Monte Carlo itself. Since then, it has become the go-to location for the rich and powerful in Europe when they want to do some gambling.
These are just a few of the interesting facts and tidbits about the history of casinos around the world. Other interesting facts that you might find intriguing when it comes to casinos include the fact that modern casinos these days are actually mirrors of the gambling dens of Venice Italy. Some of the games that were played there are actually said to be the original versions of some of the casino games people play these days. These include roulette, which is said to trace its roots to biribi, and other old games that people enjoyed then.