Gambling is perhaps an activity that is as old as man himself. Historical research has shown that gambling in ancient China from 2300 BC. The ancient Greeks and Romans also had a few games of chance, but real casinos as we know them today did not come much later.

The word “Casino”

The word “casino” is Italian in origin. The Italian word “casa” simply means “house” and the diminutive “casino” was specifically used to refer to a small villa or a country retreat. The meaning of the word evolved over the years and later it meant something like “a small house for play and fun on the estate of a large villa”. In the casinos of that time theater plays and dance performances were performed, but there was also gambling regularly. Casinos were also often associated with prostitution at that time.

In the nineteenth century, the use of the term “casino” changed again. From then on it was about public spaces in which various entertaining activities (including gambling) were carried out.

The First Casino

The first real casino that was worthy of the name was the Ridotto in Venice. This gambling house (the term “casino” was not used yet) was founded in 1638 and was originally part of the San Moise church. The Ridotto was the first public location in which gambling was offered in an organized way. In principle everyone was allowed to play at the Ridotto, but due to the strict dress code and the high stakes, only rich people could afford to spend an evening in this casino. The Ridotto offered various games of chance, including biribi and basetta. Biribi is a game that shows similarities with a modern lottery. Basetta is a game that will remind many modern gamblers of a real casino classic, Blacjack. In 1774 the Ridotto was closed because according to the leaders of the city it had a bad influence on the neighborhood and radiated decadence.

From Saloons to Las Vegas

In America, casinos underwent a unique evolution. Gambling was often practiced in large saloons. In large cities such as New Orleans, Chicago and San Francisco, gambling saloons became a permanent part of nightlife. What distinguished these saloons from the European forerunners of modern casinos was that they were also accessible to ordinary people. Saloons were places where ordinary people came to play a game and where the aristocracy often stayed away.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, however, gambling was banned in America, which caused much of the gambling world to end up in illegality. The state of Nevada was the first gambling back to be legal and the result is world-famous: Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world and perhaps the first place on earth where real modern casinos popped up.

In the twentieth century, the rise of casinos was unstoppable. Everywhere in the Western world casinos were founded, and often with enormous success.

In the last twenty years, casinos have also undergone an important evolution. Gambling turned out to go hand in hand with the arrival of the internet. Online casinos are the latest developments in the field of casinos.