Casino history - a quick look back
Games and gambling have been around for thousands of years. Casinos have been offering their services for centuries, and lately, with the rise of online gaming it flourished and turned into a proper boom with people being able to play casino online in the comfort of their homes and even on the go from their mobiles and tablets. Of course, it was not always like this, and that's why we've created this article to see what it really looked like in the past? How did it all start? If you're interested in this then just keep on reading.
When we think about land-based casinos, it is difficult not to think of Las Vegas and the fun exciting atmosphere that the sin city can offer. But Las Vegas became the gambling capital of the world only less than 100 years ago, so what did casino scene look like before?
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It's hard to say exactly when the first casino opened its doors since the historians disagree on this matter. One of the main reasons why it's nearly impossible to establish is because it's quite hard to classify what was considered a casino back in the day. Should we include all kinds of places where people gathered to play and gamble? In this case, we should include the ancient Greece and China, where there is a lot of evidence that the gambling was quite popular among the different social classes.
The world's first modern casino
If instead, we will focus on the modern casinos' origins, that's where we can even pinpoint the exact year - 1638. That's when the gambling business started in Venice as a perfectly legal venue where city residents could go and throw the dice or play cards. The place was called Ridotto.
Old casino games
Today we associate casino with games like Slots, Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and Poker, but in the old days, these games have not been invented yet. In those times players would rather choose from different types of lotteries (Biribi) and card games (Basetta). The latter was a game that people played with very large bets and where profits were pretty huge. This was, therefore, a game for the rich and affluent, which attracted Venice city's top socialites to Ridotto Casino. Biribi however, was a game with very low chances of winning but with high payments so probably it had the same market and audience as the popular lotteries of today.
First casinos in the UK
UK gambling goes back more than 2,000 years and it started with the games such as dice and cross and pill which resembles heads and tails, bets on board games and a card game called Bragg which is in a way is a predecessor of poker. As times went by, the sports betting and horse races became extremely popular and stay this way until today.
The first establishments resembling casinos started popping up in the UK in the 19th century as private membership clubs for the high classes. Crockfords and Victoria Sporting Club in London are the first ones to open their doors in London.
Online casinos today
Since the earliest introduction of Internet in the 90s, a lot of people started coming up with the idea of online gaming portals to satisfy the desire to gamble of those people who could not access land-based casinos or did not want to go there for some reasons.
Of course, the first casino websites were not what we are used to today. Poor design, limited game selection, lack of payment options and clunky gameplay were something that the early online players had to deal with. Later on, the regular improvements, as well as technological advances, the online casinos gradually transformed into what we're used to nowadays.
Today online casinos have bigger audiences than brick and mortar casinos, in many ways thanks to the mobiles and tablets that let everyone play anywhere anytime. The audiences expanded from geeky gamers to more of a wide mainstream users base.
Once online casinos became more and more popular, the game developers had to catch up and since mid 90s Microgaming and NetEnt took the lead, coming up with online casino card games, slots and later on Live Casino and even VR slots of today.
People always used to bet on sports, be it horse racing, football or Olympics. Once online casinos could technologically catch up, the online sports betting literally exploded attracting a different audience than the card and slot game players. Today online sports betting in itself is a billion dollar industry with hundreds if not thousands sporting events from all over the world offered for betting including Live In-Play bets.
We are quite lucky with the way things developed and what kind of choice and convenience we have at the tips of our fingers. With more and more online casino operators and game developers entering the market the quality and quantity of offers go up constantly. Loads of casino operators on the market means that the players get better and bigger casino welcome bonuses, special offers, tournaments and free spins when they deposit their money online.
But while gambling online is a lot of fun and can let you win some serious cash, it's also important to remember that any gambling can become an addiction and everyone has to keep their gaming habits under control, know their limits and stick to the budget.
Play responsibly, have fun and good luck!