Gambling facts by CasinoHawks

12 astonishing facts about gambling you might not know about!

Given the popularity of gambling and casinos throughout the years, it comes as no surprise that there are so many interesting anecdotes and facts related to the world of gambling. Here at CasinoHawks, we've picked those facts which have intrigued us the most in order to share them with you, so that you too can boast of some gambling knowledge on your next trip to your local casino!

The word ‘casino’ is derived from the Italian word ‘casa’

Let's start from the concept itself. The root of the word casino is the Italian noun casa (which means house), and it originally referred to a small country house where people could gather to socialise and pursue hunting activities. By the 19th century, the word was used to refer to places where people could meet to engage in activities such as drinking, music and gambling. However, today ‘casino’ in Italian is a word used to indicate a state of confusion or havoc. The word for gambling casinos is now spelt with an accent on the o: casinò.

Roulette is referred to as ‘The Devil’s Game’

The sum of all the numbers on the Roulette wheel (1 to 36) adds up to ‘666’, which as you know is the devil’s number. According to legend, Francois Blanc, a French casino operator, had made a bargain with the devil in order to discover how to win at Roulette!

Roulette wheel

The sandwich was probably ‘invented’ because of a gambling addiction

Legend has it that John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, was so addicted to gambling that he didn’t want to take a break to eat. He therefore ordered his servants to get him some meat served in between two slices of bread, so that he could play with one hand and eat the other. Apparently, this was how the sandwich was born (or at least, that’s where it got its name from).

Keno dates back 2,000 years

Keno is considered to be the oldest casino game and according to written records, this game dates back to the Han Dynasty in Ancient China. During a time of war between 205 and 187 B.C, villagers were unable to fund the army until a man named Cheung Leung invented Keno and raised a quite a substantial sum! Keno has changed very little since that time. Cheung’s invention looked similar to today's Keno – it also had 80 choices to pick. Today, players choose from 80 numbers while back then they picked from 80 Chinese characters based on a popular poem by Zhou Xingsi. 

Fancy a game of Keno right now? Play online Keno by clicking the link below!

The world’s smallest casino is found at the back of a cab

London’s Grosvernor Casino has actually got a mobile casino at the back of a cab, complete with a table, dealer, a bar and a TV that broadcasts sports events. This world’s smallest travelling casino opened in 2016, and people can tweet their requests for rides and choose between a free ride to the Grosvenor Casino, or a free trip to anywhere else in the city in exchange for an optional charity donation.

Grosvenor taxi casino smallest

The world’s first slot machine was invented by a car mechanic!

Car mechanic Charles Fey invented the first slot machine in 1887, when he noticed that his customers got bored waiting for him to finish repairing their vehicles. Fey’s machine had spinning reels containing five symbols: horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and a Liberty Bell. Three liberty bells in a line used to award the biggest payout, which amounted to ten nickels (50¢).

Slot machine payouts used to be in the form of fruit-flavoured gum

Those fruit symbols on traditional slot machines have a meaning behind them. In the early 1880s, when gambling for money was illegal in the US, these slot machines used to dispense fruit-flavoured gum, flavoured according to the fruit combination you landed on the reels! Later on, they aslo started to pay out tokens which could be exchanged for drinks or cigars.

The Kings on a deck of cards represent four kings that really existed

The four kings on the traditional deck of cards represent David, King of Israel (King of Spades), Charlemagne, King of France (King of Hearts), Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia (King of Clubs) and Augustus Caesar, Emperor of Rome (King of Diamonds).

The Queens also have names, although these don’t all represent real queens. The Queen of Spades is called Pallas, another name for the Greek Goddess Athena, the Queen of Hearts is called Judith, a biblical figure, the Queen of Clubs is Argine, an anagram of the word Regina (Latin for Queen) and the Queen of Diamonds is called Rachel, also a biblical figure.

The founder of FedEx Saved the company by gambling

Yup, it’s rare but it does happen. FedEx was making a loss until its founder Frederick Smith won $27,000 on Blackjack on a gambling trip to Vegas in 1973! This allowed the company to raise $11 million and grow into what it is today! We certainly don’t advise this approach for entrepreneurs trying to raise money for their company, but well, it’s still an interesting anecdote!

Las Vegas took advantage of atom bomb testing in the fifties!

In 1951, the U.S. Department of Energy started to detonate over a thousand test nukes only 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, an event which caused mushroom clouds to block the light of day in the area. But Vegas turned this bleak show into an opportunity and started to promote detonation times by organising Atomic Bomb Parties and offering 'atomic cocktails' at the casino. There was also a beauty show called "Miss Atomic Energy", where protagonists wore mushroom-cloud outfits! Sickening but true!

Miss Atomic Energy

You can’t gamble at the Monte Carlo Casino if you’re from Monaco!

If you’re a citizen of Monaco, you can’t head to the famous Monte Carlo Casino. Princess Caroline made this illegal in the mid-1800s, so that revenue would come only from foreigners. The advantage for citizens and foreigners who officially reside in Monaco is that they don't have to pay income tax, so maybe not being allowed a seat at the Monte Carlo Casino is a fair price to pay. Or is it?

Casinos are designed and run to give you the impression that everyone’s winning and to make you gamble more!

If you look at the lighting in some casinos, you’ll notice that it very much resembles that found inside a typical living room. This is so that players can get comfortable and gamble more. Alternatively, there are casinos that go for shiny, flashy lights instead – this is to give players the impression that everyone is winning. What’s more, the bathrooms and restaurants are normally found in another section or floor of the building, to discourage players from leaving the tables, whereas slot machines and tables are sometimes laid out in the form of a maze, to help you lose your way to the exit! As for free drinks and shows? Same reason – it’s all part of the plan to keep gamblers gambling!


That's all folks! Come back for more gambling info!

Whether you like it or hate it, you've got to admit that the above gambling facts are indeed intriguing. A lot of these anecdotes go to show that people and companies see gambling as an opportunity to generate profit. Come back to CasinoHawks for more interesting facts and info about casinos; this is where you'll get access to the best casinos for UK players, as well as to honest reviews and guides to the world of online gambling!