The Discovery of some ancient dices created thousand years before Christ by archeologists, suggests that gambling has an ancient origin. But it is believed that back then, they were used for fortune-telling. According to studies, in the 6th century BC, a public place was created in ancient Rome where visitors used to play craps and made money bets. The world of gambling has changed so much ever since with the establishment of casinos and online gambling.
The first gambling establishment in Europe that was opened in 1638 established the first casino ever named, Il Ridotto. The term casino comes from an Italian word that means “a small house”. The fact that gambling used to be organized in private houses before the opening of the first legal casino explains the origin of this word. Casinos were not only the centers for gambling but the people going there were also served meals and drinks and they were entertained by dancing and music. During the Venetian carnival, Il Ridotto was designed to amuse people with gambling.
The following rules were to be followed in Il Ridotto:
- Visitors had to dress in a specific way.
- They had to follow a specific behavior pattern.
- Ordering specific dishes by players was a must.
The Il Ridotto paid high taxes making its existence beneficial to the government. Bur government made gambling illegal due to the church’s negative attitude that eventually leads to the closure of Il Ridotto.
The popularity of gambling culture:
Despite the strong opposition from the church and banning of gambling and Il Ridotto casino by government authorities, casinos began to spread outside Italy. Casino fashion reached France in 1765 when the first casino was opened in its capital i.e., Paris by Cardinal Mazarin in an attempt to collect enough taxes from casinos to replenish the state treasury. The roulette game introduced in those casinos contained an unseen novelty and it gained popularity among players.
Due to increased popularity and the prize amounts that were pretty good, the first casinos were opened in the rest of the European countries at the beginning of the 18th century. The main attraction for players was good prize money that facilitated an increase in the popularity of the casino.
Further progress to the modern-day casino:
In the 19th century, casinos in Europe had gained very high popularity. The Casino culture had become more and more common in big cities. This led to further changes in the architect and interior design of casinos making them more luxurious. Along with that, the service of casinos became better and better reaching a great level of comfort. Respected personalities of the communities started going to the casino more and more common. Besides gambling and enjoying their drink in the casino, important personalities used this place to meet other people of influence and to discuss current burning political issues with each other.
There was great enthusiasm for casinos among people in prosperous cities by the end of the 19th century. But the amendments made by governments in gambling legislation led to the closure of most of the casinos in Europe. The only casino that did not have restrictions on gambling was Monte Carlo. It kept functioning while the rest of the casinos were banned. Monte Carlo was opened in 1863. It was the world’s best-known casino. It was the major contributor to the income of the principality of Monaco that began getting popular at the end of the 19th century.
In the 2nd half of the 20th century, most countries in Europe changed their laws to allow gambling and make casinos more popular. Licensed casinos had started working in the United Kingdom especially in London in 1960 and made club membership a requirement and the membership was easily available.
Casinos were legalized in France in 1933 after which they made many casinos some of which are very famous like Cannes, Nice, Divonne-Les-Bains, and Deauville. Estoril, Portugal; Corfu, Greece; and Baden-Baden and Bad Homburg von der Höhe, Germany are some of the other famous casinos in Europe.
In the United States, casinos were given licenses in 1931 after which they started functioning in Las Vegas and Nevada. The importance of casinos in Las Vegas can be understood from the fact that almost the entire economy of Las Vegas is dependent on casinos and in Nevada, casinos contribute to 40% of the tax revenue. Since its establishment in the United States in the 20th century, casino gambling has been expanding continuously reaching $6 billion annual bets by the start of the 21st century. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, casinos were established in 1978. Casinos were limited to riverboats in some cases by state laws.
Casinos are a growing industry and they give good incentives to governments in collecting a great amount of tax revenue. This is the main reason for the growth of this industry.