14 Jan The evolution of casinos
The oldest casino in the world is called the Casino di Venezia, and sits proudly on the Grand Canal in Venice. Prior to its opening in 1638, it was known as the Theatre Saint Moses. During the intermission of plays shown at the theatre, audiences would enjoy card games and gambling – which later inspired its reopening as a gambling house. The Casino di Venezia sparked the start of the casino craze in Venice, and by 1744 there were more than 120 gaming establishments.
Since then, the craze spread like wildfire throughout Europe and America, with the birth of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1900s revolutionising the casino experience. Modern casinos have continued to evolve, becoming more accessible and providing even more games than ever before.
Join us as we discover how the casino empire evolved into that which we know and love today.
Gaming before casinos
Gambling has been a popular pastime since the very first pages of the history books. Ancient Romans would spin shields and die have been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs. Throughout the years, gambling has been outlawed many times, with governments regulating Lotteries in an attempt to raise revenue, but forcing traditional casino games to go underground.
In 1845, the original creation of the Gaming Act legalised games of skill, made cheating a crime, and simplified the regulation of gambling houses, making them increasingly popular.
The revised Gambling Act of 2005 was the first significant piece of legislation to regulate gambling since betting shops and off-track gambling was legalised in 1961. The 2005 Act created the Gambling Commission – a part of the UK government designated to regulate the department of culture, media and sport. In more recent times legislation has tightened even further with players now needing to verify their age to even play free demo slots online.
Casinos in the modern day
Many modern-day casinos work to create an environment that not only encapsulates the Hollywood casino lifestyle – helped along by the popularity of the Las Vegas Strip – but it also provides a lavish, luxury experience, allowing casino-goers to truly step into the movie-star and royal lifestyle. Many large casinos are now also hotels and resorts, boasting not only many floors of gaming, but dining, entertainment, bars, spas, golf, five-star suites and so much more.
In 1996, the first online casino to offer automated payouts was opened. This meant that casino gaming was even more accessible than ever before, and could be played on a computer – anywhere you had internet access. Not many people had access to computers at this time, however, but thanks to the fast evolution of technology, and the very first smartphone, online casinos were about to see a huge rise in popularity like never before.
When technology would allow, live dealer casino took to the scene. The idea, which had been trialed in the early 2000s, finally gained some traction after new software was developed in around 2012, to provide faster streaming and greater bandwidth for the growing online population. This meant that live casino dealers could be streamed from a specialist studio, hosting all your favourite games – and more – in real time. Now, there are live chat features, animations and graphics that truly transport you into the world of the casino, allowing you to stand at a Roulette table from the comfort of your living room, or travel to a far-away ancient temple in your pyjamas.
We can only expect technology to continue to influence the casino world, with virtual reality offering the hopes for an even more immersive experience.