History of Casinos

The history of casinos cannot be dated to an exact year, as centuries ago, many casinos were operated illegally, therefore lack proper documentation. However, we can confirm a few interesting facts regarding the history of casinos.

The term "casino" is derived from the Italian word meaning "little house", whence came the popular terms 'playing against the house' and 'house edge'.

Now one of the highest revenue-yielding industries in the entire world, the first documented, legal casino was opened in 1765 in Baden, Switzerland.

The Palais Royal Casino in Paris, France was the focus of numerous gambling related novels, including the famous “La Roulette, ou le Jour", written by Jaques Lablee in 1796 and published in 1801, Lablee's book is an important piece of casino history as it described the very first Roulette game played as it is in its current form, using the roulette Wheel and Table with numbers 1-36, 0 and 00.

The first casinos opened in America were known as “saloons”. Saloons were predominantly founded in four major cities - New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. A hub for travelers, the saloons in these cities - complete with gambling, drinking and invariable conversation - were phenomenally successful establishments.

Gambling was deemed illegal across much of the United States in the early 20th century, which put a heavy damper on the pastime of many residents and travelers. However, when Nevada chose to make gambling legal once again in the 1930's, the development of the largest gambling mecca in the world began - Las Vegas.

Bugsy Seigel, a notorious gangster in those days, came down from New York and began opening casinos in Las Vegas. The success was immediate and has continued on a steady incline over the decades. The El Rancho Vegas Hotel-Casino was built in 1941, becoming the first casino established on what is today the 'Vegas Strip'.

As the years went by and technology grew, the history of casinos took a whole new turn. With the introduction of the Internet came the inevitable creation of online casinos. In 1994, the first online casinos and sportsbooks began to appear on the world wide web.

Today, there are more than 2,000 online casinos, sportsbooks and poker rooms, making up the second highest revenue-yeilding industry on the Internet, generating more than $12 billion per year.