Casino History – From Its Origins to the Modern Era
Today, new or seasoned punters can quickly sign up to the best new online casinos Canada, but this was not always the case. The history of online casinos is one of humble beginnings, aggressive marketing, and innovation. These qualities have enabled the iGaming industry to thrive for over two decades. This post will highlight the origins of online casino gambling and provide a chronological timeline leading into the modern era.
Gambling in Prehistoric Times
Interestingly, gambling has existed since the ‘dawn’ of time. Almost all cultures worldwide have embraced one form of gambling or another. While no one can say for sure when and where gambling originated, what is known is that gambling is prehistoric and believed to predate even the first form of currency used.
Throughout civilization, man has been involved in gambling as a sport. Dice was invented in about 3,000 BC by the early Mesopotamians, who carved out the dice using the bones of sheep.
By 1500 BC, the ancient Indian Vedas composed a hymn titled “The Gambler’s Lament,” vividly describing the old dice-throwing game.
The ancient Chinese were also known to engage in gambling. Animal fights were a common pastime for most people in 1,000 BC China and patrons of the fight houses often placed bets on these fights.
The Greeks of 500 AD were known to be prolific gamblers. There are archaeological digs that suggest the early Olympic games in Greece were a cauldron of betting activities.
Ancient Rome is not left out, and the famous Colosseum offered spectators a venue to wager bets on gladiators risking their lives against man and beast. Indeed, gambling has its history, and this history has been intertwined with civilization.
The invention of playing cards in China around 800 AD became widespread across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe throughout the middle ages. Even the Crusaders were known to play dice games to pass the time. Read more about money laundering at online casinos and how it works.
Gambling in the Early 16th to Early 18th Century
With the middle ages fading away and giving rise to the early renaissance era, the art of gambling had taken root across every class in society. Gambling puzzles were known to inspire the likes of Pierre de Fermat and Blaise Pascal, who were statisticians and forebears of the science of probability.
Blaise Pascal is widely renowned as the person that invented the first Roulette wheel. In Venice, gambling reached a whole new level with the opening of Europe’s first-ever state-approved gambling house for the general public, known as the “Ridotto” in 1638. While the Ridotto would be closed in 1744, gambling in Italy did not end more than a century later.
Many Italian gambling houses called “Casini” were opened, and many people believe that the “Casini” is the precursor for “Casino,” which is a more modern gambling terminology. Casinos may have originated in Italy, but most gambling games like Baccarat, Blackjack, and Roulette were invented in neighbouring France. Learn more tips for reviewing online casinos to distinguish the best of them.
Gambling in Mid-18th to Mid-20th Century
- The first-ever recorded bookmaker was an Englishman called Harry Ogden.
- In the late 18th century, Harry Ogden would take wagers and lay odds on horse racing events held at the once-famous Newmarket in England.
- In the mid-19th century, a decree in France would lead to the closure of gambling dens in major cities. During that time, a French gentleman named Francois Blanc would move his Casino business to Monaco, a principality of France. While in Monaco, he would take control and rename the leading Casino Monte Carlo.
Francois Blanc is also credited as the inventor of the first Roulette wheel with a single-zero digit, a feat he would achieve in 1842. The single-zero Roulette is the European gold standard in play to this day. An American double-zero Roulette wheel is an offshoot of the European single-zero version.
By 1849, gambling would be legalised in Macau, China, by the Portuguese. Gambling in Macau is still waxing strong to this day, and Macau rakes in more revenue from gambling on an annual basis than other popular gambling cities around the world, including Las Vegas.
America would not be left out of the history of gambling as the famous game of Poker is believed to have been invented anywhere from the mid-18th century to the early 19th century in Mississippi.
Texas Hold’em was created in America sometime in the early 20th century. The world will see the first slot machine invented in the late 19th century. Liberty Bell was built in 1899, and this became the first automated payout slot machine.
Casino Gambling From the Mid-20th Century to Date
Gambling was legalised in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1931. The first-ever gambling licence in Nevada was granted to the Northern Club situated at Fremont Street. But the popularity of Las Vegas as a gambling utopia would kick off in full swing at the end of the Second World War.
Since then, Las Vegas has been the world’s epicentre for land-based casino gambling. While the early days of casino gambling in Las Vegas were marred by violence due to overwhelming organised crime influence, this has subsided in time.
By the late 1980s, big corporations would bought into the casino business. Most of the top brick-and-mortar casinos in Nevada are now legitimately run by large business corporations.
The first-ever Casino owned and run by native Americans was launched in Florida in 1979. The ’70s would also witness the first-ever virtual poker game machine. However, by the ’80s, video poker would be more common than ever. The mid-90s gave punters a glimpse into the future, with the first online casino emerging in 1994.
In 1998, the first virtual poker room was introduced by Planet Poker. By the dawn of the 21st century, mobile casino gambling would begin to take root with the first text message-driven mobile casino game.
Casino Gambling Today
The world of online casino gambling is steadily rising, with more traditional brick-and-mortar casino gamblers transitioning to iGaming. The online casino gambling industry is both the present and future of casino gambling.
Technology plays a big role in the growth and advancement of the casino industry. It all started with desktop PCs, but today casino apps are compatible with mobile devices like mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets and offer live games with high-definition video streaming.
The casino industry is now squeezing in on-the-go mobile devices. Mobile casino apps are compatible with many mobile operating systems, including Android, Windows, and iOS. In addition to this, many online casino gaming software developers have redesigned popular and designed new casino games for mobile compatibility.
You can even play casino games on wristwatches like the Apple watch today. The history of casino gambling is a story of evolution, a never-ending story with scripts still unwritten.