Modern Casinos

History of Modern Casinos

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The ever-growing casino-style gambling that has become relevant in today’s world has extensive historical traces. From the formless gathering of people to achieving entertainment, Gambling has completely morphed with the establishment of real money casinos. The path taken by the casino from dice to 100 free spins on online websites and applications entails considerable development of the industry. Today, these modern gambling houses, both online and land-based, are full-blown enterprises with legal operations and a broad base of users.

However, only sure folks know how these gambling platforms began and how long they travelled to gain relevance in society. 

Brief Casino History

Generally, gambling began circulating several centuries B.C, which involved people gathering in taverns and random places to gamble mainly for fun. However, with time, gambling went from having fun with the chance to wagering valuables to multiplying wealth. These early wagering activities were not really organised and had no system to them, which is precisely where the casinos came in. 

Established gaming houses were not a thing until the 17th century. In fact, the early platforms were primarily organised in small private houses and not full-blown facilities. The modern term “casino” is of the Italian root “Casa,” which translates to “a small house.” These small social clubs were quite different from the casinos we have today but are still similar in structure and operations. 

Furthermore, the 1700s saw gambling becoming widespread in many parts of the world. Italy was the first major stronghold for gambling in Europe before it spread to America, with a modern stronghold in Canada. Until today, Italy is still regarded as the major pioneer of modern casinos because the first ever functional gambling house was presided upon by the Italians.

Modern Casinos

The Earliest Functional Casino

The first ever recorded functional gambling house belonged to the Italians in Venice. The casino was named Ridotto, whose meaning was associated with “secret meetings”. Ridotto was originally a section of a Palazzo called Dandolo, near the Church of San Moise. The palazzo facility was later converted into a gambling house owned and regulated by the government. 

Before the establishment of Ridotto, the Venetian government attempted to outlaw all wagering activities that were rapidly growing across the state. However, Authorities could not effectively limit the citizens from participating in illegal wager games, which had now dominated the social sphere. Hence, the Venetian government decided if it couldn’t stop these gambling activities, the best it could do was control them. The bid to control all wagering endeavours in Venice at the time led to the establishment of the first-ever functional game house, Ridotto. 

Ridotto was fully incorporated in 1638 to coordinate the Venetian carnival. At a point, players could wear only hats with three corners and masks to gain access to Ridotto. The gaming house was initially open to participation from the general public. However, once stakes went high enough and official dress codes were introduced, only the nobles could afford admission, especially on the game tables. Subsequently, Venetian laws further established to prohibit regular folks from sitting or playing any games at Ridotto’s tables. 

Ridotto Players:

The games that played across Ridotto some of the oldest organised wagering games today. The casino offered games similar to today’s Blackjack, Roulette, and Poker, including the following;

  • Biribi
  • Basetta
  • Faro

Biribi featured lottery numbers, as players could place bets on 70 possible outcomes, and was very similar to today’s online slots.

Ridotto was, however, closed down in 1774 when Giorgio Pisani’s reformation bill was passed. Nevertheless, the overall impact Ridotto had on general gambling endeavours contributed to the spread of land-based casinos to other states in Europe. Countries like France immediately followed suit, establishing their own gambling houses and innovating several games. Eventually, gambling houses made their way to America, with prevalent states like Canada.

Modern Casinos

What Games Were Played in Early Casinos

Casino games have evolved a great deal from the simple cards and dice that were found in early gambling houses? However, both the early and modern games designed on the same principle, which is chance. The earliest gambling games date far back as many centuries before Christ. However, organised games that had principles and structure became prevalent in the 1600s.

It is still difficult to be certain of the oldest gambling games and how widespread each of them was at the time. Notwithstanding, the following are some of the earliest and most prevalent games in ancient gambling houses. 

  1. Dice/Craps: The multi-side object has been around for centuries. Dice is the basis of Craps and some other modern wagering games.
  2. Roulette: The roulette wheel is also one of the oldest betting games known to man. Roulette’s principles were first discovered in the 17th century by Blaise Pascal, who tried to invent the continuous motion machine with random calibration. However, the modern Roulette game properly shaped in France.
  3. Biribi: Biribi, or as the Italians know it, “biribissi”, was a low stake game that runs on the same principles as Roulette. Biribi was, however, banned in 1837 and has had very little usage ever since. 

There are still other notable games that were already in circulation by the 18th century, which are not mentioned enough. Fortunately, we made the following table with some games and their historical lineage.

KenoChinese18th Century
RouletteFrench17th Century
BiribiItalian/Greece18th century
Dice/CrapsRoman/Arabic11th century
BlackjackFrench17th century
Slots British/American18th century

Development of Modern Casinos

From the 18th century, gambling houses became widespread and multiplied as an enterprise, generating hundreds of millions in revenue annually, across several countries. By then, gambling houses had gone from social clubs to proper enterprises with structures. The major characteristics of any modern casino are its legality, safety, variety of games, and structure. Hence, any gaming houses that able to achieve these qualities considered the first modern casinos today. 

Unlike casinos from the 1600s, those established around the 18th century and beyond were mostly enterprises with licenses and structure. These latter gaming houses paved the way for the vast real money establishments in today’s world. Having summarised many studies, here are some gambling establishments that pioneered the standards of today’s casinos.

  • De Monte Carlo, Monaco (1863). De Monte Carlo is one of the oldest standard gaming houses in operation. Unlike many other ancient casinos, De Monte Carlo was established to offer gambling services as an enterprise. The game house established in 1856 but had to moved to fresh grounds in1863. De Monte Carlo is in the league of the first gambling establishments to offer modern-day services, including live entertainment.
  • Kurhaus Casino, Baden-Baden, Germany (1820s). Kurhaus gained its reputation during the 1830s when France still had bans on gambling since it situated close to the German-French border. The gambling house still considered by some as one of the first to adopt modern gambling ethics and operations. 

The Emergence of Online Casinos

Online casinos is the most recent development bordering casino history, following the establishment of the internet in 1989/90. Gambling services brought online to make the entire experience more accessible and profitable on all sides. The earliest online service providers managed to retain some ancient games and features. However, the best online casinos today are a far cry from the early ones. 

The first laws that allowed the establishment of online casinos featured in “Antigua and Barbuda” back in 1994. Afterwards, licenses issued to several organisations that wanted to establish gaming platforms online. By 1996, there over 15 different online gambling dens, which facilitated by the Microgaming gambling software. These platforms grew across territories like The UK, Australia, and Canada, which still possess some of the best online casinos in the present day. 

Ultimately, the establishment of gaming providers online paved the way for many gaming features and functions in circulation today. Some of these features were once unique to online providers but are now prevalent in land-based gambling houses. The following are some of the major gaming functions that distinguish modern gambling providers from some other historical ancient ones. 

Casino Bonus

Modern online game providers allow for easier use of several unique bonus features, which were not particularly rampant in ancient houses. Some of these bonus features include free spins, no deposit bonus, free slot games rounds, etc. Some of the former bonus packages could still found in ancient houses. However, they were neither easy to use nor prevalent as in today’s establishments. 

Game Variety

Most of the game variants that are prevalent on today’s gambling providers can traced back to ancient game houses. However, there has been a lot of innovation, and that differentiates games between the two eras. Some of these game variants include online machines, mobile slots, etc. 

Websites with a great game variety include On this website you can find several improvised ancient games from the earliest gambling software, Microgaming not only. 

Modern Casinos

Multiple Exchange Currencies

Most early game houses only allowed members to place bets and receive winnings with one native currency. However, the best payout online casinos let players make and receive funds with several channels and currencies. In essence, even dollar deposit casinos usually accept payments in Euros, Pounds, etc. 

In addition, the history of modern casinos gets interesting with some gaming strongholds in Europe and America. Canada in Northern America has one of the most developed modern gambling industries. Hence, we have also made a brief discovery about the history of modern casinos in Canada. 

Historical Casino Relevance in North America, Canada

Canada, is one of the most controversial American factions bordering the historical evolution of land-based gambling houses. Gambling in general was unlawful in Canada since the state was under British rule in the 1400s. After many centuries of very minimal wagering activities, the Canadian criminal code then modified to permit gambling in 1892, but with heavy regulations.

  1. After the legislation of gambling in the state, Canada then saw its first-ever functional gambling house established in 1987 in Winnipeg.
  2. Another gambling house established four years later in Montreal. 

From then, Canada became a fertile ground for gambling enterprises, with some of the fastest growing land-based semi-modern casinos. Today, Canada is home to flourishing real money casinos, including online service providers, which became prevalent after the creation of the internet.

The Gap Between the Old and Modern-Day Casinos

In summary, gambling houses have indeed undergone their fair share of changes throughout history, since their inception during the 1600s. Today’s modern gambling providers are major enterprises with annual revenue running into a few billion dollars. In essence, gaming dens have become a major source of internal revenue in regions where they legal, compared to the ancient standards. Also, in strongholds like Canada, gambling has become a faction of entertainment, apart from the purpose of multiplying funds. 

In addition, the major gap between the early game houses and today’s game providers is in the safety, online service, multiple promotional offers such as no deposit bonus, and structure that the latter provides.


Fortunately, this piece reveals much relevant information on how today’s modern gambling houses created and sustained. Also, you can discover the historical casino traces of one of the biggest American gambling strongholds, Canada.

Today, the best online casinos are the ones that offer all the characteristics of ancient gambling houses, only in a different way. Many such casinos can found in the American and European markets, these games include many slot variants, with usable bonus features like the gambler’s favourite no deposit bonus on high-tech machines. 

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