There must be something in human nature that craves the excitement of gambling. How else could we explain the fact that games of chance have been found in every culture, in every century, from Ancient Egypt and China to the Roman Empire to the 21st-century online casino? The history of casinos and casino games is therefore a long and fascinating one.
The Little House of Gaming
The word “casino” comes from the Italian for “little house.” It originally referred to a small pavilion located on the grounds of a large villa. The little house was used for parties that featured music and dancing and socializing and, sometimes, games of chance. Over the course of time, the games became the dominant feature of the casinos and the little house grew into a big gambling club.
The first modern casino as we know it was established in Monaco, still a center for gambling today, in 1861. Casino gambling for real money became legal in the UK in 1960, although this did not prevent large numbers of British citizens from continuing to travel to Europe to enjoy the casinos there.
In the US, gambling for real money has been legal on and off for centuries. The first gambling laws there were passed in the 1600s, although games of chance had already been part of the traditions of the American Indians for long before that. In 1931 the state of Nevada legalized gambling, which led to the establishment of Las Vegas as the city of casinos. The Foxwoods casino in the state of Connecticut has 6,000 slot machines and 350 gaming tables. The “little house” is not so little anymore.