Casino games. It’s a name that has been around for far too long, and they’ll still be here for hundreds of years after we’ve gone. Despite their many years on earth, their popularity seems never to decrease.
In fact, there has never been a time when playing casino games has been as popular as it is now. This is thanks to technological advancement, which makes it possible to visit casino online sites and enjoy our favorite games.
And while it may be fun to play casino games online, there are comforts you can only experience at land-based casinos. These establishments offer us more than just the locations to unwind as we catch up with our favorite dealers or play our favorite slot machines. Some of the iconic casinos have so much history with them.
In this special edition, we look at some of the oldest casinos in the world. We’ll also briefly review the first casino in the world and look at some of its standout features.
Casinò di Venezia
Casino di Venezia is unique and renowned for two reasons; it is the oldest establishment in Europe and the world. Located in Venice, Italy, the casino opened its doors in 1638. Since then, nothing much has changed besides a few renovations to keep it fresh.
It still bears the sophistication and wealth of the 16th century that it was built with. It hosts 600 slot machines – this, of course, were introduced after the 19th century – and has dealers dressed in tuxedos. These dealers are responsible for running games such as poker, blackjack, and roulette.
There’s more to Casino di Venezia than games. The three-story building also hosts a theatre and the house –popularly referred to as Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi – and has served the who is who in Europe and Venice over the years. Some renowned acts played in the house include Lorenzo Da Ponte, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Giacomo Casanova.
In 1774, gambling was banned in Italy, which forced the closure of Casino di Venezia. It wasn’t until 1959 that the ban was lifted, allowing the establishment to re-open its doors to casino players.
Casino De Spa
From Italy, we move straight to Belgium, where we find a 250-year-old casino. Casino De Spa, as the name suggests, combines both the luxuries of a casino and a spa. Anyone who has lived in Belgium already has a clue where the casino is located – in Spa. This is a town renowned for its natural mineral springs.
Casino De Spa was opened back in 1763. It was the first to start the trend of a casino and spa experience. Gerard de Leau and Xhrouet Lambert, both mayors at that time, commissioned the opening of the building. The decoration bit was left to Barthélémy Digneffe, a renowned architect of his era.
With 250 years under its belt, there’s definitely so much that must have happened to such an establishment. For example, a fire devasted the Spa in 1807. It was reconstructed, though it bore the brunt of Napoleon, who wasn’t a big fan of casinos. He blamed the Spa for the fires that had engulfed a few other properties. Consequently, he ordered profits from the business to be used to reimburse those who had lost their houses and property during the fire.
It would also suffer another fair accident in 1917 while under the management of Germans. It would take up to two decades to restore it to its original shape. Since then, not much has happened, and it still offers a first-class casino and spa experience.
Kurhaus of Baden-Baden
The Kurhaus of Baden-Baden was designed in 1824, but it wasn’t until 1834 that its popularity soared. This was after France banned all forms of gambling in the country, forcing players to switch or seek their services in neighboring countries.
Being relatively new and attracting celebrities, including Fyodor Dostoevsky and Marlene Dietrich, the Kurhaus of Baden-Baden became a big hit among players.
For those who don’t know who Fyodor Dostoevsky is, he’s a famous author who wrote The Gambler. This is a famous novella that takes place in a German Hotel. You can visit the casino and see where Fyodor Dostoevsky and the renowned singer, Marlene Dietrich, would sit as they enjoyed their gaming sessions.
Monte Carlo Casino
There’s no denying the fact that the Monte Carlo Casino is a world-famous land-based casino. Several movies, including Ocean’s Twelve and Casino Royale, have all been shot in this international heritage. Ask any armature to mention a casino they know, and they’ll quickly say the Monte Carlo Casino.
The establishment wouldn’t have existed had it not been for Marie Caroline Gibert de Lametz, popularly referred to as the Princess of Monaco. It was her idea to build a gambling establishment that would finance the ruling family after Menton and Roquebrune revolted and declared themselves independent.
Without wasting much time, she commissioned the building in 1854, and by 1856, the doors were open. However, at that time, it was referred to as the Les Spelugues before changing its name to Monte Carlo in 1863.
After a rocky start, it became so successful that the establishment had to be expanded between 1878 and 1879. The new building accommodated a concert hall and included more gaming rooms.
During the 157 years, the casino has existed, several redesigns have been made to accommodate more games and people. Despite this, most of the original interior design has been retained. This gives the Monte Carlo Casino a unique Beaux-Arts look.
Casinò di Campione
Casinò di Campione deserves an honorable mention as they are no longer operating. It closed its doors in 2018 after it went bankrupt. Before that, they were one of the world’s oldest and largest gambling establishments, having been opened in 1917.
Located on the shores of Lake Lugano, the casino was opened with a different objective: to put foreign diplomats at ease and let them talk about their government secrets. This way, the Italian government would get vital information, which they would later use in World War 1.