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The 5 Oldest Casinos in the World

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People have been familiar with casinos and their games for centuries. These establishments have attracted millions of individuals worldwide with their luxurious interiors, thrilling atmosphere, and the chance to get lucky at one of the tables. But have you ever wondered when the first venues began welcoming crowds?

If you want to find out, stick to this page, as it’ll explore the five oldest casinos in the world that remain cultural landmarks to this day.

Evolution of Casino Gaming

The casinos we know today have been operational for hundreds of years now. Thanks to the internet, we can even access top operators like Zula Casino Social online from our computers or mobile devices. Nonetheless, it took time and a lot of transformation before casinos reached their current status. 

Although there’s no firm evidence of when the first civilizations started to build gaming venues, architects have consistently documented the existence of games of chance throughout history.

Some cultures used dice to try to predict the will of the gods, while others used to stake their belongings like livestock, food, or land when playing these exciting games. 

Over time, various gaming artifacts like dice, bones, tiles, and pottery were found in countries like China, Egypt, and India. Meanwhile, Greek and Roman cultures appear to have had the biggest influence on casino gaming development. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that the first casino venue emerged on Italian soil in the 17th century.

But if you believe that the first casino sparked a reaction and accelerated the development of this industry, think twice. The concept of casino gaming wasn’t universally accepted, and countries across the globe took their time to give casinos a shot. 

Oldest Casinos in the World

This industry took off somewhere around the 1800s when gaming halls started spreading around Europe and finally reached the US. While the road to prominence was bumpy, casino advocates didn’t give up and kept pushing for the development of more halls worldwide. The rest is history, and the five oldest casinos listed in this guide still stand as proof of those efforts.

Casino di Venezia, Italy

Italy is known for many things, but would you have thought that it’s also home to the world’s first casino? This legendary venue is located in the city of Venice, after which it got its name — Casino di Venezia. This venue was once known as Ridotto, dating back to 1638 as a part of a 15th-century palace dwelling called Ca’ Vendramin Calergi. 

Considering how old the casino is and the city it’s in, it’s no wonder this building attracts even the non-gaming folk interested in its outstanding architecture and rich history. To reach this establishment, you can take a taxi or choose a more elegant Venice-style transportation option — a gondola.

In spite of this, don’t assume that this old casino hasn’t been following the change in trends. Its game lobby features over 600 popular slot machines along with classic casino games like blackjack, roulette, poker, and more. In addition, you can enjoy various fine dining options and Italian cuisine in between your gaming sessions.

Casino de Spa, Belgium

The world’s second casino, Casino de Spa, dates back to 1763 and is located in Spa, Belgium. Sadly, the casino was severely damaged in World War I, nearly destroyed by a massive fire. 

In 1918, the building was renovated, but as this couldn’t bring back its old glory, it underwent a full reconstruction in the 1980s. What makes Casino de Spa even more appealing is its location, which is a 20-minute drive from Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, the site of the Formula One races.

Slots fans may not be impressed by the casino’s game selection, as there are only around 100 slot machines on the game floor. However, table games make the whole gaming journey better, and this venue has many poker tables and regularly hosts Texas Hold’em tournaments, attracting hundreds of people. Aside from poker, players can also try other casino classics like blackjack and roulette.

Casino Baden-Baden, Germany

Some of the oldest casino venues are located in Europe, and the third in line occupies the Kurhaus area of the German city Baden-Baden. Although the location is famous for its top-rated spa town with healing thermal baths, it also happens to be home to a historical brick-and-mortar casino.

Allegedly, Casino Baden-Baden was opened in the 1820s, but no one can say for sure when its operations began. Its popularity rose in the 1830s when France decided to outlaw this activity and forced French casino fans to look for some casino amusement over the border.

At the time, the casino attracted players with its classic slot machines and jackpot games, along with table games and rewarding poker tournaments. Visitors were also impressed by the venue’s neoclassical architecture featuring stunning decorations and lavish interior.

Casino de Monte Carlo, Monaco

Everyone and their dog has heard of Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco. This historic venue was built in 1856 when Princess Caroline of the House of Grimaldi suggested its construction to prevent the country’s bankruptcy. In 1863, the casino venue relocated to its current address.

Needless to say, Casino de Monte Carlo has been among the most famous gaming locations worldwide for years, attracting both tourists and professional players all year round. It’s also one of the largest and most luxurious casino venues, which is why it ended up being featured in two James Bond movies and inspired numerous other films, books, and shows.

Yet, if you’re planning to visit this legendary casino, remember that you need to dress appropriately. Once you find yourself in its game lobby, you’ll have access to various games like slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker baccarat, Trente et Quarante, and many more. On top of that, the casino offers fine dining, so you can satisfy both your urge to play and your taste buds.

Golden Gate Casino, the USA

If you’re a fan of old hotels with casino venues, there’s no better place to look for it than Las Vegas in Nevada, US. The first operational casino in the country opened its doors in 1906 under the name Hotel Nevada. Soon after its opening in 1909, casino gaming was banned in Sin City, but the venue continued to offer some small-stakes games and non-cash tournaments.

When the activity became legal in 1931, the site was renamed Sal Sagev, derived from reading Las Vegas backward. However, in 1955, the casino was rebranded again and got the name Golden Gate Casino, which it still holds.

The casino still works, and you can find it on Fremont Street and take part in popular table games like blackjack, roulette, craps, 3-card poker, slots, and other options. Furthermore, players can take part in various tournaments often and get a taste of other perks like fantastic dining and entertainment options.

Final Thoughts

Even though we now have virtual casinos and aren’t required to physically visit land-based venues anymore, every casino aficionado will tell you how different it feels to play games at a brick-and-mortar establishment. Moreover, if you’re lucky enough to visit the countries where some of the world’s oldest casinos stand and operate, it would be a shame not to check them out, at least for a few minutes.

So, if you’re a true casino gamer and happen to be in Venice, Monte Carlo, Baden-Baden, or any other city famous for its casinos, take some time to visit these monumental places. They are sources of local and national pride as they’ve been operating for centuries and witnessed many rich and famous people joining their game floors. 

They are also a sight to behold, with their ornate architecture and authentic interiors, which are a testament to the sophistication and glamor of a bygone era. Ultimately, they have stood the test of time, so rest assured visiting them will be an unforgettable experience.

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