Gambling is almost as old as civilisation itself, and it is safe to say that the allure of a big win has drawn many of our ancestors to some version of the tables as we know them today.
The oldest casino in the world is located in Venice and was established in 1638. The Casinò di Venezia is also the final resting place of the famed composer Richard Wagner!
The first-ever reference to Blackjack can be found in a short story by Miguel de Cervantes, a Spanish writer who lived from 1547 to 1616. One of the tales in his Novelas Ejemplares, published in 1744, tells the story of two card cheats who rig games of 21 to their advantage. The fact that it had already entered the world of literature by the mid-1700s means that it was more than likely being enjoyed by players in and around Spain for a long time before that.
It eventually made its way over to The New World in the 19th century, and it was here in America that changes to it started being implemented to keep players engaged. Bonuses were found to be the best way to do this, and so a special prize came to be awarded to the card combination of a black Jack and the Ace of Spades.
The bonus eventually fell away, but the nickname didn’t, and so you will find Blackjack at almost all online and land-based casinos still operating these days.
Keno is rumoured to have been invented around the time the Great Wall of China was being constructed and was supposedly conceived as a way to raise money to build it. And while this may be more legend than fact, there is proof that the game found its way to the West in the 19th century as Chinese immigrants started making their way across the world.
The invention of the game of Roulette can be linked to a happy accident! Blaise Pascal, a physicist working in France in the 1700s, stumbled upon it while he was trying to create a perpetual motion machine.
An early version of the game as we know it today appeared in Britain in the 1720s but Roly Poly, as it was known, got banned by 1739.
The Roulette wheel as we know it today eventually started taking shape towards the end of the 18th century and began appearing in gambling establishments across France at around this time. The numbers on the wheel were inspired and copied from Biribi, a low-stakes Lotto game native to la République.
As difficult as it is to pinpoint exactly what the oldest form of gambling may be, Roulette is more than likely to be the earliest formal casino game. It adds a certain thrill to enjoying play knowing that people have been doing the same thing hundreds of years before you and will more than likely continue to do so for a long time yet!