However, the history of the casino paints a much clearer picture. The modern definition of a casino was not seen until 1638, and gambling was, up until that point, done in places that were not exclusively limited to games of chance, but also other forms of entertainment, like sports, dancing, and musical performances. In 1638, the Great Council of Venice opened the Ridotto, where gambling was legalized for better regulation and control, since gambling, as aforementioned, was being performed with or without an official and legal outlet. While it was closed in 1770, the Ridotto became a benchmark. Not only was it the first casino, it also presented the precedent that a gambling house could be designated and regulated by a governing body.
Despite the first casino being established in Italy, and the word casino itself being of Italian origin, the worldwide popularity of the casino, and the image of the casino floor — with its Slot machines, specialty tables, and poker rooms — started its clear path of evolution in the United States. In New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco, saloons became the place you would go to mingle, drink, and gamble, becoming an infamous convergence of the townsfolk that can be seen in countless films and TV shows. However, in the early 20th century (presumably when they could actually attempt to enforce it), gambling became illegal in the United States, all the while the French game of Craps was being introduced to US soldiers during World War I, and Blackjack and Roulette were evolving into popular gambling options in Spain and France.
When gambling became legalized in Nevada in 1931, then in Atlantic City in 1978, as well as in Native American reservations in many states across the country, the casino grew into how we know it today, with their enormous lobbies brimming with lights, sounds, and activity that pulses with possibility. After legislation was passed in Canada in 1970, the first casino in Canada opened its doors in 1989, sparking a multibillion-dollar industry within the provinces.
When the internet was invented and introduced to households across the world, there was a need to create a reliable and secure way to transfer funds for shopping, banking, and general financial purposes. The moment cyber security was viable enough for major financial institutions, the first online casino popped up, and it was powered by Microgaming, an industry leader still today. By employing the same security measures as the largest financial institutions in the world, a practice still done in 2016, alongside third-party verification that the odds are the same online as they are in a physical casino, players took notice. Suddenly, they did not have to travel to a land-based casino to place a bet, an opportunity that has since changed the face of gambling. Now there are countless online casinos out there, each with their own unique set of offerings, and many tailored specifically towards the Canadian player.
From extremely primitive games, to brick-and-mortar gambling houses, to online casinos featuring stunning graphics, animation, and sound effects that garner the same excitement and winning potential of a physical casino, the history is a fascinating one. It is pretty incredible to imagine that two people could bet on a gladiator match thousands of years ago, and can now bet on multiple sporting events at one time from their mobile device.
Even when online gaming was first introduced, it didn’t pick up a lot of speed until the internet became a cultural necessity. When everyone started banking online, not just a small portion of the population, online casinos hit the mainstream, and thanks to continuing legislation reforms, access to the very best online casinos in the world is opening up more and more.
We’ve seen where gambling has taken us, and we can’t wait to see where it continues to go.