Casino Facts and Trivia
No two casinos are exactly alike. Some casinos embrace Old World opulence and class: the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo is a prime example. Others, such as those on the Las Vegas Strip, opt for bolder, brasher and more extravagant themes. All casinos, however, are bound together by what goes on inside: thrilling, high-stakes games, where players can win—or lose—it all.
Casinos are undoubtedly fascinating places, but how much do you really know about them? Check out our list of casino facts and trivia to find out more—some of these facts will certainly surprise you!
1. The first casino in the world was the Ridotto in Venice.
In the 1600s, games of chance had sprung up on the streets of Venice. The city's Grand Council realised that it could not prevent its citizens from gambling on these games, so it decided instead to create the world's first casino, the Ridotto (meaning “private room”), which opened in 1638. Though the original casino was closed in 1774, the city's casino tradition lived on, and today's Casinò di Venezia traces its roots to the original Ridotto, which was housed in the same building.
2. The world's top casino city isn't where you might expect...
Think that Las Vegas is the world capital of gambling? Think again! Sin City has now been overtaken by Macau in China, which now boasts 33 different casinos. In August 2017 alone, Macau's casinos took in the equivalent of £2.15 billion in revenue—and those figures are still growing rapidly.
3. ...and it also has the world's largest casino.
Where else would you find the world's largest casino than in the world's biggest casino city? The Venetian Macao is not only the biggest casino on Earth, but also the world's seventh-largest building by floor area, coming in at a colossal 10,500,000 square feet!
4. Casinos (mostly) don't have clocks.
Casino design is something of a psychological affair. Casinos, naturally, want you to spend as much time—and money—inside as possible. It's for this reason that most casinos don't have clocks, meaning that players lose track of time. However, this isn't quite a hard-and-fast rule: one of Las Vegas' most profitable casinos, the Bellagio, purposely eschews most principles of typical casino design, and includes clocks.
5. Online casinos have been around for over two decades.
As is often the case with the earliest days of the internet, there's some uncertainty surrounding which was the first online casino. There are two main competing claims to the title: InterCasino, a site which still exists to this day, and The Gaming Club. It's hard to establish which came first, but both were definitely around by 1996. Though the Gaming Club is no longer with us, it was actually created by Microgaming, who have since become one of the world's powerhouse software providers, creating a vast array of different online slot games. Check out our guide to the different bingo software providers to learn more!
6. Slot machines are the most popular casino games.
This one won't come as a surprise to anyone who's ever played in a casino, either on land or online: slot machines and video poker are the most popular casino games around. In a survey, 61% of casino visitors chose slots as their favourite casino games, followed by blackjack and roulette. This popularity has carried over to the internet, with slots being created with a number of different themes, from game show slots to sports-themed slots, and even some downright weird slots. However, whilst slots dominate casinos in the West, baccarat is king in Asia.
7. One man sold all his possessions and bet it all on a single spin.
While playing casino games, we've probably all taken a few risks every now and then. However, none are quite so daring as the one taken by Ashley Revell from Kent. He sold everything he owned—including all of his clothes—and bet the entire amount, $135,000, on a single spin of the roulette wheel. He bet on red—and, luckily, won, doubling his money to $270,000.
8. Gambling in Las Vegas kept FedEx alive.
Nowadays, FedEx is one of the world's largest delivery companies, with operations spanning the globe. However, in the 1970s, the company was struggling to deal with skyrocketing oil prices, and was down to its last $5,000. The company's CEO Fred Smith took the money to Las Vegas, where he gambled the $5,000 and ended up winning $27,000. The winnings gave the company enough money to continue operating for a few more days, by which point Smith had managed to secure some big investments. We owe it all to Vegas!
9. The word casino comes from Italian.
Given that the world's first casino was in Venice, you may well have guessed this fact already! Casino comes from the Italian word casa, meaning house, and originally referred to villas or summerhouses. However, if you decide to visit a casino whilst on holiday to Italy, be very careful. The Italian word casinò must have an accent—a casino (without an accent) is a very different kind of establishment!
10. Citizens of Monaco aren't allowed to gamble in their own casinos!
Finally, we'll end on one of the more bizarre casino facts. The tiny principality of Monaco is well known for its status as a playground for the world's rich and famous, with its annual Formula One Grand Prix and, of course, the world-famous Casino de Monte-Carlo. However, citizens of Monaco are banned from gambling in their country's casinos. They're not even allowed inside the gaming rooms unless they work there, with ID being checked on the door. This is because the casino was created specifically for foreigners as a money-spinner for the Monégasque state.
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