The evolution of casino games throughout history

Published on April 3, 2017 in Industry News

Oldest Casino Games Cover ImageSince the beginning of time man has gambled on almost anything you could think of including the outcomes of wars. Casino games have a fascinating history and gambling itself has existed for many centuries.
 

“According to research, it would suggest that forms of gambling had been established in 2300 BC.”
 

Over the years, casino games have been one of the biggest sources of entertainment and more recently it has evolved and become an even bigger trend with the help of the latest technology and the birth of mobile gambling.

The first known European gambling house was the Ridotto, established in Venice, Italy back in 1638. Although it wasn’t known specifically as a casino, it served the same purpose and was established by the Great Council of Venice, providing players with a controlled gambling experience during the Carnival season. Over the years, casino games have been changed and adapted in order to please the masses.
 

The 5 oldest casino games

The oldest casino games, as indicated below, have not only managed to stand the test of time but have also managed to nestle themselves deep into the hearts of players young and old, and by doing so cemented their position in the casino industry.
 

Craps

The oldest known casino game, Craps, was invented by Sir William of Tyre during the Crusades in 1125 AD. Sir William and his troops came across a castle named “Asart” or “Hazarth” and while barricading the castle they’d play Hazard, named after the castle. Others believe the game originated from Al Zar, an Arabic dice game that was brought to Europe by merchants in the 12th Century. It was believed that a Frenchman changed the name to “Craps” to separate them from the Englishmen. John H. Winn developed the game in the 19th Century into the modern version we are accustomed to today.
 

Blackjack

Blackjack was derived from a game with an unknown origin called Twenty-One. The first found reference to the game was in the writings of Spanish author, Miguel de Cervantes, famous for writing Don Quixote. In his tale “Rinconete y Cortadillo”, from Novellas Ejemplares, Cervantes tells the story of a couple of cheats working in Seville. The characters have mastered the skill of cheating at Ventiuna (Twenty-One). Miguel de Cervantes was quite the gambler himself and the story was written somewhere between 1601 and 1602. According to these dates the game had been played since the beginning of the 17th century.
 

Roulette

Roulette has been a favourite for many centuries. According to legendary tales from the past, ancient Romans spun their chariot wheels to reveal the winnings symbols/numbers in this fascinating game of chance. The proper shaping of the game that made its way into casinos (and the hearts of players all over the world) was in France. According to origin stories there was a famous French mathematician and scientist named Blaise Pascal who went on a retreat and spent leisure time gambling in a Parisian casino. It was from there that he created the original roulette game back in 1657.
 

Poker

For years, casino players have enjoyed a fun game of Poker - also known as the Bragging Game when translated to the German, ”Pochspiel”. An interesting thing about Poker is that its development can be linked to the historical movement during which commercial gambling was invented. It all dated back to 1829 when an English Actor, Joseph Crowell, reported a game of Poker being played in New Orleans. According to Crowell the game was played with a deck of 20 cards and four players, these gamblers were betting on which player held the most valuable hand of cards in their possession.
 

Slots

The pioneer of the modern slot machine was developed back in 1891 by Sittman and Pitt of Brooklyn, New York. The game was based on Poker and had five drums holding a total of 50 card faces. The machine was an instant hit and in no time there were one or more in the majority of bars across the city. People would insert a nickel and pull the lever which would spin the drums in hope of it coming to a stop on a good poker hand. With no direct pay-out mechanisms available players had to settle for drinks and cigarettes as prizes. These machines soon evolved into the amazing video and online versions we enjoy today.
 

Infographic Oldest Casino Games

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