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The evolution of casinos – from Italy to the Internet

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Long before the first casino was created, and the first slot machine spun its reels, groups would gather to place bets on the outcomes of sport and card games. As far back in history as Ancient Rome, warriors would spin their weapons in a sort of Roulette style game. In fact, dice can be traced back to ancient Egypt.

The world’s first casino, the Casino di Venezia, opened in 1638, and is situated on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Originally a theatre, the building would see crowds gather to enjoy a spot of gambling during the show’s intermissions.

So how did casinos travel from the Grand Canal to the internet in the form of online casino games – gaining and sustaining more popularity than ever?

Read on to find out.

Casinos worldwide

The 19th century saw casinos pop-up all-over Europe, after word got out about Italy’s success. The most popular games were Blackjack and Roulette, and these dominated the industry.

In 1863, the Monte Carlo Casino opened, at the request of Prince Charles of Monaco. The building became known as ‘the playground for the rich’, and would become one of the most famous casinos of all time. At this time casino gaming was only accessible to the rich – but now casinos have become more inclusive than ever, without losing the unique atmosphere and class rooted in their history.

In 1905, the Las Vegas Strip was under construction as railroad workers sought out a way to relax after a hard day of labour. This influenced the rise of gambling, in Nevada. From 1910 up until 1931, the state had outlawed gambling. But this didn’t stop these avid gamers who went to even further lengths to play – causing Vegas to acquire the taste for organised casino gaming.

Eventually, the ban was lifted and casino gaming could be regulated once more. Shortly after casinos gaming resumed, business owners began to realise the profit they could be making in the industry and as a result, the casino scene started to boom.

Slot machines

As casino gaming became more popular, slot machines were being created. From The Liberty Bell, which was the first slot machine to offer automatic payouts, – created in 1891 – to the creation of the first electromechanical slot on a 19-inch Sony TV, in 1964.

The gambling ban affected slot machines too, as they were forced to stop making cash payouts and instead rewarded winning players with sweets, drinks and fruit-flavoured gum. Fruit-themed symbols represented this adaptation on the reels, and the fruit machine became iconic. By 1976, the fruit symbols were so familiar amongst players that they remained on the first video slot, and beyond.

In 1996, the release of the game “Reel ‘Em” made history as the first video slot to feature a bonus screen round. During this time, slot machines took up around 70% of the floor space at casinos, and brought in around 70% of their income. It was around this time that the first online casino was launched.

Online casino

In 1994, the first online casinos were launched, but slow internet speeds restricted how interactive the gameplay could be. It was near impossible to transfer money over the internet too, as no one could guarantee the safety of transactions. The first real money transaction was conducted by Intercasino in 1996, and since then, the technology has continued to adapt.

With the popularity of casinos all over the world booming, and video Slots proving a hit amongst players, 1996 also saw the addition of slot games to the online casino sites that could previously only host Roulette, Blackjack and Poker.

Now, there are live, themed casino games, alongside hundreds of Slots to choose from which provide a smooth, fast-paced and immersive experience.

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