Top 5 Facts from Casino History


The gaming business has come a long way over the centuries to be recognised as one of the strongest pillars in the entertainment industry. The niche thrives both online and offline with hundreds of millions of people engaging in its services. 

With such high numbers, it’s no surprise some regions such as the United Kingdom, Asia, and Australia rake in billions of dollars in revenue every year from the industry. Bonuses and promotions are also offered left, right, and centre, such as in Grosvenor Casino. Punters can check it out to claim some of the tabled offers. 

The gambling business wasn’t always as it is today, and like any other industry, it has evolved to match modern-day technological advancements as well as players’ demands. Even so, the dependency of luck to win in nearly all games has not changed.

The origin of casinos is unclear and has been debated over the years, but each society in history had indulgences that surrounded games involving chance. Some of the most notable early mentions is that of Roman gladiator rings, even though they were surrounded by human death. Greeks were also heavily invested in gambling on the results of ring fights. 

The first mention of a casino setting that matches that of the current establishments can be traced back to Venice in the sixteenth century. The entity was put in place to provide controlled gambling that was common during the carnival. The designation of gambling establishments across Europe grew even with a ban on the first entity since law enforcement felt that it encouraged poverty among men. 

In the United States of America, casinos were picked up in the cities of New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco, and St. Louis. People travelled from all over the towns and even the country to engage in drinking and gambling in these establishments, which remain an attraction to date. In this piece, we veer away from the ordinary historical journey taken by casinos and focus on some facts that most people might not have realised but have shaped the business. 

  1. Las Vegas Was a Literal City of Sin

The city of Las Vegas is famously known for being the global gem of gambling with some of the most prominent casinos located along the strip. This destination is also famously known as Sin City, and the name is derived from the fact that the city is built on crime. 

Links of Las Vegas’ thriving nature and the mob is no secret, and there is even a museum dedicated to preserving elements that denote the height of crime in the region. This reputation traces as far back as the 1900s when the Wild West was truly wild. The secluded nature of the area, which happened to be in the middle of the desert, made it ideal as the breeding ground of all sorts of criminals from cattle rustlers to thieves and bandits. The wealthy members of the lot would then travel to Las Vegas to enjoy their spoils.

In the 1950s, organised crime was at its height, and the mafia began to invest heavily in the development of luxurious hotels and casinos. These establishments became famous for the lavish parties hosted by the mafia bosses with headlines by famous artists such as Elvis Presley and Dean Martin. These appearances, along with the grand nature of the events made Hollywood elite popular visitors to the city, which further added to its glamour. 

Within no time, Las Vegas became a destination for more than eight million visitors annually, and individual casinos collected profits upwards of two hundred million dollars without the inclusion of operational costs. 

However, being that the mafia was behind some of the biggest casinos, their aim was not to collect profits but instead use the entities as money laundering fronts. This operation was conducted through a system referred to as The Scheme. The technique involved the taking of untaxed money by falsifying records and rigging slot machines as well as weighing scales. At the height of their power, high-ranking members of the mob would go into counting rooms where they were prohibited by the law. 

Even with criminals running most of the gaming business in Las Vegas, the mob did not entertain street crime for a long time to ensure that tourists kept flowing in significant numbers. That way, Las Vegas exploited as much room for growth as possible, which has highly contributed to the multi-billion-dollar economy it boasts today. 

  1. Gambling was FedEx’s Rescue from Bankruptcy

FedEx undoubtedly dominates the courier industry in not only the United States but also most other parts of the world. The entity has a long history that goes back to 1971, which makes it the first-ever courier system of its kind that offered overnight deliveries. The firm came to life under Frederick Smith, who pumped his entire fortune of four million dollars and an additional ninety million from investors into it.

The business was booming for the next three years until disaster struck when the energy and fuel crisis reached devastating heights. Considering FedEx depended on planes, vans, and trucks to deliver packages, it took quite the blow. The losses began adding up to significant numbers of up to one million per month and investors started to drop out like flies. 

Before long, all that was left to FedEx’s name was five thousand dollars, which led Smith to try his luck at the tables. Even though it was a bold move, Smith enjoyed a successful blackjack round that allowed him to walk away with thirty-two thousand dollars. This amount was enough to keep the company afloat until it was able to get back on its feet. Today, FedEx boasts revenue of more than sixty-five billion dollars while Smith holds a personal fortune of 5.5 billion. 

  1. American Roulette Came out First

Roulette has been in existence since the sixteenth century, making it among the oldest games that still command a massive following today. The most common variation is European Roulette, but the original version is much similar to the American Roulette versions.

When Blaise Pascal first invented the wheel, it carried thirty-eight pockets that consisted of the numbers one to thirty-six along with two zero pockets. Hence, it was dubbed Double Zero Roulette. The European version came to rise much later in the eighteenth century.

  1. The Sandwich Was Invented in a Gambling Den

Sandwiches are some of the most enjoyed snacks across the globe with different takes on its creation in varying regions. Its origin can be traced back to John Montagu, who was a royalty and a heavy gambler. 

In 1765, when the fellow got hungry while on a winning streak, he requested the kitchen to make a meal that would not require him to use both hands to eat. Therefore, a piece of meat was placed between two slices of bread. Even though the practice might have been common elsewhere, the Earl gave it its name. 

  1. Gambling Was Illegal in Rome and Greece

Romans and Greeks are famous for being avid gamblers, but the practice was banned in the regions for a long time. If caught, one was expected to pay a fine of four times their stake. Chips were then invented to avoid getting into trouble since they could easily say they were not playing for money if guards came by. 


Casino history is riddled with a lot of elements that have shaped the industry to what it is today and goes beyond the list touched on above. Gamblers can have fun with the products of these developments, both online and offline.