A casino is a place where the elite, dress in Tux, with a cigar in their mouth, gamble and break the bank. Well! That’s what is stuck in our minds when someone says the word “Casino”.
Most of us have visited a casino, some claim to know all about it giving the references to the movies we watched. For instance, James Bond or Ocean series, where they show a lavish place, full of rich and glamorous people, who seems like they were born with a golden spoon in their mouth. They gamble millions without any hassle, party with pretty ladies. All this luxury arouses curiosity among common people that ultimately, leads to the door of casinos.
Origin of the word casino
Casinos are often associated with the Sin City “Vegas”, but its roots are vague and untraceable. Some remnants showed their origin in ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Indian cultures, whereas some show Greek origin. However, recent research shows that casinos were originated in Europe. These clues show various origins of the word “Casino”, however the most authentic is the European.
The Italian origin of the word casino
Rolling back to the 15th century, when gambling was carried out in the northern part of Italy. The commoners used to gamble in the streets, whereas, elite gambled in a private place called Ridotti. Then in the 16th century, it gained immense popularity among the rich people and it gained the status of “gambling house for nobility”, where they gambling and get profits by betting a hefty amount, and these bets were hosted by various dealers in the Ridotti.
1638, the year when the Great Council of Venice legalized a venue for gambling, named Ridotto, in San Moise Palace, Venice. David Schwartz quoted in his book, The Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling that, “ it was the first legally sanctioned place by the government, where rich people can openly gamble”
However, Riditto was closed for good, as most rich people became addicted to gambling, and lost their fortune to it. . Then the culture of gambling moved toward the casino, which literally means “a little house”.
The word “casino” was originated in Italy, from “Casa”, Italians add the suffix “ino” to the end of nouns. This meaning was used in the 16th century, later it changed to something else, like a social club, villa, or party house. Most casino games were thought to originate in the same century, way before hitting the lights of Sin City Vegas.
Before the twentieth century, casinos were not so pompous and grandeur as shown in the movies. Gambling was illegal back then, and it was usually done in private clubs or illegal dens. An aphorism for gambling used back then was “Game of gentlemen”. In the 1800s, Casinos were just private dancing clubs, reserved for entertainment and dancing, rather than gambling.
Now the question arises, how does gambling enter these little Italian houses?
We are well aware of the fact that Italians are extroverts, the country houses now called casinos were their go-to place, where they usually dance, get drunk, play cards, and gamble illegally. Then eventually, gambling evolved into a sport, hence shaped its way to the international markets.
The First European Casino was opened in Venice, in 1638, it was a big trading port where people used to gamble and take huge risks. It paved the way for casinos to spread worldwide. The earliest casinos were similar to existing ones, the only difference is that these days the casinos flaunt luxury and wealth, attached to stellar hotels or party houses.
Gambling has become a crucial part of Italy’s market for centuries. It had reached around € 100 billion, since 2018 and still increasing. Now the term “Little House” doesn’t seem appropriate.
The Cuban origin of the word casino
The word casino has Cuban roots as well. It is perhaps related to the halls where the legendary Cuban partner dance is performed, which is somewhat similar to cha-cha, salsa, and mambo. MGM Grand has made Cuban partner dance, tremendously popular among other cultures, since its opening in 50’. The same dance is performed in groups in MGM also called“Casino Rueda”. The dance depicts masculinity and bravado, which is ubiquitous in the casinos, and that’s how it got the name “Casino Deportivos”, which means a Latin dance hall, where Cuban spend their leisure time with friends.
The American origin of the word casino
In America, gambling was often carried out in the place called “Saloons”. The majority of the saloons were present in Chicago, New Orleans, and St. Louis. Saloons were usually situated along the roadside of the major routes in these cities, the travelers meet different people, gamble, drink, and talk to other people there. Then the concept of casino traveled from Europe to America in the early 20th century and it was legalized in Nevada, which is now known as the capital of casinos. Then in Atlantic city, new jersey, which is known as the second biggest gambling spot in the world.
Movies like Casino (dir. Martin Scorsese, 1995), James bond series and Hangover, portrays the gleaming and luxurious life of gamblers in Las Vegas. Those expensive Tuxedos, outrageous outfits, with classy drinks imprinted a glamorous image of casinos in our minds. Perhaps, the notion of traditional casino’s evolution has advanced over time, most of the casinos now provide services online as well. Many took benefits of online casinos and won big money, bonus, and free spins.
Casinos are all about having fun, while traditional players quibble about casino’s evolution, it is highly appreciable, that entertainment of Crème de la crème can be enjoyed by commoners.
This term has a thriving journey from rural areas of Italy, to the riches of Vegas to online gaming. A Las Vegas is known to be the capital of casinos and gambling, it still can’t claim the history of the word casino. The word has gone through various meanings throughout history. However, the recent history of this term comes under the umbrella of gambling.