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Casino History

As most people have noticed by now, in the past couple of years, internet poker is not the only online game that has bloomed, the online casino industry have become an extremely popular phenomenon as well. I therefore thought that it could be of some interest to write a little bit about the history of the casino games.

The history of casinos begins with the history of gambling. Gambling, in some form or another, has existed for countless generations. The earliest record of Chinese gambling dates all the way back to 2300 BC.

Gambling in the States

Gambling was imported to American shores by European immigrants. Card games quickly became popular among the French immigrants of New Orleans. River boats along the Mississippi were the first gambling houses in America. This was at a time when many card games, particularly poker, were still in their infancy. The first land-based casinos in America were built along the shores of the Mississippi to accommodate the settlers, merchants and travelers along the river.

America's first casino culture evolved from these casinos along the river and the popular games of craps, blackjack, poker and more spread quickly to the rest of the country via the new railroads. As settlers expanded into the American West, so did the Casino gaming industry. Gambling houses had flourished around California, Gold Rush and Nevada silver mines.

The gambling games imported by Europeans experienced innovative transformations in America. Poker was adapted from the European Three Card Monty, and the European roulette wheel was changed in American casinos to incorporate the double zero slot. The craps table also got a make over in America.


In 1887, Charles Fey invented the slot machine in San Francisco. He initially placed the machines in restaurants and gambling saloons. Everyone who saw the first slot believed it would successful, and the machines would eventually dominate the American casino industry.


During the 1930s, the gambling laws in Nevada had been loosened. Small time gambling saloons rose in the 1930s. The birth of the casino industry as we know it began when mobster Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Casino and Hotel opened in 1946. This was the first Casino to offer slot machines. The slots were initially conceived as a diversion for the wives of the gamblers but would eventually grow to account for roughly 80 percent of a casino's profit.

Through the 1950s, the Mafia controlled most of the big time casinos. New gaming laws and a U.S. Senate investigation led to the injection of the major corporations to the casino business. Howard Hughes was the first to invest in casino/hotels in Vegas with Hilton, MGM and Holiday Inn soon following his lead.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as states began to openly compete for the river boat casinos, there was a revival of land-based gambling establishments along the Mississippi River. At the same time, the first Native American tribes were granted the right to open casinos. The growth of Indian casinos in America has been astounding. The largest casino in the world, Foxwoods, is a casino run by the Pequot tribe in Connecticut

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