Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About Casinos

Whether you’ve taken a trip to a gaming epicenter like Macau or Las Vegas, or tried your hand at casino gaming in the online realm, casinos are now firmly part of modern popular entertainment. 

In the 21st century, casino gaming is at an all-time high and both games and casino culture have worked their way into the mainstream. After all, could you imagine James Bond without Baccarat or Ocean’s 11 without the Sahara or Flamingo?  

Despite the enduring popularity of casinos, however, the genre still has some secrets hidden away to be discovered. Here, then, are a selection of surprising facts about casinos and casino games that you didn’t know about.  

The Oldest Casino in the World

Casino gaming first sprang to mainstream prominence in the fabulously fashionable cities of Itay during the late 16th and early 17th century. While games were available in taverns and gaming parlors, the first-ever full casino was established in 1638 on the Grand Canal in Venice.  

A remarkably beautiful building, the Casino di Venezia was responsible for initiating the casino craze in the city. Originally a 15th century Renaissance palace, built by the renowned architect Mauro Codussi, this casino has since kept the gaming public enthralled and entertained for over 300 years.  

Madame Dumont brings Blackjack to California

In the modern casino landscape, more and more female players are breaking through the glass ceiling and proving themselves to be world-class professionals. Women taking space at the casino isn’t a new phenomenon, however. In fact, it was a woman who brought the infinitely popular game of blackjack to the sunny shores of California.  

Originally of French origin, Eleanore Dumont became a pioneer in the new world when she set up a casino in California in 1854. The game that her casino specialized in was blackjack – one that she also built up a formidable reputation by playing, having won most of the games she played.  

Mme Dumont passed away in 1876, but she was honored centuries later, in 2006, after being nominated for the Blackjack Hall of Fame. 

Rule Changes in Roulette

Roulette is probably one of the most famous casino games of all time – it’s impossible to think of a casino without associating it with that iconic red and black wheel.  

While roulette has been immortalized in film and television, you may not know that, over the centuries, several different rule sets developed in the US, Europe and France. You’ll even find these different rules in play across the modern digital roulette landscape.  

The European rules are the most widespread, having been established during the early days of roulette, and involve playing the game on a wheel with a single zero The American rules, on the other hand, were reportedly designed to give casinos a greater house edge, so they involve playing the game on a wheel with an extra double-zero. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, French rules, meanwhile, are much like European rules but also include two further rules on outside bets: En Prison and La Partage.   

Notable Casino World Records

The nature of casino gaming means that wins can vary from double-digit figures to truly life-changing sums of money. As you might expect, over the centuries, there have been some staggering amounts won by people playing games like roulette, blackjack and slots, a number of which have gone down in history for setting all-time records.  

The current world record for a payout on a slot machine belongs to the Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas and stands at an eye-watering $39,713,982. While the world’s largest online slot payout totaled $20,062,600, back in 2015.  

The Guinness Book of World Records has also recognized the Sands Cotai Central Sheraton Ballroom casino in Macau for paying out 100,000,000 HKD (equivalent to $12,890,500 in 2015) to Lin Hasain in the game of baccarat.  

Other casino world record holders include:  

  • Casino Du Liban, Lebanon – World’s Largest Roulette Wheel (87 m2 diameter) 
  • Viejas Casino, California – World’s Largest Functional Blackjack Table (206.85 m2) 
  • Joanna Dodd, Las Vegas – World’s Oldest Croupier  
  • Muckleshoot Casino, Washington – World’s Largest Slot Machine Tournament (3,173 players)

  • Featured Image Credit: Pxhere