Casinò di Venezia - The World’s Oldest Casino
Gambling is a concept which has been around for centuries, with records of games being played for either money or goods in civilisations across the world as far back as 2300 B.C. (China).
But the idea of playing games in a purpose-built venue, such as a casino, is a far more modern concept.
The word ‘casino’ is derived from ‘cascina’ meaning ‘little house’ in Italian and it is in Italy where the first-known casinos were built, specifically in Venice.
Although there would have been others built around the same time, the Casinò di Venezia is widely regarded as the oldest casino in the world, having opened in 1638, and it is still in operation today.
A beautiful building with classical Venetian architecture, the Casinò di Venezia continues to attract the wealthiest patrons from across the globe.
The façade sits right on the Grand Canal, whilst the exquisite architectural features continue to the interior, with antique chandeliers and sculptures helping to create a unique ambiance.
- The Casinò di Venezia was first built in 1509 as a house for Venetian nobility
- Construction began as early as 1481 and took two architects – Mauro Codussi and, following his death, Bottega dei Lombardo to complete it
- Known locally as “Non Nobis Domine” (translating to “Not unto us, O Lord”), which is engraved in the stone underneath a ground-floor window
- German composer Richard Wagner died here in 1883. Today you can tour his suite, which has been filled with musical scores and memorabilia
- Ca' Noghera was the first Italian casino to offer American-style games when it opened in the late 1990s
- The Casinò di Venezia comprises two venues, the Ca' Vendramin Calergi and the Ca' Noghera
- There are 600 slot machines, as well as rooms for more sophisticated French and American gaming tables, such as Chemin de Fer, and Texas hold ‘em poker
- The total jackpot up for grabs between the two venues of Casinò di Venezia is €3,099,192
- You can take the casino’s free water-taxi ride from Piazzale Roma
Although the Casinò di Venezia is generally considered to be the oldest operational casino, there are a few contenders from other European cities which are worth a mention.
In Germany, there’s the Casino Wiesbaden, a stunning structure reminiscent of an ancient Greek temple which can be traced back to the time of the Roman Empire. Filled with statues and other decoration from Greek mythology, it is the juxtaposition of vintage interiors with state-of-the-art slot machines and games rooms, which give the Casino Wiesbaden its timeless appeal. However despite the building’s obvious heritage, the casino itself was originally built in 1810, 172 years after the Casinò di Venezia.
London’s Crockford’s Club started life as a gentleman’s club in 1828 and is still a member’s-only establishment, frequented only by the very upper echelons of high society. It is famously luxurious, and discreet, and is rumoured to have been the scene of many political decisions over the years. It is thought that gambling took place at the Crockford’s Club much earlier than 1828, but there are no records to verify its earliest use as a casino prior to its official opening.
Last but not least, the French Casino de Monte Carlo was built in 1856, and is familiar to film buffs as the backdrop to several movies including Ocean’s Twelve, Goldeneye and Casino Royale. A majestic structure which attracts prestigious clientele, the casino was conceived by Princess Caroline as a business venture intended to save the House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy. Until recently, it was the main source of income for the Grimaldi line.
If all this talk of casinos has whet your appetite, head over to one of our partner sites, such as Prospect Hall Casino, and check out our selection of online casino games from the comfort of your own home.
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