The Oldest Casinos in the World
Gambling games have been popular among different peoples for several millennia because the competitive spirit is typical in human nature. Of course, through time, land-based casinos emerged where thousands of people gathered to play dice, baccarat, poker, roulette, and other money games. Many of them have existed for several centuries, and to this day, millions of gambling fans visit them. Let’s take a look at famous gambling venues, discover the oldest casino in the world, and find out why they have been so popular across the centuries.
Top and Most Famous Oldest Casinos in the World
In general, everything is simple: the oldest casinos remain popular because they offer a unique gambling experience. These gambling venues combine beautiful architecture and exciting stories of events that have ever taken place within their walls. The casinos listed below have had their doors open to this day. Visiting them is worthwhile not only because of the opportunity to play for real money; you can also enjoy their ancient halls and luxury.
Casinò di Venezia in Italy, 1638
One of the oldest casinos appeared in Venice, on the famous channel between the lagoon islands, also known as the Grand Canal. It was initially the Theater of St. Moses, where visitors could gamble in a separate hall during intermissions; this made Venice one of the world’s casino centers in the 18th century.
By 1744, more than 120 gambling venues were in the city.
The building hosting a casino is a Renaissance palace built in the 15th century by the Italian architect Mauro Codussi. The Italian nobleman and art collector Andrea Loredan commissioned the construction. The ceilings and walls are decorated with frescoes and paintings created by the best masters of the country: Giovanni Battista Crosato, Mattia Bortoloni, and Palma il Giovane. By the way, many objects have survived in the building to this day.
Until 1946 when the building became owned by the city, it housed the royal family, and after them, the German composer, Richard Wagner, lived there. Officially the casino was launched in 1959, and now it offers more than 600 slot machines, as well as many poker, roulette, and blackjack tables. Moreover, the casino regularly hosts professional gambling tournaments such as the World Poker Tour.
The hotel has a restaurant, a museum dedicated to the composer Wagner, and a private garden with a beautiful view of the Grand Canal. The halls of one of the oldest casinos in the world are decorated with crystal chandeliers and antique Murano glass mirrors.
Casino de Spa in Belgium, 1763
The palace that hosts the casino was designed by Barthélemy Dinieff. Among all the casinos listed here, this structure is the least pretentious to be one of the oldest, as, in 1807, the building was almost completely destroyed by fire. In the early 20th century, the casino was reconstructed, but during World War I, when the Germans occupied the local land, in 1917, there was another great fire. It took almost 10 years to restore the building.
The Casino de Spa doesn’t have a pristine appearance; however, it has a rich and complicated history. Opened in 1763, this venue was the first to combine a spa and a casino, which is symbolic since the city was actively visited by tourists from all over the world back in the 14th century because there were springs of healing waters.
Crockford’s Club, 1823
Since the gambling industry is very developed in the United Kingdom, and London is famous for its historical buildings, it is not surprising that there is a casino claiming to be one of the oldest in the world. It opened in 1823 and was initially used as a gentlemen’s club: for many years, people of great influence and famous politicians visited it. The casino was closed and reopened twice:
- The first one was in 1845.
- The second was in 1970, after being founded anew in 1928.
The building was converted into a bridge club with roulette, blackjack, and chemin-de-fer games during the last opening.
Kurhaus Casino of Baden-Baden in Germany, 1824
This is the oldest casino in Germany, located in the resort town of Baden-Baden. Thousands of gamblers from different countries began to visit this venue after the law prohibited gambling in France in the 1830s.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky visited the Kurhaus Casino several times to play roulette; this place inspired his novel The Gambler. Marlene Dietrich also loved to spend time there, hailing it as one of the most beautiful casinos in the world.
The building was designed in 1824 by Friedrich Weinbrenner in the neoclassical style; it retains an interior reminiscent of French royal palaces. Massive and expensive chandeliers, furniture made of gold and mahogany, and game rooms with high ceilings: this is the atmosphere where you can play blackjack, roulette, and poker. In addition to casino halls, the complex includes a spa and many galleries and rooms for concerts, parties, and conferences.
Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco, 1856
This venue is not the oldest but one of the most recognizable, as it was the setting for the Ocean’s Twelve movie. The initiator of the venue erection was Princess Marie Caroline Gibert de Lametz of Monaco; the casino was initially founded to finance the ruling family after they lost power over the regions that paid them taxes.
Construction began in 1854, and two years later, the casino opened its doors to the first visitors. The beginning was not easy, but already in 1859, the Monte Carlo casino began to bring good profits.
The modern name appeared in 1863; initially, the casino was called Les Spelugues.
In 1878-1879, architects Charles Garnier and Jules Dutroux carried out work to expand the building; as a result, a concert hall and new gaming rooms were added. Although the Monte Carlo casino has completed many redesigns, the building retains the inimitable beaux-arts style that Garnier had a hand in creating.
The Oldest Casinos in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is the world’s largest gambling and entertainment center; more than 80 casinos are located in hotels or resort complexes. Many of them have been in operation for decades and have completed significant renovations and changes in ownership over time.
Golden Gate Casino, the Oldest Casino in Las Vegas
The oldest casino in the USA, located in Las Vegas, was opened in 1906.
However, it operated for only three years, as in 1909, the venue was closed due to a law banning gambling in the United States. The casino didn’t reopen until 1931. By the way, it was the first hotel in Las Vegas to have running water and a telephone.
|Opening Date||January 13, 1906|
Although Golden Gate Casino came into existence earlier, it stopped its activities for 25 years. Accordingly, El Cortez is considered the oldest LV gambling venue, running without closings. It is also the first major resort in Las Vegas. J.C. Grayson and Marion Hicks were responsible for the building construction.
Despite its remoteness from the city center, the casino was popular and profitable. Seeing its great potential, mobsters Moe Sedway, Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, and Gus Greenbaum purchased El Cortez for $600,000.
It is one of the few structures in which the facade has remained unchanged since its opening; even after reconstruction in 1952, it retained its ranch-style architecture.
|Opening Date||November 7, 1941|
It is a casino based on a hotel that opened in 1946; this iconic Las Vegas venue was initially owned by a mobster named Guy McAfee. Several people owned the hotel for years, including Steve Wynn and Jackie Gaughan. In 2003, the Poster Group acquired the casino, which increased the betting limits on table games to $15,000 and brought in other innovations.
|Opening Date||August 30, 1946|
The hotel has been in operation since 1946, and it is the third resort with a casino to be built on the Las Vegas Strip. It was owned by members of the American Mafia, which was remarkable for many gambling venues of those years.
In the final stages of construction, Bugsy Siegel and his partners invested a lot of money in it.
There is speculation that Bugsy named the hotel after his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, who had long, slender legs and loved gambling.
After Bugsy’s death, the casino was taken over by Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway. They owned the El Cortez Hotel next door.
|Opening Date||December 26, 1946|
Another oldest casino for US players, located on the base of the hotel. It has been closed many times; for example, in 2001, it became unprofitable to maintain the venue, and it was closed until 2004. Unfortunately, after the renovation of the building, the original interior in the Moroccan style of the Sahara was lost. However, despite the modern look of the complex, the gaming rooms have retained references to the former theme.
|Opening Date||October 7, 1952|
This casino was erected in 1957 by Ben Jaffe, who had previously owned the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel. He set the goal to open the best complex in Las Vegas and believed the Cuban style would be the best for this venue. In the late 1970s, the Civella clan mafia was laundering money from the Tropicana’s box office through the owner of Tropicana’s Folies Bergere show, Joe Agosto.
|Opening Date||April 4, 1957|
The modern casino opened in 2007 on the site of an old hotel with gambling halls called the Aladdin, founded back in 1962. It was initially called Tallyho, but in 1966, it was bought by Milton Prell, who managed to get a casino license, and after that, gaming halls appeared there. The building of one of the oldest casinos was restored, creating an atmosphere of Arabian nights and called the Aladdin. However, in 1997, the hotel was closed and completely demolished, and in 2007, the modern Planet Hollywood appeared.
The name hints that visitors will not just visit the chambers, similar to those where Caesar lived, but will feel like an emperor of the Roman Empire; that’s why there is no apostrophe.
Caesars Palace is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Las Vegas. It was built in 1966, and its founder was Jay Sarno. It is one of the favorite casinos for high rollers who prefer to play with high stakes.
|Opening Date||August 5, 1966|
The casino had been operating in this building even before the hotel. However, from the beginning, owner, Jay Sarno, faced financial difficulties because, due to the lack of rooms, it was not possible to accommodate players at the base of the complex, which badly affected attendance.
Circus Circus has the largest stationary dome in the world.
After a while, a hotel was built on the casino property, but Sarno borrowed the money to build it from the Teamsters’ pension fund. Because of this, local authorities opened an investigation, and Jay had to sell the gambling business.
|Opening Date||October 18, 1968|
The LINQ Hotel & Casino
The Asian-style building was erected in 1959 and initially housed only a motel; at first, it was a part of the Flamingo property and was called Flamingo Capri. The casino appeared in 1972, and a few years later, the motel was given hotel status and called Imperial Palace. In 2012, the palace was renamed The Quad Resort and Casino, and in 2014 it received its current name.
From 1973 to 1992, it was called Holiday Casino — a small complex built in the style of riverboats. After it was renovated and sold to a new owner, the venue got a Mardi Gras carnival theme. Caesars Entertainment has many similar hotels around the country, but this one is the flagship.
|Opening Date||July 2, 1973|
Other Oldest Casinos All Over the World
Above there were the top and most popular gambling venues, built tens and hundreds of years ago and working to this day. However, there are other oldest casinos in the world, operating since the end of the 20th century.
Sun City, South Africa
The entertainment resort is located 140 kilometers from Johannesburg, near the town of Rustenburg. It was built in 1979 at the initiative of tycoon Sol Kerzner, who owns the Sun International group of hotels.
The casino borders the Pilanesberg National Park, and the property contains four theme resorts in total. The hotel has hosted many celebrities, including Elton John, Rod Stewart, and Frank Sinatra.
Viña del Mar, Chile
The idea to build the best casino in Chile began in 1928, and the official opening took place on December 31, 1930. The 74,000-square-foot building is located near Valparaiso in Viña del Mar; it is built in the Art Deco style and is surrounded by lush gardens.
The Sky Kids movie with Antonio Banderas was filmed at the complex.
The gaming halls house 1,500 slots and video poker machines, more than 80 gaming tables, and two poker tables. Major competitions, such as the 2015 Latin American Poker Tour, are often held there. In addition to the casino, the hotel includes large fitness and spa centers, a swimming pool, five restaurants, bars, and the Ovo nightclub. The company that owns the Viña del Mar Resort has been in business since 1975.
Hotel Lisboa, Macao
Macao is one of the world’s largest gambling entertainment centers and a worthy competitor to Las Vegas. The founding father of gambling in this region was Stanley Ho, who opened his first Casino Lisboa in 1970 in the hotel complex. The Grand Lisboa building, built in 2006, is shaped like a flower and can be seen miles away from virtually anywhere in the city.
The hotel contains more than 2,300 rooms, a two-story spa, a heated outdoor pool, and an art gallery. And the gaming area is spread over four floors and includes more than 230 game tables for roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and poker. There is even a separate area for VIP players.
Wrest Point Casino, Australia
It is the first casino in the country that was licensed, located in the tallest octagonal building in Hobart. Wrest Point was founded by several hotel owners in Australia who believed that gambling would increase the flow of tourists to Tasmania. In 1968, a referendum was held at the state level, and 53% supported the idea of building a gambling venue.
Today, the hotel complex, which is home to one of the oldest casinos in the world, is a cultural heritage site. The most expensive rooms are in the 17-story tower with a revolving restaurant, The Point, which offers a panoramic view of the state capital. There are over 650 slot machines; blackjack, poker, and roulette tables are also available.
Past Experience for Future Development
Visiting old casinos provides gamblers with a unique gaming experience; you can feel the atmosphere of the past when royalty, composers, actors, musicians, and other elite played in these luxurious halls. Not all venues have this exciting history, but they can push the boundaries based on the experience of the old casinos.
The desire for gambling is typical for people, so this sphere will continue to develop, as it is an integral part of the culture of different people. These developments, such as Live sections with live dealers or VR and AR technologies, make modern gambling more accessible and captivating.