When you think of gambling, the likes of Amazonslots Casino or Las Vegas comes to mind, but the history of casinos stretches much further back than the last century.
There are a handful of historical gems across the globe that justify packing your overnight bag and jetting away to these glamorous venues to try your luck.
Casino di Venezia (1638)
Casino di Venezia is the oldest casino in the world and is situated in Venice on the Grand Canal. Opening its doors in 1638, it started out as Theatre Saint Moses, a theatre with a wing dedicated to gambling during play intermissions. This Renaissance building was constructed by Italian architect Mauro Codussi in the 15th century. The casino wing helped spark a craze in Venice, and by 1744, there were over 120 casinos. After its conversion to a full Casino, it was originally called Ca’Vendramin Calergi and eventually became home to Italian Royalty. The German composer Richard Wagner also used it as a breakaway destination from 1858 up to his death in 1883.
In 1946 the city of Venice acquired the building, renovated it, and opened a casino in 1959. Today the property features a private garden that overlooks the famous Grand Canal, a restaurant named Wagner that honours the German composer, as well as a museum dedicated to his life. A ferry shuttle service delivers guests right to the French-designed doors that lead into the casino. It has often been used as a movie set, featured in the James Bond movie Casino Royale and hosted events during the Venice Film Festival on several occasions. With Crystal chandeliers, vintage mirrors from Murano glassmakers and felt ropes as handrails on the staircase, it is a perfect example of old-school Italian craftsmanship and design.
The Casino di Venezia offers hundreds of different ways to gamble, from roulette to blackjack, all hosted by tuxedo-clad dealers. Many pro tournaments are held here, including the World Poker Tour, and the casino boasts more than 600 slot machines on the floor. It has been said that the city of Venice is so illustrious and wonderful that it’s almost like eating a whole box of liqueur chocolates all at once!
Casino de Spa (1763)
This Belgian casino was originally built in 1763 but then partially destroyed during World War I due to a fire and was rebuilt in 1918 and later completely renovated during the 1980s. It is located a short 20-minute drive from Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, famous for hosting Formula One races.
The casino has been modernised to offer visitors and players all the amenities that you would associate with a contemporary gaming house. Featuring 103 slots and a number of table games, including Dice Jack, Hold’em Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker and Blackjack. They have also partnered with a leading gaming provider, Evolution Gaming, which has enabled them to enter the virtual world and host their now famous Dual Play Live Roulette game.
Casino de Monte Carlo (1863)
When you find yourself in Monaco, visiting the legendary gold and marble Casino de Monte Carlo, Europe’s most elaborate sample of belle époque architecture, is essential. The casino’s development was led by Prince Charles III in 1863 and named in his honour at completion in 1866. This grand casino, designed by Charles Garnier, served as Ian Fleming’s inspiration for the initial Bond book Casino Royale. It was featured in the James Bond films “Goldeneye” and “Never Say Never Again”.
The building is open for visitors every morning from 9 am, but after 2 pm, a strict admission rule prohibits under 18’s from entering when gambling commences. Salle Europe, the main gaming room, hosts European and English roulette, Texas Hold ‘m poker, Blackjack, and baccarat. The two other salons, Salle Amérique and Salle Renaissance, are open to the general public for slot machine gambling. To access the more exclusive salon privés table games, you will need to be a frequent client of the casino and adhere to a strict dress code, including a jacket and tie.
Whether you are a gambling fanatic or a history buff, add these historical gems to your travelling itinerary, and you might just get lucky!