Where The Word Casino Came From

Today NETimeGambling begins a series of shorter posts. These posts are designed to be brief answers to brief questions. They are Quick Hits – Q & A. So, today, we look into Where The Word Casino Came From.

In Roll, the Bones: The History of Gambling, author David Schwartz reports, “Originally, a casino was a gathering place, a clubhouse. Casini soon became centers for gossip and gambling.” So,

Italy Is Where The Word Casino Came FromBut There’s More

Venice, Italy is the foundation of the modern casino. 1600’s Italy is the beginning of our answer.

An informal class structure of rich and poor in the bustling trade city of Venice, Italy, produced two venues for gambling. Upper classes gambled in ridotti.

Where did the Word Casino Come From
The Ridotto, by Giuseppe de Gobbis, Venice, c. 1760

According to Las Vegas Advisor, “[ridotti] were private places that hosted the aristocracy for eating and drinking, dancing, and participating in their games of chance.”

The Venice aristocracy began to transform the ridotti. Ridotti began to include employ dealers and offer banked games. The “house” also began to take a piece of the action to profit from hosting.

Grazie Venizia Italia (Thank You Venice, Italy)

The Great Council of Venice, in 1638, finally approved the San Moise Palace, known as the Ridotto (singular of ridotti). In Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling, author David Schwartz calls it “the first legal state-sanctioned public gambling house in European history.” That is Where the Word Casino Came From. Et voila! (there it is!)

Where did the Word Casino Come From
“Roll the Bones” by Dr. David Schwartz

However, William Sharra also points out, “…in modern Italian, “casino” means brothel (or a mess). The modern Italian word for a casino is casino`. The accent makes a subtle but important difference, especially if you plan to visit Italy shortly!

Rhode Island Had Casinos Before 1900?

Yes. Rhode Island had casinos more than a hundred years before Twin River Casino and Newport Grand (later closed and is now the Tiverton Casino). But they were quite different.


Where did the Word Casino Come From
Newport Casino during the Gilded Age

One of Newport, Rhode Island’s many architectural landmarks is the Newport Casino. In 19th century terminology, a casino was a social and recreational facility, not specifically a place for gambling. New York millionaires established Newport, Rhode Island, as a premier summer resort. Consequently, the Newport Casino quickly became Newport’s social center.

The building offered a wide variety of amenities – a restaurant, a ballroom, a theater, and tennis courts. Ultimately, the casino would play an important role in American tennis history. In 1987, Newport Casino became a National Historic Landmark

Tennis, anyone? Newport Casino