Why Is It Called a Casino

It has been called a nook, a bank, a belvedere, a dive / a gazebo, a gambling hall, a gaming club, a gambling joint, a gambling den, and a saloon. / Kiosk, pavilion, summerhouse, clubhouse, honk-tonk, dice joint, track, the races, betting house, betting parlor, and an arcade. You can find it in a public building or a room for entertainment, including gambling. It’s typically open from the evening until early morning; many are open 24/7. And there are over 9,330 of them in the world. But Why Is It Called a Casino?

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In ancient Rome, in the 6th century BC, the so-called Circus was created – a public place where visitors played craps and made money bets. But, of course, the Roman circus was mainly known as one of the leading entertainment sites of the time. Circuses were venues for chariot races, horse races, and gladiator combats.

Italy Is Where The Word Came From

The 1600s in Italy is when our search for the answer to the question – Why Is It Called a Casino?

In Roll, the Bones: The History of Gambling, author David Schwartz reports, “Originally, it was a gathering place, a clubhouse. But, Casini soon became a center for gossip and gambling.” “casino” comes from the Italian word “a small house.”

Before opening the first legal casino, private gambling houses were for the wealthy. The house entertainment included dancing and music, and the hosts also provided meals and drinks. Venice had sowed the seeds of the first casinos.

An informal class structure of rich and poor in the bustling trade city of Venice, Italy, produced the venue for the upper class’s gambling. They were called ridotti.

Venice, Italy, is the foundation of the modern gambling hall.

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.”

There always were specific rules to follow:

  1. The visitors had to follow a particular dress code (I imagine shorts and Hawaiian shirts were not on the list);
  2. There were behavior patterns to abide by;
  3. The players had to order some specific dishes from the menu.

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.”

The Il Ridotto Casino was famous for amusing people with gambling during the renowned Venetian carnival. Only the privileged people were allowed to enter the gambling establishment. Il Ridotto’s existence benefited the state because it had to pay high taxes on its activities.

However, the negative attitude of the church towards this kind of amusement forced the government to make gambling illegal. Due to these laws, the first official casino in the world, Il Ridotto, was closed.

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

Casinos began to spread rapidly outside Italy. In France, the first casino opened in Paris, thanks to Cardinal Mazarin, who hoped to replenish the state treasury with the help of taxes from the gambling business. This casino contained a novelty not seen before – the roulette game, which quickly gained popularity among many players.

Rhode Island Had Casinos Before 1900?

Yes. Rhode Island had casinos for over a hundred years before Twin River Casino and Newport Grand Slots (later closed for a new facility in Tiverton, RI). But they were pretty different from today’s gambling halls.

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 precisely a place for gambling. However, new York millionaires established Newport, Rhode Island, as a premier summer resort. Consequently, the Newport Casino quickly became Newport’s social center.

Related Post – A List of the Casino Industry’s Largest

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

Tennis, anyone? Newport Casino

Did You Know – In 1906, the first casino in Las Vegas, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, opened its doors to the public.

Well, It’s 2022Summary

We have answered the question Why Is It Called a Casino? Nowadays, you can go to the casino without a clubhouse or physical structure. All it takes is to open up your laptop. I guess online casinos are the virtual ridotti of today. But, of course, you’re on your own for food and drinks.

In 20 years, what will the word “casino” describe? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Binbin