Take a Tour of the World’s Oldest Casinos

The world’s oldest casinos have stood the test of time and continue to welcome gamblers to their historic gaming rooms.

From century-year-old casinos in the Black Forest of Germany to outpost gambling houses in the Nevada desert, take a tour through some of the most historic casinos around the world.

Explore The World's Oldest Casinos With Our Unique Info-graphic.

CASINO DE MONTE CARLO - A PLAYGROUND FOR THE RICH

The glamorous Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco triumphs as a symbol of class and sophistication. The casino was built in 1856 and still attracts the world’s rich and famous to its lavish gaming halls. It was first commissioned by Princess Caroline of the House of Grimaldi who had the Casino de Monte Carlo built to save her family from financial ruin.

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Built in 1856, the Casino de Monte Carlo inspired Ian Fleming’s Royale-Les-Eaux casino in his first Bond Novel, and also appeared in many films including the 2006 James Bond flick, Casino Royale and Ocean’s Twelve.

By the 1890s, the Casino de Monte Carlo had expanded to include the Salle Garnier Concert Hall, an opera house, and the Trente-Quarante Gaming Room. It also received alterations to its façade in the Beaux-Art style, which is characterized by mosaics, balustrades, garlands, arched windows and doors, and statues.

Today, the prestigious casino continues to offer table games like European Roulette, English Roulette, Trente et Quarante, Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer, Blackjack, and Poker. Gamblers can also play craps, video poker, and slot machines.

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Did You Know? Monaco forbids its citizens from entering the gaming rooms of casinos. The casinos enforce this law by checking the identification of each person before entering.

CASINÒ DI VENEZIA - A CASINO FIT FOR ROYALTY

The Casino de Monte Carlo has been around for a quite a while, but it’s still a baby compared to the almost 400-year-old Casinò di Venezia. This spacious Renaissance-style palace was the first casino in the world. It was built in 1509 and served as home to prominent nobles before becoming a gambling house in 1638.

Classically-inspired columns adorn the building’s façade on each level facing the Grand Canal. The lower level of the building contains two tall French doors divided by a single column topped with arches and trefoil windows placed on the upper levels. Opulent paintings, sculptures, and chandeliers decorate the building’s interior and many of the ceilings feature paintings by the Baroque master, Mattia Bortoloni.

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The 400 year old Casinò di Venezia faces the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

The Casinò di Venezia is the oldest casino in the world and still attracts affluent gamblers to its historic gaming halls today. The casino offers traditional French games such as Roulette, Chemin de Fer, Trente et Quarante and American games like Texas Hold’em, Blackjack, and Caribbean Stud Poker. It also contains over 600 slot machines.

In 2010, a gang of five hooded and armed bandits raided the Casinò di Venezia, stealing over €100,000. According to police reports, the robbers left in a getaway car that they dumped into the sea before escaping on a small white speedboat.

Read more about other casino heists in Bringing Down the House: True Tales of Casino Robbery.

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Did You Know? Richard Wagner died in the Casinò di Venezia from a sudden heart attack at age 69. The German composer visited Venice six times between 1858 and his death in 1883. In addition to its gaming hall, the Casinò di Venezia also contains the Wagner Museum (Museo Wagner), which holds one of largest collections of his work along with records, signed letters, and other heirlooms.

Kurhaus CASINO BADEN-BADEN – THE WORLD'S MOST BEAUTIFUL CASINO

The historic Kurhaus or “Cure House” Casino in Baden-Baden is located on the outskirts of the Black Forest in Southwestern Germany. It not only attracts visitors with its luxurious gaming rooms, but also because of its spa resort, banquet halls, gardens, and philharmonic orchestra.

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Inside the gaming rooms of the Kurhaus Casino Baden-Baden, the inspiration for Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel, The Gambler.

The original structure of the Kurhaus Casino in Baden-Baden dates all the way back to 1766 when it served as home to the Marquis. Friedrich Weinbrenner designed the classical-style building, which features Corinthian columns and paired griffins overlooking the grand entrance as well as a French-inspired interior.

During the 1830s, the Kurhaus Casino achieved international fame after France had banned gambling. In the early twentieth century, Europe’s high society gathered at the already historic casino and spa resort to vacation, conduct business, and attend balls and charity events. Many famous musical artists played there during this time, including Hector Berlioz, Franz Liszt, Clara Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. Marlene Dietrich declared it as “the most beautiful casino in the world”. It also inspired Russian author, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, for his novel The Gambler.

Today, the lavish gaming rooms of the Kurhaus Casino continue to attract tourists from around the world who are eager to play casino games such as Roulette, Poker, Blackjack, and Slot Machines.

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Did You Know? The Kurhaus Casino Baden-Baden has hosted many distinguished guests including American President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy with his wife Carla Bruni, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Kurhaus CASINO WIESBADEN – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SPA BUILDING

Not far from Baden-Baden sits another spa town in Southern Germany called Wiesbaden, which has served as a resort destination dating all the way back to the Roman Empire. In the center of town stands the 200 year old Kurhaus Casino Wiesbaden, which dates back to 1810.

old casino wiesbaden

Standing in front of the casino, you will see a grand colonnade entrance with Corinthian columns and mythical griffins overlooking a grass covered square with two fountains.

Standing in front of the casino, you will see a grand colonnade entrance with Corinthian columns and mythical griffins overlooking a grass covered square with two fountains. Aside from the casino, the Kurhaus Wiesbaden also contains a spa, theater, restaurants, concert halls, banquet halls, and a large organ with 3,000 pipes. Kaiser Wilhelm II, who visited each year, called the Kurhaus Wiesbaden “the most beautiful spa building in the world”. The famous composer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, also praised the casino.

The gaming rooms of Kurhaus Casino Wiesbaden truly stand out as a work of art. The cherry wood interior features Greek statues, mosaic medallions, and crystal chandeliers. Despite being such an old establishment, the Casino Wiesbaden still offers over 180 state of the art slot machines along with classic table games like Blackjack, Poker, and the highest stakes roulette games in Germany.

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Did You Know? German inventor, Johannes Gutenberg, printed the first full deck of cards in 1440. Prior to the invention of the printing press, most playing cards in Europe were typically handwritten. Learn more about the history of playing cards.

CROCKFORDS CLUB – A CASINO RICH IN HERITAGE

Gambling in the United Kingdom has been a long-standing tradition dating back over 2,000 years. The first British casinos appeared in the 19th century as private, members-only gaming clubs. One of the oldest casinos, London’s Crockfords Club, was first established in 1826 as a place for elite members of British society to socialize and gamble. William Crockford opened the casino with support from the Duke of Wellington as an exclusive, members-only club. It quickly became all the rage, attracting every English socialite and distinguished foreigner visiting London.

crockfords club

Established in 1826, Crockfords Club represents the world's most exclusive casino.

Today, the Crockfords Club still operates in Mayfair, London and represents the world’s most exclusive gambling establishment. Crockfords Club Casino offers luxury gambling in very sophisticated surroundings with a range of high stakes rooms or salles privees (private rooms). These rooms provide a classic ambiance with a modern twist. Available games include American Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, and Poker. Crockfords Club also provides a Live Casino, streaming table games with real croupiers from the casino.

Did You Know? Before the casino, the British often gambled on the outcome of jousting events, dice games, and coin toss games. Read more about the History of Land Based Casinos in the United Kingdom.

GOLDEN GATE CASINO – THE FIRST LAS VEGAS CASINO

Crossing over to North America, you’ll find a completely different story set out of the Wild West Frontier. Las Vegas looked like an empty and dusty desert outpost along a trade route to California before becoming “The Entertainment Capital of the World”.

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A view of what is today downtown Las Vegas when the city's first casino opened in 1906.

Before gambling became legal, the region attracted early casino developers since authorities had a difficult time enforcing laws in such a remote location. In fact, the Red Rooster was the first casino on the Las Vegas strip and it even sold alcohol during the era of prohibition. But even before the Las Vegas strip became a popular place to gamble, the Golden Gate Casino opened in the city in 1906, making it the oldest casino in Las Vegas. The original hotel and casino was located on Freemont Street and considered very luxurious at the time with its 10’x10’ gaming rooms. The Golden Gate Casino still stands in Las Vegas today, with well over $12 million spent on renovations and expansion.

Did You Know? Spanish for “The Meadows”, Las Vegas received its name from merchants who used the area as a watering post along a trade route between Mexico and Los Angeles, California. Read more about the History of Las Vegas.

Whether you’re looking for the newest technology in slot machines or are interested in playing classic casino favorites, the world’s oldest casinos offer the excitement of playing casino games with long and interesting stories to tell.

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About The Author

I made my entrance to online gambling in 2004 in an attempt to understand the psyche of the casino goer. I've spent prolonged periods delving into the industry and its inner functions and continue to do so at VegasMaster every day. My research and experience has given me insights into gambling that I hope you'll benefit from.

2 Comments

  1. Smither

    What a nice piece of history. thank you for a lovely post

    • thanks for reading! glad you enjoyed 🙂

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