Evolution of Casinos: From the Wild West to the World Wide Web

Throughout the records of human history, casinos have remained an essential part of our cultural heritage. However, it was not until the 17th century that the world witnessed the birth of the first recognisable casino venue as we know it today. The Ridotto, established in the heart of Venice in 1638, marked the commencement of an era in which casinos would proliferate across the European continent and eventually make their way to the United States in the 19th century.

As the 19th century drew to a close, the innovation of pokie machines caused a seismic shift in the global casino industry. This groundbreaking invention laid the foundations for the luxurious, high-stakes casinos that we have grown to adore in the present day. The 20th century brought a period of rapid expansion in the casino industry, with the vibrant city of Las Vegas emerging as the beating heart of the gambling world in the 1950s.

Today, casinos can be found in virtually every corner of our planet, offering a plethora of games designed to cater to every taste and bankroll. From the timeless appeal of classic table games such as poker, blackjack and roulette to today’s cutting-edge pokie machines and video poker games, casinos provide an exhilarating and captivating form of entertainment that has proven to endure over time. 

Whether you visit a brick and mortar casino or take a chance at an online casino, gambling has never been more accessible and thrilling. Join us on a captivating journey as we delve into the intriguing evolution of casinos, tracing their origins from the wild west to the captivating growth via the world wide web.

1638: The Birth of the Casino

In 1638, Italy’s Venice witnessed the inception of the Ridotto, widely recognised as the world’s first casino. Created by the government to combat the rampant issue of illegal gambling, this state-owned venture aimed to mitigate the negative effects of unregulated betting practices. During the carnival season, the Ridotto welcomed the public, inviting them to partake in the festivities that engulfed Venice. For several weeks, the Ridotto offered various popular games such as Biribi and Basetta. These games, reminiscent of contemporary roulette and blackjack, required a potent blend of luck and strategy.

Despite its initial success, the ruling government eventually closed the Ridotto in 1774 as part of a larger campaign against gambling and other perceived social vices. Nevertheless, the indelible mark left by the Ridotto endures, as its legacy laid the groundwork for the modern casino industry.

19th Century: The Global Rise of Casinos

After the establishment of the Ridotto, the allure of casinos swiftly spread throughout Europe. As the 19th century approached, casinos firmly established themselves in countries like France, Germany, and England, attracting patrons from all walks of life. The popularity of casinos continued to rise, and by the mid-19th century, these establishments had crossed the Atlantic and landed on the shores of the United States.

In the early days of America’s growing casino industry, these venues were primarily associated with the wealthy and privileged. Many casinos were located in exclusive resorts and spas, catering to the refined tastes of high society. However, as the demand for gambling surged, the need for more inclusive casinos also grew. As a result, casinos distanced themselves from their aristocratic origins and embraced a more diverse clientele.

By the turn of the 20th century, casinos could be found in numerous cities across the United States, offering a wide array of games and entertainment options to suit every budget. As the 20th century came to a close, the advent of online casinos catered to the ever-expanding audience, meeting the rapidly rising demand.

1946: Birth of Las Vegas

As the 20th century progressed, the magnetic appeal of casinos remained unwavering. Following World War II, Las Vegas emerged as the undisputed global gambling hub. Although this desert oasis had been attracting tourists since the early 1900s, it was in the 1950s that the modern casino industry truly found solid ground.

The opening of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in 1946 marked a new era for the city of Las Vegas. Under the ownership of the notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel, the Flamingo aimed to provide luxurious accommodations and entertainment for the wealthy and elite. Its immediate success sparked a wave of new casino establishments in the area, each offering a diverse range of games and entertainment options.

In 1953, the first pokie machines arrived in Australia, brought by a private company from the US where they were already popular. The government legalised this practice in 1956, forever changing the gambling landscape in our country. Pokies quickly became one of the country’s most popular gambling games, as they were in other parts of the world. The 1960s and 1970s witnessed another surge in casino development in the United States, with destinations like Atlantic City and Macau rising to prominence as sought-after gambling hotspots. Nowadays, casinos can be found in virtually every corner of the globe, catering to a diverse range of preferences and budgets.

Australia saw its first legal casino open in Hobart in 1973. A few years later, three more venues followed in Launceston, Alice Springs, and Darwin between 1979 and 1982. In the early 1980s, four additional casinos appeared in Surfers Paradise, Townsville, Perth, and Adelaide. Today, there are 14 casinos in Australia, located all over the country, with at least one casino venue in every major city. 

21st Century: Today’s Casino Landscape

The modern casino landscape has also transformed from the exclusive gambling establishments of the past to an accessible service for everyone who meets the minimum age. Today, casinos warmly welcome visitors of legal age from all walks of life, offering a vast array of games and entertainment choices. Drawing millions of visitors annually, casinos have firmly established themselves as a vital pillar in the global entertainment industry hosting not only games of chance, but also organising summits, musical performances as well as offering a full range of dining and nightlife facilities.

In recent times, online casinos have emerged as prominent players, granting gaming enthusiasts the flexibility of enjoying their favourite games from the comfort of their homes. These virtual gambling platforms boast an extensive selection of games, ranging from traditional table classics like blackjack and roulette to cutting-edge online pokies and video poker. Many online casinos also facilitate sports betting via built-in sportsbooks, allowing enthusiasts to place wagers on their beloved sports teams and events.

The hallmark feature of online casinos lies in their 24/7 accessibility, providing players the freedom to access their accounts from any corner of the globe, at any hour of the day or night. This unparalleled convenience seamlessly integrates quick gaming sessions into busy schedules, eliminating the need to visit a physical casino. By the introduction of real-time HD streams from live dealer casinos, where the outcome of the game is delivered by live dealers instead of random number generators, the traditional land-based casino environment has gotten closer than ever before.  

Moreover, online casinos are renowned for their abundance of bonuses and promotions. These perks include welcome bonuses for newcomers, no-deposit bonuses, free spins on pokie machines, and even cashback offers, all of which enable players to extend their gaming experience and increase their chances of achieving significant wins. The chance to obtain bonuses upon registration is yet another reason why more and more players prefer online sites than their land-based counterparts. 


Casinos continue to captivate gambling enthusiasts worldwide, offering an array of exhilarating games, from pokie machines and table games to sports betting. Evolving from their ancient origins to the present day, casinos have undergone a remarkable transformation, emerging as a truly inclusive and captivating source of entertainment for all to enjoy. Gambling has a rich history in Australia, with horse race betting gaining traction in the 19th century and receiving government support. Pokie machines became popular in the early 20th century and have never left the gambling landscape ever since.

Gambling, including sports betting, remains a popular industry in Australia. Australian punters were early adopters of online gambling, and laws regulating the industry were passed in 2001, with certain restrictions. In order to combat problem gambling, several new measures have been put in place like the new “BetStop” self-exclusion website, a ban on the use of credit cards, and a full ban on gambling advertisements. Still, accessing and using the interactive gambling services is not an offence for Australian citizens and the industry continues to grow. It is also allowed to companies based in Australia to offer their gambling products to players located outside the country. For New Zealanders interested in online gambling, the comparison list by Kiwigambler is recommended. Online gambling in New Zealand is allowed as long as players stick to offshore based casinos.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

Read On