While an overwhelming majority of us automatically think of the buzz of slot machines and the lure of the poker table when we hear the word “casino”, things certainly didn’t start out that way. In the early days of “casinos”, most establishments tended to feature the Roulette wheel much more than anything else. These European gambling establishments didn’t bear the name casinos, of course, but nevertheless they were places where people would regularly gather in order to play chance-based games. Naturally, due to the fact that a giant roulette wheel is very visually imposing, they tended to act like magnets for people looking for some action.
The truth is however, various types of gambling houses have been reported to exist since at least 2300 BC. Accounts of Chinese houses devoted to gambling in those ages are well-known by historians. Additionally, these sorts of practices were also engaged by the Ancient Greeks and Romans as well, both of which enjoyed this sort of social entertainment.
By the time we began to see more elaborate, finely decorated establishments springing up across Europe, many of the staple casino games of today were either in development or existing in a more simplified form (but not always). For instance, perhaps the most popular casino / card game in the world, Poker, is found to have a stunning number of variations throughout the world, many of which were developing simultaneously.
Things more or less stayed the same up until the early 20th century when the United States began to come into its own. In a way, the modern American casino was borne out of the atmosphere of the saloons of the old west. During those times, the local saloon served as not only a place to gamble / play cards with the locals and fellow travelers, it was also a place to grab a drink and maybe even a hotel room for the night. Today, modern casinos accommodate all of these areas and more, of course.
In terms of the games played, the areas which have seen the most change seem to be the slots and the roulette wheel. As previously indicated, roulette has more or less been eclipsed these days by other games which people seem to find more interesting, like baccarat or high stakes poker, for example. Nowadays, casinos will often feature a number of smaller roulette tables positioned around the floor in addition to a larger wheel placed somewhere central.
Slot machines have long been a big draw for both newer as well as the olden casinos. Needless to say, the slots have probably seen more change than any other specific area when it comes to casino games. First they were entirely mechanical, now they’re more or less entirely digitized. Of course many casinos have even started to shift attention to their online efforts, given the potential to reach a much larger audience (as well as much lower overhead costs of maintaining a computer network vs. managing a large facility and everything that entails).