7 Oldest Casinos in the World

Years ago, online casinos were definitely not a thing (the internet wasn't even a thing yet).

Before, people stood in queues to make calls; then moved to press buttons; and now, some of us can make a call by literally telling our phone to 'make a call'.

Similarly, people can gamble at home, at school, or even on a bus – anywhere the internet allows them to access an online casino.

Before this luxury, people went to land-based casinos to gamble face-to-face with eager competitors. However, some people still frequently visit these casinos.

Take a look at some of the world's oldest casinos, and you'll see why they were (and still are) famous and visited by many.

Casino de Monte Carlo

old wooden building

In 1865, Princess Caroline of the house of Grimaldi thought of a way to save Monaco from bankruptcy, and that was by building the Casino de Monte Carlo (also known as the Monte Carlo Casino).

Maybe she didn't know that it would be one of the most famous casinos centuries after, but that is exactly what happened.

Till today, many of Europe's most affluent players visit the Monte Carlo Casino. Additionally, it has featured in several Hollywood blockbusters, like Ocean's Twelve and GoldenEye. One fun fact about the Monte Carlo Casino is that it was one of the first casinos to introduce entertainment and fine dining.

Kurhaus Casino

old wooden building

Kurhaus Casino is situated in Baden-Baden, Germany, and is interestingly older than Baden-Baden itself. The casino first started in the mid-1820s, but it was not until the 1830s that it became widely recognised.

Here's what happened. During those times, France placed a ban on gambling throughout the entire country. Kurhaus Casino, being close to the border between Germany and France, became popular at this point.

This popularity has not died, as it is still the playground for many rich and famous players today.

Casinò di Venezia

old wooden building

Casinò di Venezia, like its name, is a charming casino, and this might be attributed to its history.

It's the oldest active casino on the globe, and it opened its doors in 1638. It was formerly a palace known as the Ca’ Vendramin Calergi. Additionally, it was known to host many of Europe's elite.

Much of the decor still echoes older times, and its rich cultural background makes it easy to picture the Venetian elite having a good time while they played games.

Today, players can enjoy classic games like roulette and poker, plus fine dining. Additionally, there are about 600 slot machines and the casino has blended the old with the new effortlessly.

So, yes, Casinò di Venezia is like that fun grandma who learns all your favourite games and teaches you hers as well. Who wouldn't like that?

Golden Gate Casino

old wooden building

Of course, this list is incomplete without the 'entertainment capital of the world'. Even before gambling became legal, Las Vegas had attracted casino entrepreneurs. It was opened in 1907 and was firstly called Hotel Nevada.

Why Hotel Nevada? Well, John F. Miller planned to build a tent-like hotel. The hotel's gambling table was closed down just three years later when gambling was banned in 1909.

The ban was lifted and the house was opened again with a new name, 'Sal Sagev' which is 'Las Vegas' spelt backwards. It was not until 1955 that it became known by the name Golden Gate Casino.

Today, having served over 25 million shrimp cocktails, the casino's other attractions include a live gambling area, a credit system, and its dancing dealers that perform at night.

Sun City

old wooden building

Sun City, fondly called 'Africa’s Las Vegas', just has to be on this list. Its construction dates back to 1979 when Sol Kerzner, a hotel magnate, decided to transform what was then a mere South African wasteland into a $50M casino resort.

The resort had four complete hotels, a 6,000-seat entertainment arena, an artificial lake, and a golf course.

Kerzner had earlier built Mmabatho Palms Hotel Casino Convention Resort just two years earlier. This would have been Africa's oldest hotel had it not burnt down in September 2021. This makes Sun City the oldest casino on the continent.

In 1992, Kerzner added a Disney-style African theme park named 'Lost City' to the Sun City property. The lost city is a 25-hectare artificial jungle with a stunning waterfall, ancient ruins and streams.

This magnificent sight has caught the attention of filmmakers and stars, like Adam Sandler and Elizabeth Hurley, amongst others. Several movies were shot at the Lost City including Blended and Dangerous Ground.

After Kerzner was inducted into the Gambling Hall of Fame as an 'Industry leader', the Sun City Hotel was later upgraded in 2004 with several nightclubs and restaurants.

Viña del Mar Casino

old wooden building

Of all the casinos on this list, Viña del Mar was unusual in its origin, as it was built so that the profit would be reinvested in the community.

The casino, situated in the city of Viña del Mar, is Chile's oldest licensed gambling establishment. The casino started operating on December 31, 1930.

Although gambling is no new thing to Chilean culture, its first land-based casinos appeared in 1852. However, the president decided to improve the city's tourism and authorised the building of a gambling house in 1928.

Viña del Mar contains 1,500 slot machines and gaming tables with games like roulette, blackjack and poker. It is surrounded by lush gardens, and just outside the gaming floor is Libertad Avenue with its breathtaking ocean view.

Wrest Point Casino

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Lastly on this list is Wrest Point Casino, the tallest structure in Hobart, Australia.

Some elite Australian hoteliers came up with an idea to attract tourists to Tasmania by building a gambling house. In 1968, the public hugged the idea with a warm 53% thumbs up in its favour after a state referendum was held.

Wrest Point Casino, popularly referred to by tourists of all budgets as 'Giant Hair Roller', has a tower with its revolving restaurant that offers a 360-degree view of Hobart.

The casino has 650 slot machines which is the main attraction of the gambling floor, as slot machines are not available in public areas in Tasmania.

Conclusion

A visit to any of these casinos will be taking down two birds with one stone – taking a tour and having a great time. In addition, you will have the chance to witness the history.

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