Most of us enjoy a flutter every now and again, and a bet that pays out can prove very rewarding – no pun intended – but what are the origins of the casino, how has this shaped the modern casino we all know of today, and how are casinos regulated?
A casino is defined as, “a facility that houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities”, and as we know, the modern casino offers not only a chance for legitimised gambling but also very often provides entertainment such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sporting events.
The origin of actual gambling is unknown, but the first recorded instance of gambling taking place is from Chinese scripts dating back to 2300 BC. It is also a commonly held theory that gambling in some form has been present in most societies right through recorded time, from Ancient Greece right up to Elizabethan England.
The origins of the casino that we know today are in the USA, where the casino capital is located, Las Vegas. In America, casinos were originally known as saloons, and were traditionally a place where travellers could find people to talk, drink and gamble with. Eventually, in the United States at least, gambling was outlawed, along with drinking, until 1931 when the aforementioned gambling capital was allowed gambling centres, spawning some of the original casinos.
Today gambling, and more specifically casinos, are a multi-billion pound industry, and in the western world are widespread and wildly successful enterprises. There are hundreds of casinos in the USA alone, and worldwide numbers easily go into the thousand.
Casinos, and more generally gambling as a whole is usually regulated by a government appointed body. In the UK this body is the Great Britain Gambling Commission, and was established under the Gambling Act 2005, gaining full powers in 2007. The commissions aims are, “to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people”. The commission isn’t directly linked to the government, however it is sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.