Even though many people associate gambling with the luxurious casino resorts in Las Vegas, Europe has a richer gambling history. A curious fact is that Monaco was considered to be the cradle of gambling. We must admit that Europe cannot compete with Las Vegas when it comes to flashy land-based casinos, but there are some casinos in Europe that can bring history to life.
Gambling is closely associated with British history. Crockfords Casino is one of the most emblematic casinos based in London. It was established as far back as 1828 by William Crockford and currently, it is still one of the top tourist attractions across the United Kingdom.
Another iconic gambling establishment in the UK is the Clermont Club, which was founded in 1962 by John Aspinall. Its theatrical staircase and large Grand Saloon are the casino’s trademark even in modern times. In the lines below, you will find detailed information about the oldest casinos to be found across Europe.
Casino di Venezia in ItalyCasino di Venezia is touted to be the world’s oldest still active gambling establishment. Mauro Codussi was the architect of this casino that opened its doors for the first time in 1638. Interestingly enough, the building was a theatre and a part of it was reserved for gambling activities. Casino di Venezia, also known as “Ridotto”, was closed in 1770 as it was believed that gambling led to the impoverishment of the nobility, and the authorities prohibited all forms of gambling throughout the country.
Several years later, Venice witnessed a real gambling expansion, but the only legal gambling hall was closed. This led to the establishment of illegal gambling houses. In the 1930s, Casino di Venezia was reopened and currently it is still located on the Grand Canal. It of course also made our list of the Most Beautiful Casinos in Italy.
Casino de Spa in BelgiumCasino de Spa welcomed its first players in 1763. The casino is to be found in the Belgium region called Spa. As the name of the region implies, it has a natural source of mineral water with healthy qualities. The casino was built by architect Jean-Barthelemy Liege Digneffe and it enjoyed great popularity among Belgium aristocrats. In 1789, Casino de Spa suffered major damages caused by fires. In addition to that, the country’s authorities also set strict rules against gambling.
In 1917, a new fire demolished the building to the grounds. After years of reconstruction work, the casino regained its glory. Nowadays, the casino floor occupies 1,500 square metres, attracting local casino fans and tourists alike.
Casino de Monte Carlo in MonacoPrincess Caroline was the initiator of the establishment of Casino de Monte Carlo. The idea behind the opening of a casino was to save the House of Grimaldi from suffering significant financial troubles. The gambling establishment was officially opened in 1863. Over the years, it witnessed several expansions and it turned into a major gambling hub among European casino fans. Currently, the casino is still operating, being one of the main sources of revenue to the House of Grimaldi and the Monaco economy. A curious fact is that Ian Fleming got his inspiration to create the highly popular novel Casino Royale.
Kurhaus Wiesbaden Casino in GermanyMany people consider Kurhaus Wiesbaden Casino to be the most beautiful gambling establishment in the world due to its Art Nouveau architecture and state-of-the-art decorations. Whether it is a myth or reality, we cannot say for sure, but it is said that the talented Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky lost a lot of money on roulette namely at Kurhaus Wiesbaden Casino. Napoleon was also believed to have played at this casino.
The thermal natural waters of Wiesbaden have attracted a large number of visitors. Somewhere in the 1700s, the town turned into a major tourist destination. The spa resort also had a gambling establishment to provide its visitors with a fun-filled time during their stay in the resort. In 1907, a larger gambling hall was constructed as part of a multi-purpose establishment that also included a special hall for concerts and another hall for balls and banquets.
Salzburg Casino in AustriaSalzburg Casino is a must-visit gambling establishment that features unique baroque-style architecture and rich history. The casino opened its doors for the first time on 1st July 1934 in Schloss Mirabell. Only 4 years later, Salzburg Casino was closed due to the Second World War. The casino reopened in 1950 and it became a major attraction to casino fans.
A pivotal year for the expansion of the casino was 1993 when the gambling establishment was relocated to Schloss Klessheim and more gambling opportunities were added. In 2016, all renovations were over and currently, the casino accepts players from all over the world every day.