Think you know everything about casinos? Think again! The world of gambling has a fascinating history full of many intriguing statistics and information that will take even the most experienced gambler by surprise.
Are you ready for the most exciting casino facts? We’ve got 36 of them.
Let’s dive in.
Interesting Casino Facts
1. The world’s oldest casino is located in Venice, Italy.
The Casinò di Venezia, the oldest casino in the world, was opened in 1638. It was originally a theatre with a separate wing dedicated to gambling, which took place during the intermission of plays. Over the years, it served as a home to royalty and the renowned composer Richard Wagner, but since 1959 the building situated on the Grand Canal in Venice once again houses the famed casino.
2. 17 is the most commonly played number on roulette.
And it’s not just because James Bond plays that number. One of the reasons people most frequently choose 17 is that it sits in the middle of the board, making it the most obvious number on which to place a bet. What’s more, MIT has called it “the most random number”, meaning that when individuals pick a random number, 17 is the one they go for.
Speaking of favourite numbers to bet on the roulette, 7 and 3 closely follow 17. Unsurprisingly, 13 is one of the numbers people tend to avoid when spinning the wheel.
3. There are around 156 operating casinos in the UK.
The casino industry, facts and figures show, is still going strong. Although the number of casinos in Great Britain has fluctuated over the years, it reached an all-time high in 2020 when a total of 156 operating casino premises were registered. This is a significant increase from the 149 casinos operating across the country a decade ago.
4. Around 19.23 million people visited casinos in the UK.
Between April 2010 and March 2018, British casinos had around 19.23 million visitors, with London casinos recording the biggest number of attendees. In 2017/2018, the capital’s casinos had around 5.7 million visitors.
5. Macau in China has the most casino complexes per territory.
As of 2020, there are 41 casinos in Macau, China. Called the “world’s casino capital”, the gambling and gaming establishments in this Chinese city generated a whopping $7.61 billion in revenue last year.
The city also houses the second-biggest casino in the world. The Venetian Macao sits on 546,000 square feet and has 3,000 gaming machines, 870 card tables, as well as three shopping malls, swimming pools and a variety of restaurants.
6. The citizens of Monaco are not allowed to gamble.
The Monte Carlo Casino, by all facts and figures, one of the most famous casinos in the world, is strictly off-limits for the citizens of Monaco. As a matter of fact, the Monegasques are not allowed to gamble at all. This ban, however, does not apply to foreign citizens. Seeing as how these citizens account for 80% of the population, the no-gambling rule doesn’t make that much of a difference.
7. Casinos don’t have clocks.
Designing a casino is like a psychological process. The house wants you to spend as much time—and money—as possible on the premises. To do that, they need to make sure that players become immersed in the game and lose track of time. That’s why most casinos have no distractions or reminders from the outside world such as windows or clocks.
8. One of the largest inconspicuous casino robberies took place in September 1994.
It was the biggest casino heist at the time—the day when a sportsbook cashier at the Stardust casino walked out of the building with cash and chips worth $500,000. The cashier, William John Brennan, who was aged 34 at the time, has never been seen since, nor has his cat.
9. The World’s Smallest Casino is based in the back of a London taxi.
Casinos are not always luxurious, larger-than-life buildings. According to casino fun facts and trivia, these gambling venues can fit into any space, even the back of a car. Namely, the Grosvenor Casino in London has a mobile casino equipped with a gaming table, bar and TV in the back of a London cab. Players can ride and play for as long as they want, provided they make a charitable donation.
10. Playing cards was only for the rich.
Until the 16th century, only the rich could afford the luxury of playing cards. As all decks were created and painted by the very best artists of the time, cards were incredibly costly. In actual fact, they were so valued that one nobleman even bought a palace, complete with servants, to house his deck of cards.
11. Counting cards is not illegal.
A few blackjack card counting tactics can be used to reduce the house’s edge to a bare minimum, hence increasing the player’s chances of winning. Contrary to popular belief, casino blackjack facts show that card counting is not illegal. Nevertheless, it is largely frowned upon by casino operators, and if you are caught doing it, you can expect to be kicked out of the establishment.
However, if you are playing online, you can forget all about this trick as online casinos utilise a randomized card selection making counting cards completely impossible.
Online Casino Fun Facts
12. Online casinos have been around for over 20 years.
Even though some games, such as slots, were developed as early as 1895, the first online casino did not appear until 100 years later. In fact, the first online gambling sites appeared in the middle of the 90s.
The start of online casinos can be attributed to the enforcement of the Free Trade & Processing act by the government of Antigua and Barbuda in 1994. This law gave the country the right to grant licences to companies interested in operating internet casinos.
Around the same time, Microgaming, which has grown to become one of the world’s most powerful software companies, created the first online casino in 1994. Another important event was the appearance of CryptoLogic, a company specializing in money transactions over the net, which provided the last crucial piece for the establishment of a real online casino. The firm launched InterCasino, which, judging by historical gambling facts and stats, is the oldest internet casino still in operation today and the first one to offer clients the chance to wager actual money.
13. Online gamblers can also tip the dealer.
Just like the real thing, many online casino operators allow players to tip the live dealer for the service they provide. Although it is by no means necessary, tipping the live dealer in an online casino game could get you some nice perks, such as helpful gaming tips.
14. About 60% of players switched to online casinos due to the lockdowns.
The Covid-19 lockdowns and closure of land-based casinos have prompted punters to turn to the internet. During the lockdown, roughly 60% of players made the switch to online betting and gambling, while the other 40% would try online casinos if they weren’t worried about scams.
Roulette Casino Facts
15. Roulette was initially called roly-poly.
Roulette is the third most popular game in casinos, preceded only by slots and craps. This game was created in the early 1700s in France. The first roulette wheels had black and white pockets (rather than red/black) and striped black and white pockets for the 0 and 00 pockets. In 1796, the modern roulette wheel made its debut in French casinos and has become an indispensable part of gambling establishments ever since.
16. A man once bet all his possessions on a single spin.
Ashley Revell from Kent sold everything he owned, including all his clothes, and placed the entire amount of £135,300 on 7 Red. Lucky for him, his risk paid off—he ended up winning £270,600.
17. Multi-millionaire Robert Maxwell is the world’s biggest roulette loser.
A controversial figure, Maxwell was also a big fan of the roulette wheel. One night he managed to lose £1.5 million in three minutes while playing at three tables simultaneously at Les Ambassadeurs Club in Mayfair. Thanks to his millions, though, this was a loss Maxwell could easily cover.
18. There are different types of roulette.
Here is some casino trivia you may not know—there are actually two different types of roulette: American and European. The main difference between the two is the set of numbers on the wheel. European Roulette has 37 numbers: 18 red, 18 black, and a single green zero. American Roulette, on the other hand, has 38 numbers and a single and double zero. Even though it seems like an insignificant distinction, the double zero in the American version of the game significantly decreases one’s chances of winning.
19. Roulette is often referred to as “the Devil’s Game”.
Since the numbers on the roulette wheel add up to 666, it is commonly believed that this game is associated with the devil. Another reason is that players who lose on the roulette wheel are often so devastated they feel the game must be in some way connected to the Devil.
Casino Poker Facts
20. Poker can be a lucrative second career option.
Teddy Sheringham, a former Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, and England striker, has been quite active on the poker scene after his retirement from football. He has earned nearly $330,000 at the poker tables, and he is not the only celebrity making money on the Tours. Victoria Coren Mitchell, a writer and broadcaster, is also a professional poker player and the first-ever two-time winner of the prestigious European Poker Tour trophy.
21. People have played poker since the early 1800s.
There are several theories as to the roots of poker. Some say that it originated from a domino-card game played by a Chinese emperor in the 10th century, while others believe that it came from As Nas, a 16th-century Persian card game. In Europe, the French Poque and the German Pochen, both of which were based on a Spanish game, are the closest to the game of poker we know and love today. Historical gambling facts, on the other hand, show that French colonists brought the game to the USA, where it was played in the gambling dens of New Orleans and then the rest of the country. As for Europe, modern poker was introduced in 1871 when Queen Victoria overheard the US Minister to Britain explaining the game to one of the members of her court.
22. The longest-running poker game lasted over eight years.
The high stakes poker game that took place at the Bird Cage Theater in Arizona lasted eight years, five months, and three days. Legend has it that the game was played 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with periodic sleep and comfort breaks. It is believed that by the time it finally ended in 1889, around $10 million changed hands, with 10% going to the casino.
23. PokerStars holds the world record for the biggest online poker tournament.
Earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest ever online poker tournament was organised by PokerStars on 16 June 2013. Casino facts tell us that 225,000 people participated in this historic event, all of whom paid a $1 entry fee.
24. Playing Texas Hold’em is illegal in Texas.
Even though the state gave the game its name, you cannot play Texas Hold’em in Texas because gambling is illegal in the Lone Star State. Texas basically has one of the strictest rules in the US when it comes to gambling, with fines running up to $500.
25. Ben Affleck is a world-class poker player.
Ben Affleck is an incredible poker player who has won $356,000 in the California State Poker Championship and qualified for the World Poker Tour Championship, to boot. But his gambling record is not that clean—in 2014, he was banned from playing blackjack on the premises of the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas after being suspected of counting cards.
26. Phil Laak played over 90 consecutive hours of poker.
Some players are known for their skill and wins, but others for their endurance. For example, Phil Laak spent 90 consecutive hours on the poker table, not including the time he spent resting. This marathon poker game earned Laak an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as well as a profit of $6,766, which he donated to charity.
Slot machine facts
27. Slot machines were invented in 1887.
The first slot machine was called the Liberty Bell and was built by Charles Fey in the late 1880s. Designed more like a poker machine, complete with 5 reels with 10 cards each, this machine did not dispense money. Instead, it offered a beer, cigar or cocktail to the lucky winner.
28. Slot machines used to dispense fruit-flavoured gum.
The fruit pictures on slot machines are not there by accident. Historical gambling trivia reveals that in the 1880s, slots actually dispensed fruit-flavoured chewing gum or tokens that could be exchanged for cigars and drinks. However, it wasn’t until 1888 that they started giving out coins to the winners.
29. The biggest slot machine win came in at $39.7 Million.
The largest slot machine win to date is incredible. Unsurprisingly, it landed in Las Vegas when an anonymous Los Angeles software programmer wagered $100.00 on Megabucks slots at the Excalibur Casino. The prize he won was so huge it was decided that the cash would be paid out in 25 yearly instalments.
30. There are no tricks to help you win on slots.
Sadly casino facts debunk this myth. All slot machines use a Random Number Generator (RNG), so the patterns and numbers are always random. In other words, there are no tricks, hacks or methods that can be used to beat the system—just luck.
31. Online slots provide higher returns.
The Return To Player, i.e. the payout percentage of a machine, differs between land-based and online machines. Online slots have an RTP of 96% compared to an average 85% RTP of land-based machines. Land-based machines are subject to maintenance and development, so they offer lower payouts.
Las Vegas Fun Facts and Trivia
32. The first casino in Las Vegas opened in 1906.
The Golden Gate Casino, which opened in 1906, is the city’s first and longest-running gaming business. It was originally a hotel and casino called Hotel Nevada. Located on Fremont Street, the city’s main and most famous street, the Golden Gate was considered the peak of luxury at the time and a place where many famous stars, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, hung out.
33. The first legal casino license in Vegas was issued to a woman.
It’s not a man’s world, after all. Las Vegas casino history facts reveal that the first legal gaming licence in Sin City was issued to a woman called Mayme Stocker. A respectable wife and mother, her casino offered just five games, including stud poker, draw poker, lowball poker, bridge and 500.
34. Las Vegas gambling kept FedEx alive.
One of the more interesting Las Vegas facts is connected to the biggest delivery company in the US. FedEx’s founder Frederick Smith saved his company by gambling in Vegas and winning $27,000 at blackjack. Smith planned to fly to Vegas in 1973 with only $5,000 in the company’s bank account and risk everything. Even though this isn’t the smartest business decision one can make, Smith’s gamble paid off, allowing the company to raise $11 million and earn its first profit.
35. In September 1980, William Lee Bergstrom won the first $1 million bet in Las Vegas history.
The Texan gambled at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, which had a reputation for accepting large bets. Bergstrom started off by winning $777,000 on the Don’t Pass line of craps. He continued to play big after winning, eventually placing and losing the first $1 million wager in Las Vegas. This devastating loss sadly caused Bergstrom to commit suicide in 1985.
36. Covid-19 restrictions have not slowed Sin City down.
Despite Covid-19 measures, the state of Nevada reported its first billion-dollar month in March 2021. Namely, in March, casinos in the state collected over one billion in revenue—the highest yield on record since February 2013. According to Las Vegas casino facts and statistics, the gambling establishments on the Strip accounted for almost half of this amount or $501.4 million.
Before You Bet the Farm…
The glamour, the thrill, the potential to win big—casinos have it all. No wonder around 19 million people visit British casinos every year, and millions more play casino games online. Whether you are one of them or not, we hope you enjoyed our selection of the most interesting and unusual casino facts. Who knows, maybe some of them will even help you beat the house and earn some extra spending money for your summer holidays.