It sure does feel like the world has been in lockdown for a while now. While being able to work from home and take a more laid-back approach to the daily grind may have been novel at first, for most f us that novelty has surely worn thin, and yet the lockdowns persist.
Even with modern advances in augmented and virtual reality technology, mobile and online gambling still doesn’t come close to the real, physical experience of a bustling, luxurious casino —the genuine clatter of the roulette wheel, the white-knuckle intensity of a high-stakes bluff, the almost palpable conviviality.
The oldest casino in Sweden dates back only as far as 2001. While there exists an nya casino utan svensk licens, to help drive the point home for fellow Swedes, this article by casino-lover and Swedish gambling enthusiast Dominic Andreasson takes you across the globe to some of the oldest casinos still around today.
Casinò di Venezia (1638)
While certainly not among the biggest casinos in Europe, the Casinò di Venezia in Venice, Italy —believed to have first opened its doors as far back as 1638— holds the uncontested title of the world’s oldest casino. Coming in the first place, it holds seniority over the second establishment on this list by over 100 years.
The casino is situated along Venice’s Grand Canal. When it opened, it was a theater with a gambling wing for the benefit of the audience’s entertainment during the intermissions between the segments of plays that ran there.
The casino’s architecture is of timeless, classical Venetian design, with an abundance of extravagant decor. Today, it’s still entirely possible to lapse into visions of the past while enjoying the aesthetic excellence of the casino’s architecture.
Modern guests of the Casino di Venezia can look forward to the high-life surrounded by well-dressed crowds of discerning patrons. Guests can enjoy a selection of classic games like roulette and blackjack, along with newer additions to the casino’s repertoire with its over 600 slot machines.
Casino de Spa, Belgium (1763)
First built in 1763, some may argue that Belgium’s Casino de Spa has no place on this list as the original was almost completely destroyed by fire in World War I. It survives as the gambler’s version of the paradox of the Ship of Theseus.
Today, the Casino de Spa offers all the modern amenities found at its contemporaries, being conveniently located just a 20-minute drive from the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, where the Formula One races are held annually. It continues to welcome visitors daily from the hours of 11am to sunrise.
Games on offer include roulette, blackjack, poker, and a variety of slot machines guaranteeing memorable nights for its esteemed clientele.
The Golden Gate Casino, Las Vegas (1906)
Hopping across the pond we find Las Vegas’ Golden Gate Casino, which holds the honor of being the longest-lived gaming house in Nevada, if not the entire United States. When it originally opened in 1906, the Golden Gate Casino was called the Hotel Nevada.
With the rocky history of Nevada’s gambling laws, it’s surprising the Golden Gate survived past its first few years as gambling was outlawed in the state shortly after the casino opened. The casino management pulled this off by hosting smaller stakes games and even non-cash tourneys during the interim years.
Only in 1931 was gambling again made legal in Nevada, with the Hotel Nevada rebranding as Sal Sagev Casino. Thankfully, it rebranded again to the much more iconic Golden Gate Casino in 1955.
The gambler feeling like things are bleak right now can take heart with contemplation of just how monumental an institution gambling really is. Better yet, why not start planning your next casino trip as early as now?
The current crisis is by no means the first we’ve faced as a species; before this, there were others like it, not to mention the countless conflicts throughout history. And yet, these three casinos and others like them remain. They have withstood, and continue to withstand, the test of time.