When we look back at all human civilizations that flourished through time, all of them (ora t least most) had specific forms of gambling. Despite it, we cannot trace a single civil or cultural origin to the practive, although the anthropological studies have found curious forms of gambling and even links between cultures on that manner. From Egypt, to China, to India and ancient Greece, all of historic civilizations had a contribute to had to “games of chance”, each of them wrapped around the cultural meanings, political and ideological structures, and economic relations.
Nevertheless, it was in Europe that gambling became institucionalized and it is by no coincidence that the term as an european origin and that most games developed in the countries of the euro. The word casino was coined in the 19th century from the italian “casa” wich means home, and was used to describe small country homes or cottages, literally small house, but also refered to public rooms for music or dancing, where people would gather to enjoy leisure activities and socialize.
In Italy casinos were public spaces for social conventions and town functions like dancing, singing, gambling and even sports, usually built on the grounds of a large italian villa. Has times changed, the word was used to describe two diferente public places: on the one hand, casino translated to bordello, or brothel, as the place where customers engage in sexual and erotic activities, but also a mess or a noisy environment. On the other hand, the word for the gambling place is spelled casinò with an accent, not to be mistaken for the first one. Nevertheless, there are exemples of casinos that were not meant to gamble but to entertain the people by holding music concerts, dancing shows, or other cultural activities, as well to serve the nobility and aristocracy as a theatre, a spa or a restaurant.
A few examples are the Catalina Casino in California, the Copenhagen casino in Denmark, and the Hanko casino in Finland, that still are used until today maintaining the same functions or operating differently. The english language adopted the latter term in 1851 with same meaning, after the gambling functions became more iminente than the others and gained importance for it’s sole dynamics. In conclusion, we can see that there is plenty of curious details in the history of Gambling houses all over the world, each one with a specific set of time, place and circunstance dynamics that shapes it. The worldwide gambling markets are a reflection of the it’s presence in modern day society.