A Look into the Past: The World’s Oldest Operating Casino

Gambling is an activity we assume has probably been around forever, unlike online casinos. After all, the idea of a wager is a pretty simple one that has most likely appealed to people throughout history. What about gambling in an establishment intended particularly for it, though? Surely, if gambling is that popular, the earliest venues for it must be very old too. Unfortunately, many things are lost to history, including the ways that many ancient people gambled. However, we can take a look at the oldest operating casino, as we understand the word. In this article, we'll be talking about the Casino di Venezia, the world's oldest casino which is located in Venice, Italy.

History of Casino di Venezia

The Casino di Venezia is established within the Ca' Vendramin Calgary, which is a castle along the Grand Canal in the Cannaregio quarter of Venice. The palace was built in the early 1500s, and over a hundred years later around 1638, it became a gambling hall for rich Venetians. As a palace, it also features apartments and rooms for the influential Venetians who lived there.

Notably, it was also the home of Richard Wagner who was the composer of the Ring cycle of operas, among many other famous operatic works. In fact, Richard Wagner died while staying at the Casino di Venezia in 1883, and a section of the casino is a museum dedicated to commemorating Wagner's life, works, and in particular, the time he spent in Venice. Since then, it has been a largely historical building until it was purchased in 1946 by the City Council of Venice. They refurbished it in 1954 to the modern online casino we know today.


In a lot of ways, the Casino di Venezia is a very traditional casino. So much so, that in rooms beyond the slot machine floor, the casino enforces a dress code where men must wear a jacket in order to be permitted access. In addition to slot machines, they offer a full variety of French and American table games including fair roulette, French roulette, chemin defer, blackjack, Caribbean poker, Texas hold 'em poker and baccarat. A number of these might be a little unfamiliar to American casino goers.

Texas hold 'em, French roulette, free blackjack online, baccarat and other free casino games are all quite familiar, but the others might be a little foreign. Chemin de fer is a medieval game that is kind of a mixture of roulette and baccarat. Fair roulette, meanwhile, is a dynamic version of the traditional French roulette. The differences are mainly in the staff who are present and the size of the table, which is larger. Caribbean poker, similarly, is an alternative version of poker where the players challenge the banker rather than each other.

Getting there

Because the Casino di Venezia is located on the Grand Canal, the best way to reach it is by gondola or water taxi, which you can get regularly throughout the day. It is also worthwhile to note that the casino actually has two locations. The first is the one that we have been talking about in the Ca' Vendramin Calgary estate, and the second is in a different place called the Ca' Noghera. Both of them feature similar amenities and casino space. The Ca' Noghera was opened in 1999 as Italy's first American style casino, and it is located very close to the Marco Polo airport in Venice.

Other sightseeing

Venice is a stunningly beautiful city with plenty to see just walking around. Gondola rides are popular for sightseeing – and not only because so much of Venice requires water access. A couple of noteworthy locations are San Marco square, easily one of the most famous city squares in the world. Another place to check out is the Grand Canal where the casino is located. In the Renaissance, many wealthy Venetians built palaces along this canal, which makes a trip up and down it a pretty incredible sightseeing opportunity. No matter what you check out, it's sure to make for an unforgettable trip!

As you can see, the rich history of gambling and casinos is much older than one might have expected. Although many of the world's oldest casinos are likely lost to time, and there are tons that we'll never know about, it's amazing that the Casino di Venezia exists. Through it, we have a brief window into the past to see a little piece of the fascinating history of gambling.


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