The Oldest Casino Games Played Today

The Oldest Casino Games Played Today

by Manish Singh

Casino games have been with us for way longer than you might imagine. Lotteries have paid, in part, for the Great Wall of China. Games of dice and cards have been played all over the world for millennia. And the first gambling house – Venice’s Il Ridotto – has brought regulated gaming to the city-state in the early 17th century. Casino games have evolved together with technology, from cards on a table to live casino games you can play on your phone. Some of the games you’ll find in the most modern and high-tech casinos today, in turn, have been with us for longer than you think.

Blackjack – the fun one

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games today. It is popular because it is entertaining, and because it also involves a bit of strategy. In it, players can actually decide what to do with their cards, not leave everything to fate. As such, the game is widely played both in casinos (online and otherwise) and in real life, even for fun.

Blackjack originated in Spain under the name ventiuna sometime before the mid-16th century. The first written reference to the game appears in a novella written by Miguel de Cervantes, set in Seville in 1569. From there, the game spread to France, then England. From England, it arrived in the New World, getting the name we all use today. A casino in the US offered a special bonus for a hand consisting of an Ace of Spades and a black Jack – and it stuck.

Roulette – the granddaddy of all casino games

Roulette is perhaps not the most entertaining of the casino games we play today – but it’s certainly the most hyped one. Its many appearances in popular culture make it one of the most recognizable casino games ever invented.

Roulette was officially born in the 18th century but the wheel it uses is almost 100 years older. Legend has it, it was invented by famous French polymath Blaise Pascal when he tried to build a perpetual motion machine.

Today, roulette has such a big role in the world of games of chance that a gaming outlet is not even considered a casino if it doesn’t have at least one roulette wheel.

Keno – the ancient one

Finally, let us mention the oldest game of chance we know of: Keno. It is a lottery-type game with frequent draws that’s part of pretty much every American casino. In Europe, Keno draws are often organized by state lotteries every week. And it has been around for way longer than you think.

In the introduction, we mentioned that a game was used to fund the construction of the Great Wall of China. While this hasn’t been proven, the legend of the Han Dynasty using a lottery-like game similar to Keno to fund the construction of the Great Wall may be true. The fact is, China’s Han Dynasty has indeed organized lotteries as early as 200 BC. This makes Keno – and other lottery-type games – the oldest casino games that are played today.

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