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History of Casino di Venezia – the oldest casino in the world

Ca' Vendramin Calergi
Ca' Vendramin Calergi

Today, we associate casinos with a huge variety of gambling establishments in Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, Macau or other cities known for their gambling. However, not every gambler knows that the first casino in the world appeared in Italy.

Here is the story of the oldest casino – Casino di Venezia, which opened its doors in 1638. The majestic building on the embankment of the Grand Canal in beautiful Venice still hospitably welcomes players who come here from all over the world.

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The beginning of the history of Casino di Venezia

The building, which later housed the Casino di Venezia, was built in the 15th century by order of Andrea Loredan – an Italian nobleman and an extremely wealthy collector.

The magnificent 3-storey palace overlooking the Grand Canal was designed by architect Mauro Codussi. This is a striking example of Renaissance architecture. Here everything screams about greatness and wealth – walls painted by famous masters, ceilings with frescoes and an incredible number of paintings by famous Italian painters.

According to the original plan, this building was to house the Theater of St. Moses, and it was opened in 1638. The history of Casino di Venezia began at the same time, as in the breaks between performances, spectators and actors gambled in a separate wing. It is equipped specifically for this type of leisure. However, then the casino had another name – Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi.

Theoretically, the casino was accessible to all segments of the population, but in practice it could only be visited by wealthy people – games for big money and adherence to an elegant dress code could not afford everyone. Famous guests of Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi at the time were Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Giacomo Casanova and Lorenzo Da Ponte.

The casino in the theater has caused a great demand for gambling entertainment. Prior to its inauguration, gambling was illegal – not because it was banned, but because there was no need to legalize it. Over time, other casinos began to appear, and the authorities decided to regulate the field of gambling in order to be able to tax it. In 1744 there were already more than 120 gambling establishments in Venice.

However, a few decades later, the government changed its attitude, and in 1774 banned gambling at the legislative level. The casino had to close.

Almost 200 years without a casino

In fact, the casino did not work for almost 2 centuries – from 1774 to 1959, but all this time the building was not empty. After the ban on gambling, it became the property of the Italian king – for a long time the royal family lived here.

Later, the palace was resold several times, but its owners were always nobles. In particular, in the middle of the 19th century he was liked by the German composer Richard Wagner – he regularly rested here from 1858 until his death in 1883.

Eventually, in 1946, the building became state property of the city. Authorities bought it, renovated it, and opened an official casino here in 1959, a ban on gambling lifted by then. It was then that the institution received its legendary name – Casino di Venezia.

A new page of history

After the opening of the casino quickly regained its former glory. As the Casino di Venezia no longer shared the area with the theater, there was plenty of gambling space. Gambling halls are located on all three floors of the palace, and were able to accommodate much more visitors than at the beginning of its existence.

Since then, the casino has been operating successfully and entertaining tens of thousands of visitors. Today, in addition to the games area, there are two restaurants – The Wagner and Marco Polo, a private garden overlooking the Grand Canal, as well as the Wagner Museum, which opened in 1995. A free boat transfer is organized for guests, which takes visitors to the door.

Despite the fact that the Casino di Venezia still has the atmosphere of the Renaissance, gambling entertainment is modern. In addition to traditional card games and roulette, gamblers can choose from a huge number of slot machines – there are more than 600.

Casino di Venezia is not only the oldest casino in the world, but also an excellent example of classical architecture and a historical monument. That is why this place is worth a visit for everyone who visits Venice.  Enjoy playing in an online casino no deposit bonus Australia with friends.

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