Gambling has always been an exciting form of entertainment. An evening at a casino can become a life-changing event for the player. The fates are decided here, that is why it is no wonder that the casino phenomenon kindles interest and overgrows with rumors. Today, we want to present to you the most exciting gambling facts about which you may not have heard.
It sounds like a sick joke right from ‘Fallout: New Vegas,’ however, it’s true. In 1951, the US Department of Energy began to set off more than a thousand test nuclear bombs 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. A terrific spectacle turned the night into day. Nevertheless, the horrifying mushroom clouds, which could be seen from the casinos, attracted lookie-loos, so the city became a thriving tourist location. Vegas is Vegas; the city turned the horror show into business opportunities, advertising atomic bombs and offering special ‘atomic cocktails’ in casino bars. Furthermore, one casino conducted a beauty contest ‘Miss Atomic Energy’ where models wore outfits imitating atomic mushrooms!
The famous Monte Carlo casino in Monaco is a paradise for players if you’re not from Monaco. In such a case, casinos are no place for you. In the 19th century, Princess Caroline forbade citizens to play in casinos, insisting that profits should be received only from foreigners. The good news is that citizens are exempted from income taxes as Monaco uses casino money instead.
Suddenly, card counting is a legal strategy in blackjack. Its principle is based on tracking the cards dealt and the cards that remain in the deck during the game. Films like Rain Man and Twenty-One seem real magic, but the arithmetic is pretty simple. However, this did not stop casinos around the world from banning card counting, mainly if the player was less subtle in their approach. As a result, players stop playing blackjack or pick other games. Nevertheless, the casinos not only forbid card counting, but they also change the rules, shuffling the deck more often.
The legend is as follows: in 1765, John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich, was such a passionate player that he did not want to leave the table to eat. Instead, Montagu told his servants to bring him some meat between the sliced bread so that he could eat and play at the same time. Consequently, a ‘sandwich’ was born.
After the car mechanic Charles Fey invented the first slot machine in 1895, it was not set in a casino. What is more, this machine, called the Liberty Bell, was located far from Las Vegas. The device could be found in Charles’ car shop in San Francisco so that customers could play while waiting for their cars to be fixed. The Liberty Bell became so popular that casinos began to buy them to take on players when the table games were occupied.
If your gambling addiction gets out of control, several states allow you to ban yourself from entering casinos. Thus, you become a criminal if you cross the threshold of any gambling establishment. For example, in Ohio, there is a so-called Voluntary Exclusion program for problem gamblers allowing them to ban themselves for a year, five years, or for the entire life.
There are lots of gambling superstitions, so it’s no wonder that some favorite casino games are associated with mystical features. The number of the beast can be found in every casino on a roulette wheel. The thing is, if you add all the roulette numbers, you get 666! Thanks to such coincidence, the roulette was named a Devil’s Wheel.
The smallest casino in the world does not even have an address. Grosvenor Casino in London offers players to check out a transportable casino in the back of the carriage. Inside you can find a game table, a dealer, a bar, and a TV that broadcasts sports channels.
Despite the mentioned taboo, the Japanese have developed a loophole that allows players to play slots. While casinos are illegal in the country, Pachinko salons are available for all Japanese gambling lovers. Specifically, Pachinko is a game similar to a slot machine, playing which gamblers receive small silver balls. These exact balls can be exchanged for alcohol, toys, or other prizes. However, you can also ask for a ‘special prize.’
Not only gangsters had the upper hand in establishing the casino industry in Las Vegas. It is noteworthy that the first license was issued to Mamie Stocker in 1920 for the Northern Club. Stoker was a respectable wife and mother and often appeared on the pages of the local newspapers. She opened the casino under her name, as her husband, Harold, did not want to be associated with such a business. At that time, The Northern club offered only five games that were legitimate in Las Vegas: stud poker, draw poker, lowball poker, 500, and bridge.
Slots and video poker machines weren’t always as we know them today. In fact, before the first slot machine saw the light of day in the 19th century, you could see the early “prototypes” in bars and pubs.
In hindsight, these first versions were quite simplistic. They weren’t spinning the reels with dozens of symbols. Instead, they contained five drums, each with 50 cards. The games were essentially what video poker is today. The only difference is that everything was mechanical, rather than digital.
And, of course, the payouts weren’t what you would expect at a casino nowadays. In fact, these machines didn’t have a direct payout mechanism. When players got a winning combination, they would go to the bartender to receive their rewards. These were usually beer and/or cigarettes.
Ever wondered where the term “no dice” comes from? Well, the term originates from the early 20th century United States, when gambling was very much illegal in most states. However, just because you couldn’t legally host casino-style games, it doesn’t mean people weren’t playing them.
In fact, Craps was one of the most popular games back then. Underground games were pretty common, as gamblers attempted to hide their activity from the authorities. On the other hand, the police were continuously trying to root out these gambling rings.
To avoid incarceration during a police raid, Craps players would swallow the dice. Whether it’s bold or dangerous is up to you to decide. However, it’s evident that most people considered swallowing dice a better alternative than going to prison. Since no court could convict anyone without physical proof, the phrase “no dice — no conviction” quickly caught on.
Although playing cards have been around for centuries, the actual four suits we know today are often attributed to the French. Supposedly, the four suits depict the four different classes of French society.
The clubs refer to the peasantry and all people who weren’t born into wealth and had to work hard for everything in life. The diamonds signified merchants focused on wealth and prosperity. As one would imagine, the hearts portrayed the clergy. The symbolism is evident — inner peace, love, and being one with God. Finally, the spades illustrated the French nobility.
Even today, gamblers in some parts of the world refer to spades as piqué. This original name, similar to the English pike, referred to the polearms, which are still present on playing cards. The French elite used these weapons to keep order in society.
Speaking of the French, gamblers all over the world also owe Blackjack to them. Initially, the game was called “Vingt-et-Un.” Admittedly, the name 21 wasn’t particularly imaginative. However, the plain name didn’t stop the game from becoming extremely popular.
Various sources indicate that Napoleon himself loved playing Blackjack. Another testament to the fact that the French loved their playing cards. The famous French military leader would play the game for hours without end, especially during his exile to the island of Elba. Being the genius strategist that he was, we imagine Napoleon was quite good at Blackjack. It wouldn’t surprise us if he leveraged card counting as well.
When people talk about jackpot winners, they typically refer to the lucky gambler as “one in a million.” However, there have been even more incredible wins that involve astronomically low odds.
Namely, a sailor playing Craps in Vegas in the 1950s had 27 consecutive wins. The chances of that happening are 1 in 12,467,890. This just goes to show you that, even if something is statistically improbable, it’s not impossible. So, if you haven’t hit that big win just yet, don’t despair. Who knows, you might just be one in twelve million like the fortunate sailor.
In its early days, FedEx wasn’t the giant we know today. Quite the contrary, the company was struggling to find a foothold in 1973. That’s when the founder, Frederic Smith, decided to put the fate of the company in the cards. He flew to Sin City with $5,000 the company had at the moment and won over $27,000 playing Blackjack.
Now, we’re not saying this was a smart investment. We certainly wouldn’t advise you to put an entire business on one hand of Blackjack. However, we must acknowledge that Smith was bold and took a huge risk that fortunately paid off. Thanks to the winnings, the company recovered and managed to last long enough to accrue $11 Million and eventually start earning profits three years later.
How big is gambling in Nevada? Apart from being home to the world’s most popular gambling destination — Las Vegas, gambling in Nevada is so widespread that it used to be available to inmates as well.
For a period of 35 years, inmates could enjoy games such as Blackjack, Craps, and Poker. What’s more, they could even bet on sports. This went on from 1932 to 1967, when a new warden decided gambling was “degrading” to the inmates.
If you immediately thought of Las Vegas, you’re dead wrong. Vegas might be the most popular among the general public, but it’s neither the biggest nor the most profitable gambling city.
The title actually goes to Macau. This city is the only Chinese territory where players can legally gamble at a casino. And you better believe the Chinese love to gamble. However, Macau is home to gamblers from all over the globe.
Unlike Vegas that garners most of its profits from penny slots, Macau’s fortune comes from high rollers. It’s not uncommon for gamblers in Macau’s VIP rooms to wager thousands of dollars on a single hand of Blackjack.
No matter what you think of the actual game, there’s no denying that the name “Craps” is a bit weird. However, the popular dice game was known under a different name before the colonization.
What was originally Hazzard eventually became Craps after the French and English settlers brought the game to the Americas. The name has roots in French (thankfully) and is derived from the word crapaud, which translates to “toad.”
Although there’s no way to confirm the hypothesis, most people believe that “toad” referred to the way players used to squat down while throwing dice. Craps (Hazzard) dates back all the way to the crusades, according to historians. As you can imagine, the table we see in casinos today was the invention of the 20th century. Thus, the name, ridiculous as it may be, does make sense.
And last, but certainly not least, one of the weirdest gambling facts that we just had to include in our list. Did you know that pinball was regarded as a gambling machine in the city of New York, all the way until 1976? As funny as it sounds, pinball was illegal in New York until Roger Sharpe stepped in.
The pinball designer had to prove in court that pinball was, in fact, a game of skill. Instead of arguing his case, Sharpe opted for a demonstration. The court allowed him to bring an entire pinball game into the courtroom and play a game. He won the case with ease since he called out everything he was shooting for and had impeccable accuracy.
Ever since, pinball holds its rightful place among arcade games, rather than being next to Roulette and Blackjack.
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