Although gambling in one form or another was present in most cultures throughout history, organized gambling in the form we know it today is an European invention. The term “casinò”, a small villa, social club, or summer house, comes from Italian, and was generally used for establishments where the “high society” of the times gathered to socialize, drink and have fun. And gamble, of course.
Gambling houses have become larger and more organized over time. The first known European casino, the Ridotto in Venice, was opened in 1638. Organized gambling became widespread in the coming centuries, resulting in the completely regulated business environment we know today. Perhaps it doesn’t come as a surprise that online casinos were also invented in Europe, in 1994. Also strictly regulated, online gambling is now available in the majority of European countries.
This might be one of the reasons why Europe doesn’t have such grandiose gambling facilities as Las Vegas or Macau: the access to regulated online gambling all over the continent. In the US, land-based gambling is widespread in some areas, but online gambling is mostly banned. The legal environment in the US is not favorable for online gambling, especially since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which prohibited banks from operating transactions to and from companies involved in online gambling. The US casino industry is built on land-based gambling houses - huge resorts with conference rooms, stages, night clubs and hundreds of casino game.
In Europe, things are a bit different. People of legal age (over 18 in most countries) willing to play a few hands of blackjack, or a few spins on a slot machine, don’t need to book a flight to the nearest gambling city: it’s enough for them to navigate to the Royal Vegas online casino on their computers or smartphones. Opening an account at Royal Vegas is almost easier than walking up to the Venetian in Vegas: players need to fill out a form, make a deposit using a quick and secure online payment service, and they are good to go. But the Royal Vegas Casino has something Las Vegas gambling houses don’t: a free “practice mode” for players who are at their first visit, giving them time to familiarize with the games, the environment, and the idea of playing in general. With no crowds, no lines, no need to dress up, and a collection of games that exceeds even the largest land-based casino, the Royal Vegas Casino is a worthy competitor for any of them.
The “Kurhauses” in Baden-Baden and Wiesbaden, two of the best-known casinos in the German-speaking part of the continent, are spa resorts that include casinos, too. The Monte Carlo Casino is still a well known gaming destination in Europe, and so is the Casino Venezia. But people don’t visit Venice or Monaco to gamble, they don’t fly to Wiesbaden to play roulette, like they do with Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Playing a few hands at a felt-covered blackjack table is just the icing on the cake.