Casino Fun Facts: Amusing Insights Into the Gambling World

How many fun facts about casino gambling do you know by heart? From the rich history behind the term “casino” to crazy wins that seem almost too incredible to be true, casinos are not just about the games! They’re about the stories, the culture, and the unexpected twists that captivate enthusiasts and trivia lovers alike love to hear about.

Okay, maybe you aren’t a walking encyclopedia of casino facts! But guess what, I am! Have you ever wondered why it’s called a “casino” or what the oldest casino in the world is?

At, we’ve got the answers. Let’s see just what you know about casinos and gaming!

Fact #1: Stare Deeply Into My… Pattern?

Bright, colorful, and complex patterns on casino carpets can be used to manipulate gamblers into continuing to gamble on and on… That can’t be true, right?

Well, there is some truth to it. The intricate colors and patterns on carpets on casino floors can be used to create a mentally stimulating environment and play a role in the psychology of a gambler. The idea is that such stimulation can help keep gamblers alert and engaged, potentially encouraging them to stay and play longer.

Patterns can even be used for traffic control, pushing gamblers into certain areas subconsciously – think of going into Ikea, where it is easier to flow with traffic than try to find the exit. The next time you’re in a casino playing table games, take a look at the floor!

Fact #2: The First Slot Machine Wasn’t in a Casino

The slot machine, a staple of modern casinos, has a fascinating history that dates to the late 19th century. The first mechanical slot machine, the Liberty Bell, was invented in 1895 by Charles Fey, a car mechanic.

Fey’s slot machine had three spinning reels, with diamond, spade, and heart symbols painted around each reel, along with an image of a cracked Liberty Bell. A player would pull a lever to spin the reels and hope that when they stopped spinning, the reels would line up in a winning combination. Sounds pretty similar to what we know today, right? Just no fruit symbols… Yet!

The highest payout was for lining up three Liberty Bells for a grand total of fifty cents.

The Liberty Bell machines started showing up in general stores all around the USA, not just in casinos. Unfortunately for Charles Fey, though, he didn’t put a patent out on his invention – so copies of the machine started showing up left and right, spreading across the USA.

By the 1960s, electromechanical slot machines were introduced. These allowed for new gameplay features, like larger bets and bigger payouts. The first fully electronic slot machine was developed by Bally in 1976. This machine used a video screen to display reels and was the precursor to the modern video slot machine we see today.

Learn more about Charles Fey’s history here

Fact #3: Blackjack’s Hall of Fame

In 2002, the Blackjack Hall of Fame was inaugurated at the Barona Casino in California. Inside, the best blackjack experts, authors, game teachers, and professional players are honored.

Anyone listed in the museum has significantly contributed to the game’s strategy, popularity, or promoted understanding, making blackjack one of the most studied and strategically nuanced games in the casino world.

Fact #4: Roulette — The Devil’s Game

Roulette is often referred to as “The Devil’s Game” because the numbers on a roulette wheel (from 0 to 36) add up to 666, which is often associated with the number of the beast. That’s the light version of the story, at least.

The long story is that Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century French mathematician, was trying to invent a perpetual motion machine – a machine that operates endlessly without a power source. The machine he invented, though, became the world’s first roulette wheel.

It was numbered from 0 to 36 – and Pascal began to experiment with probability using it. By 1976, the machine was in a Paris casino, looking similar to the ones we know today. Early versions of the game came with red and black pockets from 1 to 36.

It wasn’t long before François Blanc, owner of the infamous Monte Carlo casino, created the single 0 style roulette wheel, which gave players better odds. Some legends connected with “The Devil’s Game” say that Blanc sold his soul to the devil to discover just how to build his famous single 0 wheel…

Fact #5: The Sandwich Was Invented in a Gambling Setting

We all know it – if we’re busy gambling, a sandwich is the best meal in the world – it’s everything in one. Bread, meat, and salad all in one handheld solution. Legend goes that the sandwich was invented by John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, in the 18th century.

Stories say that Montagu asked for meat to be served between slices of bread so that he could eat without leaving his card game, and the trend caught on.

Fact #6: The Biggest Single-Day Loss in Gambling

Terrance Watanabe, the once-owner of Oriental Trading Company, holds the record for the biggest single-day loss in casino gambling history. Rumors say he lost a combined total of $204 million.

In 2007, he reportedly lost approximately $9 million in a single day at Las Vegas casinos, contributing to a total loss of around $127 million over the year.

Fact #7: Casinos and the Gambling Capital of the World

While many assume Las Vegas is the gambling mecca of the world, in truth, Macau is the gambling capital. Macau’s gambling revenue surpassed Las Vegas in 2007, thanks to its thriving casino industry, which caters largely to tourists from mainland China.

Is Macau the world’s gambling capital?

However, some say that Las Vegas was briefly king from 2020-2023, but that is considered a technicality due to China’s tough COVID-19 restrictions that lasted through that period, hampering gambling in China.

So next time someone tells you Vegas is the gambling capital of the world, let them know it was true for a little while, at least!

Fact #8: The Origins of Poker

Poker, as we know it today, is a staple in any casino. Poker’s origins can be traced back to the early 19th century in the United States. It was influenced by earlier games like the Persian game of “As-Nas” and the French game “Poque”. 

Poker games evolved along the Mississippi River as it was played on steamboats, keeping the early economy of the USA running, with the 52-card deck being introduced in 1834.

Fact #9: The First Online Casino

The first online casino, InterCasino, was established in 1996 and offered 18 games under one digital roof, paving the way for a multi-billion dollar online gambling industry.

Fact #10: Unique Gambling Addiction Measures in Japan

In Japan, to combat gambling addiction, pachinko machines pay out in tokens or vouchers rather than money. This isn’t like your neighborhood arcade, though – you can’t even cash out your tokens and vouchers at a counter in the same building!

Your winnings have to be taken to a separate business (usually nearby) to be traded in for prizes – no cash is ever exchanged.

Bonus Fact #1: The Las Vegas Strip — And Atomic Bombs?

The city of Las Vegas holds many secrets, but so does the desert itself… Around 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, the department of energy began detonating atomic bombs in the 1950s. Does it sound like the storyline of a video game? It may, but it is true!

Once known as The Nevada Proving Grounds, The Nevada National Security Site is the location where the US government turned night into day and daytime into a bright flash when nuclear weapons were tested in the Nevada desert. Who knew? Las Vegas holds casinos and critical military testing grounds. Today, tours are offered of the site.

Bonus Fact #2: The Origins of Casinos: Why Is It Called a Casino?

The word “casino” is rooted in Italian history, originally as a word for a small country villa, summerhouse, or social club. AKA, a place where the rich, famous, and sometimes bored hang out when it is hot out.

During the 19th century, the term evolved to include public buildings where leisure activities take place, including gambling. Casinos yesterday were a lot like the ones we know today – a place to gamble, drink, socialize, eat, and see a show all under one roof.

Bonus Fact #3: Standing the Test of Time: The Oldest Casino in the World

The first casino in the world was established in Venice in 1638. It is the Casino di Venezia, which opened its doors in 1638, making it the oldest casino in the world that’s still in operation. Strangely, the building started life as the Theatre Saint Moses. The theater had a wing for gambling during the intermission of plays; sound familiar?

Centrally located on the Grand Canal in Venice, the casino is housed in a Renaissance palace, Ca’ Loredan Vendramin Calergi, which was built in the late 15th century. The palace itself has been home to several notable figures, including composer Richard Wagner, who lived there in the 19th century.

Today, the Casino di Venezia still operates and offers a mix of traditional and modern gaming experiences. It has become a tourist attraction, drawing visitors for its gambling offerings but also for its historical and architectural significance. While it accepts visitors of all types, the casino still maintains strict dress codes and code of conduct; there’s an elegance and tradition to preserve.

Unbelievable Casino Stories: When Luck Goes Viral

Of course, part of the fun of gambling is hearing gossip and wild stories!

1. The FedEx Save

In the 1970s, Frederick W. Smith, the founder of FedEx, saved his company by gambling in Las Vegas. FedEx was struggling, with just $5,000 in the bank, not even enough to cover fuel for their planes.

Smith took the last $5,000 in the company’s bank account to Vegas and played blackjack. Astonishingly, he turned this $5,000 into $27,000, enough to keep the company operational. This gamble was a turning point for FedEx, buying it time to become the giant we know today.

2. The Lucky WWII Veteran

In 1989, 76-year-old Elmer Sherwin won a staggering $4.6 million Megabucks jackpot at the Mirage, Las Vegas, just hours after the casino opened. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Sixteen years later, Sherwin defied the odds by winning a second Megabucks jackpot of $21 million at the Cannery Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas. A massive bulk of his winnings went to philanthropy, including Hurricane Katrina victims.

3. Ashley Revell’s All-or-Nothing Bet

In 2004, Ashley Revell, a British gambler, sold all his possessions, including his clothes, and placed his entire net worth of $135,300 on a single roulette spin at the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

He wagered on red and won, doubling his money. With the choice between red and black, he saved himself financially. In fact, Ashley Revell’s gamble inspired a reality mini-series!

4. The MIT Blackjack Team’s Card Counting Scheme

In the 1990s, a group of math students from MIT formed a blackjack team that utilized card-counting techniques to win millions of dollars from casinos worldwide.

Their story, blending intelligence with gambling, became legendary and was the basis for several books and movies, including the star-packed movie 21.

There’s So Much to Learn!

These stories from the casino world demonstrate the blend of luck, skill, audacity, and sometimes sheer courageousness that characterizes gambling. They’re a testament to the unpredictable and thrilling nature of casinos, where fortunes can be won or lost on the turn of a card or the spin of a wheel.

It really is true – the truth can be stranger than fiction! We hope you enjoyed these 10 fun facts about gambling and casino games. Keep an eye out for even more!