Historic casino buildings that stood the test of time

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These historic casino buildings have stood the test of time

12 April 2022

Casino gaming is a pastime that goes back hundreds of years. New casinos pop up all the time and are architecturally impressive. But so are those that have survived for generations. Here are some that have truly stood the test of time.

Casino di Venezia, Venice, Italy:

Casino di Venezia - Historic casino buildings that stood the test of time

Casino di Venezia

In the beginning there was the Casino di Venezia. Widely believed to be the world’s first casino, it opened its doors at the Theatre Saint Moses overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice in 1638. Even then, the building was more than 150 years old, having been built in the 15th century by early Renaissance architect Mauro Codussi.

The casino retains many original features, including frescoes and paintings by Italian masters such as Giovanni Battista Crosato and Mattia Bortoloni. There’s also a restaurant called The Wagner, named in honour of the composer, who was a regular patron throughout the 1860s and 1870s.


By the 18th century, France had become the European capital of casino gaming, with card games like vingt et un particularly popular among the aristocracy. That, of course, came to a violent end with the French Revolution, and in 1830, gambling was outlawed.

Casinos started popping up in neighbouring countries, and Kurhaus in Baden Baden attracted those French exiles who had escaped with their lives and fortunes. It’s architecturally stunning, built in the Belle Epoque style, and the interior exudes class and opulence. Fyodor Dostoevsky was fascinated by the place and visited often in the late 1860s, at around the time he wrote The Gambler. 100 years later, Marlene Dietrich described it as the most beautiful casino in the world.

Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall

From the sublime to the ridiculous? The definition of old is a little different in the new world. Take one look at Gertie’s and you won’t be surprised to learn it’s the oldest casino in Canada. It opened in 1971, although the building is much older.

Stepping through the doors is like taking a step back in time, too. These days, people love to play poker online in Canada but at Gertie’s it’s done the old fashioned way with a deck of cards and maybe a shot of whiskey! There’s regular entertainment too in the form of live bands, talent nights and Gertie’s legendary CanCan show – check https://diamondtoothgerties.ca.

The Golden Gate

Finally, no discussion of casinos is complete without mentioning Las Vegas. Typically, casinos come and casinos go in Sin City. There’s little room for sentimentality, and great casinos like The Stardust, The Riviera and The Dunes are now just memories. But one casino has outlasted them all.

The Golden Gate on Fremont opened in 1906, back when “The Strip” had an entirely different meaning to today. It operated purely as a hotel during the years gambling was prohibited.

That was the official story, anyway, and it underwent a full renovation in the 1950s when gaming returned. It’s still there to this day as both a casino and hotel. With 106 rooms, it is now one of the more exclusive places to stay in Sin City, as well as the most historic.

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