Casino Business History – Reality And Legends – Part One

If you add up all the numbers on the Roulette wheel they will total 666. The very “beast number” with which the priests frighten the susceptive flock. The fans of the mystical legends state that the author of “European” roulette Francois Blanc sold his soul to the devil for its secret. However, historians are sure that all this is the idle nonsense: even ancient Greeks used the disc rotating on the spike of the sword for gambling. But a little bit of “devildom” would not do roulette any harm. Gambling was banned in Koran, severely censured by Christianity, specialists ponder about “gambling” as some kind of “pathologic addiction” like drug or alcohol addiction. But still millions of people with a thrill of the heart look forward to the moment when the steel ball would cease its wild speeding about the roulette wheel, what card would fall and what combination of signs would be on the “one-armed bandit”.

Historians have no definite answer for the particular period of gambling origin. The British Museum has a wonderful collection of dices – there are real works of art among its exhibits, for example, dice used by contemporaries of Ptolemy and Alexander the Macedonian for pushing their luck. It is known that the modern game of dice in the ancient German tribes had a sacral meaning: this way you could find out if the Supreme Powers favored you. A lot of experienced casino dealers assert anonymously that even today a lot of people go to the casino to “try their luck”, unveil the mystery of Chance, to find out if the Lady Luck is merciful to them. Gambling does not know any status borders. Her Majesty Game treats everyone equally: Offsprings of the noblest families and the worst ragamuffin, youngsters having no life experience, and old folks. Both officers and traders, merchants and politicians did not imagine their life without cards.

Game was a traditional pastime, and propensity for gambling even if was disapproved of, not to a great extent: an officer who had never taken playing cards in his hands had a lot more chances to become an outcast in his own circle than the one who was beaten all to pieces.

The history has preserved a notable fact: famous Russian traveler and geographer Przhevalskiy was a keen (and rather a good) card player. And when he once got a big gain then without much ado organized an expedition with the help of this easy money, and the satin pack of cards was thrown into the Amur river.

An attachment to “spa resorts”.

Surprisingly enough but the history remembers the date when from a traditional leisure activity game turned into a big business. Despite many beliefs it did not happen in the New World, but in a “small dirty town” of Bad Homburg on 23rd May 1841. When two twin brothers Louis and Francois Blanc opened their “Gambling house” with a new invention – roulette.

Louis and Francois started their career with 1000 francs. Firstly, they opened a small bank in Bordo, then they were playing – all this on the verge of fall! – at Paris stock exchange and then at one of the fashionable parties in Luxembourg, they met earl brothers Hessen-Homburg, who at that time owned Bad Homburg. It was quite a calm and hopelessly provincial town, but the Blancs found something noteworthy here: first – the most picturesque vicinity – it was located in the beautiful place at the foot of the splendid mountain mass Taunus (once there was a border of the Roma Empire here), secondly, there were two thermal sources – in those years it was difficult to overestimate their significance.

Today specialists count a great number of various resorts. People go to Naftalan for medical purposes, to Courchevel to participate in the fashionable “coterie”, to Antalya – “to lie in the sun”, to Sharm El Sheikh – to practice diving. Sea bathing was not so fashionable at that time, even tan was considered inappropriate in the society. But European elite preferred to have a rest near the wate

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