24 Apr

The Origin of the Word Casino

08:34 March 14, 2022 0 1618
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The casino is an Italian word meaning a small house from the root word casa or house. A casino can be a room or building reserved for social amusements, with games and live entertainment. In military use, the Spanish term casino or the German term Kasino means an officer’s mess. A mess is a living, eating or socializing area for military personnel.

The definitions are more from a linguistic point of view. Wouldn't it be interesting to know why a small gaming and entertainment house became called a casino?

How did the Word Casino Come About

    Early Examples

    In modern terms, the word ''casino'' may mean a social club, a summerhouse or a small country villa. However, according to 19th-century records, the casino started to include other public buildings that provide pleasurable activities. Most of these buildings were on larger Italian palazzo or villa grounds. The owners used the facilities to host civic town functions, including sports, listening to music, dancing and various games. Thus, people need to receive an invitation to go to a casino in those days.

    As the years passed, changes, advancements, innovations and the advent of technology made casinos drastically different from their original form. Technology plays a significant role in bringing casino games closer to people who want to be entertained. Therefore, you can now access casino online games using your computer, tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices. 

    The Villa Guilia and the Villa Farnese were early examples of buildings with casinos in Italy. These were owned by powerful and prominent Italian. The buildings were examples of architectural masterpieces and decorated with busts, paintings and frescos created by famous artists from Italy and other countries. 

    The casinos were smaller buildings inside the compound during those days. Although habitable, they often used casinos for al fresco dining and other pleasurable activities. 

    Some casinos were not for gaming but rather for public meetings. For example, the Catalina Casino on California’s Santa Catalina Island was constructed in 1929 to commemorate the tenth year of Wrigley's purchase of the island. It became a famous place for movie dinners and dancing. Over in Denmark, the Casino Copenhagen was a Danish theatre and a public meeting place. It was also a venue for concerts and carnivals. 

    Association with Gaming and Entertainment

    The first public and legal gaming establishment was the Il Ridotto. Founded in Venice, Italy, near the middle of the 17th century, the Il Ridotto was a wing of the Palazzo Dandolo. The name translates into The Private Room. The word ridotto comes from ridurre, which means making private or closing off. In some cases, the ridotto was a theatre foyer, where theatre-goers gathered during intermissions to have some refreshments. The name also applied to the private houses of wealthy Italians at that time who held private entertainment clubs offering games of chance. 

    Since the meaning of casino is a small house, and most of the villas and palazzos maintained small houses for the games and entertainment for the Italian nobility, the name stuck. Aside from the games of chance, they had live entertainment, music, served food and drinks. 


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