Steve Wynn built the Mirage in 1989, which, in effect, helped turn Las Vegas into pretty much a gambling town. Several decades later, casino resorts can now be found in almost every corner of the globe.
Casinos have already evolved from the first government-sanctioned gambling house in the 1630s to almost 400 years later, when it made its way to the United States and then to the rest of the world. A study by The Grand Sierra Resort in Reno projected the worldwide casino revenue to reach $3.4 billion in 2015.
But where did it all start?
According to The Grand Sierra Resort, the world’s first public and legal casino was built in Italy in 1638. Il Ridotto, found in the Venice’s San Moise Palace, had a strict dress code—gamblers were required to wear three-cornered hats and masks—and high stakes that kept many people out.
Despite this, Il Ridotto was a popular place that a second casino soon opened at the San Cassian Theatre. Then neighboring France caught the gambling fever, prompting Parisians to create the games vingt-et-un, baccarat and roulette.
In the Americas, or the New World as it was known back then, tribes had already been gambling for some time, but it was only when King Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 that his love of gambling spread to the colonies. Five years later, the first horse racing track was introduced on Long Island, while card tables started filling saloons in the west.
Then the towns grew and hotels began to include saloons of varying styles. Three centuries later, businessman Steve Wynn opened The Mirage, his first major casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The resort’s high cost—about $360 million financed largely with high-yield bonds—and emphasis on luxury was a huge gamble for Wynn, but the project ended up being enormously lucrative and became a new standard for Vegas resorts.