Where does the word Casino come from?

Posted on November 3rd, 2008

casino wordHave you ever wondered why casinos are called casinos? Well we were wondering exactly that today, in the office over a coffee.

The origin of most casino games´ names are fairly obvious. Roulette- for example, takes its name from the wheel: roulette means “small wheel” in French. And blackjack comes from the name of the cards of course.

But what about casino? It´s one of those words we use so often, that you generally don´t think about it.

Well, just as roulette is a dimunitive of “roulle”, casino is from the Italian word for house: casa. A casino, is a “little house” then, or country house. (Incidently, if the Spanish had been the ones to export casinos worldwide, we´d be all talkiing about casitas I suppose).

The Italian country house or casino was a meeting point, Italians being the extroverted lot they are, and a place to hang out with your friends, dance, listen to music and gamble. The gambling connotation stuck somewhere along the years, and casino took on the meaning worldwide of a place to gamble.

Given that the first European Casino was in Venice (a big trading port with lots of risk takers), the word spread from there if you like.

And the Italian Gambling Market is still a pretty busy place. Italy’s gambling market is expected to grow to € 61 billion with online gambling reaching around € 3.7 billion by 2010. So the term “little house” doesn´t seem to apply to the situation today.

Since we are talking about very early casinos, do you happen to know what the first online casino was? Well, there’s some dispute about that. There are 2 casinos that claim the title, and both launched back in 1997 (which is a long time ago in Internet terms!).

And the 2 casinos? Well one is The Gaming Club and the other is Intercasino, and they both launched back in the late 90s.

Check Out Intercasino

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