The Evolution of Casino Games


Although there is evidence to suggest that ancient civilizations were playing games of chance thousands of years ago, it wasn’t until relatively recently that these games were formalized. Many evolved almost simultaneously in different parts of the world, and many have changed and evolved into some of the games we still play today.

Casinos have been popular with those who enjoy the social aspect of playing such games since the first gaming house opened in Venice in 1638. Gambling was popular among the upper classes who wanted somewhere they could meet with like-minded players, to the extent that it was eventually closed down because it was thought to be depleting the gentry’s wealth.

The twentieth century saw gambling become a more mainstream pastime when the state of Nevada legalized it in an attempt to generate income for the state in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Laborers working on the construction of the nearby Hoover Dam flocked to Las Vegas to spend their wages and the city became the global casino capital.

This status has continued to this day, with the popularity of casinos flourishing throughout the subsequent decades. The traditional games that have made casinos so popular include:

  • Roulette
  • Baccarat
  • Poker
  • Blackjack
  • Slots
  • Craps

Many of these games have changed very little since they were first conceived, but some have adapted to meet the demands of modern casino-goers.

Casino games and the digital revolution

When computers began to become more ubiquitous, games were among the first things to  be developed for the new digital world. Casino games, in particular, lent themselves to digitization as soon as it was possible to generate random numbers in order to play.

Casinos were making the move towards the computer age relatively early on, with video poker being offered in casinos alongside the slot machines in the 1990s. Slot machines went from their original 19th-century mechanical design to incorporate more and more modern elements to make them easier to play and more engaging as their popularity rose.

The digitization of these games was good preparation for the swift move from physical to digital and ultimately to online gaming which has happened over recent decades. Almost as soon as home computing made virtual versions of casino games possible, the internet was established and online gaming took off in a massive way.

Those who had enjoyed the excitement of the casino could now have all that fun in their own homes whenever they couldn’t get to a casino. Fans of other video games also enjoyed casino games, meaning that the market for them was bigger than ever before.

The rise of the gaming industry

While the original idea of someone into video games was that of a computer ‘geek’, it was only a matter of decades before gaming became a mainstream hobby. As more and more people started gaming online, the industry grew and games designers were able to bring more and more of their ideas to life.

Alongside hundreds of new games, casino games continued to be popular, gaining more and more traction to become some of the most played games worldwide. Although some players still preferred the lure of the bricks and mortar casinos, many more appreciated the fact that they could play a hand of poker on their break at work, or get roulette payouts without having to leave their house.

As new technology was developed, it was incorporated into the games to ensure that players were always able to enjoy the most cutting-edge innovation as soon as they were available. Some gaming industry ideas were only able to be realized when the technology caught up with the concept, such as live video games.

Live casino games

In the late 1990s, casinos were already predicting that players would want to be able to get more of their favorite games and there were several attempts to launch live casino sites. At that stage, however, the internet speeds and reliability simply didn’t allow for a smooth experience, but it did lay the groundwork for live casino gaming when the means became available.

By their very nature, games such as roulette are often more exciting when played live, and the advent of the video streaming technology that makes it possible to play online has opened up a whole new market. Combined with the popularity of mobile gaming and the development of apps designed specifically to play games, the appetite for online gaming has been increasing for years.

Whenever new technology is developed, games designers are quick to make the most of it, meaning that gaming fashions change and adapt alongside new technology. From automating slot machines to offering virtual reality casino experiences, traditional games have been updated for the 21st century and continue to grow and evolve. 

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.