Casinos Games of chance even predate the invention of modern money itself. Casinos are a natural step in the evolution of gaming. Just like the rest of civilization, modern gaming houses are simply a more organized and socially acceptable version of a pastime already enjoyed by billions over the course of history. While a blackjack dealer isn’t the world’s oldest profession, people all over the world have enjoyed gambling for centuries. From clay dice made of bones and early Chinese dominoes to lottery games organized by famous emperors, wagering has made its mark on history. Contemporary casinos can trace their roots across the Atlantic all the way to 17th century Italy. In 1638 a venue in Venice called the Riotto opened its doors. Situated inside the San Moisè Palace and open to the public during carnival season, players enjoyed a lottery game called birbi and basetta, which fused elements of gin rummy, poker, and blackjack. Although the Riotto was technically open to everyone, giant stakes and a strictly enforced dress code meant the games were reserved for the aristocracy, at least in practice. The casino ultimately closed its doors in 1774 as views on virtue and morality shifted. Laws mean nothing if they aren’t enforced, which is why illegal gaming houses thrived in the early 20th century through the great depression. From New York to California, many of these dens of iniquity were mob-operated. As state governments started cracking down on gambling, these mobsters fled to Nevada where gambling was fully legalized in 1931. In 1946 Las Vegas was officially on the map when The Pink Flamingo, a now historic luxury casino, opened its door. Big names like the Sahara, Riviera, and Tropicana not only followed but also attracted the world. By the 1950s Las Vegas had become the undisputed casino capital of Earth, which it still is Despite these changes, criminal gangs retained their stranglehold on Sin City through the 1950s. Yet throughout the 1960s new laws made it possible for corporations to get into the business, which not only loosened the mob’s grip but helped give birth to today’s entertainment resorts.