Casino Business History – Reality And Legends – Part Two

But the Blancs understood one more thing, as well: Europe has a lot of thermal sources and they have to offer something people could not find somewhere else. On the 23rd of May, 1841, a casino with a new gimmick – roulette was opened in a small but elegant building of Brunnensalchen.

Specialists explain that blackjack, poker and a lot of other gambling games in fact are not games of luck in the proper sense of the word, because with the required skill a player can win even at not a very successful deal. But it is quite the other story with roulette – it is both Luck and Chance as they are, incarnated “Wheel of Fortune” with slots for each of 37 numbers, located in a specific and even somewhat magic order, “red and black”, “equal odds”, “straight-up”, “split”- all these words were just gaining their popularity and the green cloth had not yet turned into the common name.

The new casino was extremely popular, however politics decided to interfere. On the 31st of December, 1872 Bad Homburg got a “New Year present”: gambling business was prohibited within all the territory of the North German Union created in 1867. Certainly, Bad Homburg still remained a popular spa resort, but deprived of that “devil flame” it lost its extravagant appeal.

However, the Blancs were not so easy to discourage. When according to the decision of the Frankfurt National Assembly the casino in Baden-Baden was closed, Francois Blanc took it as a sign to act : if well-to-do German burgers do not like his thrilling invention, then it is time to find “reserve aerodrome”. In 1863 he purchased a license to operate in a non existing casino in a tiny state of Monaco. And when he had to close the gambling house in Bad Homburg, the family moved to Cote d’-Azur. Soon in the small town of Monte Carlo a new casino was opened and it still exists.

Arrival of a “one-armed bandit”.

As it was expected gambling became very popular in the New World. Those who did not like and could not take risks, did not have to go beyond the seas and still less did not hope to achieve something here and all the rest wanted risk and hazard. Later the economists of many countries would acknowledge that though we can yield endless praise to the virtues but the most profitable business is based on bad habits. And if such business happens to be legal, then it is a “golden goose”. Anyway, Americans quickly realized fantastic profitsof roulette and a lot of saloons in the Wild West acquired the attractive novelty.

However, another truth was soon also realized here: the business will become really large if “a small consumer” gets involved in it. And as a roulette was more likely to be the entertainment for the wealthy, then its equivalent for the poor was to be created. And in 1895 half a century after the roulette, a new great innovation appeared in the world gambling business: American Charles Fey introduced his creation with a rather pompous name “Liberty Bell”. This slot machine with three spinning reels, each fixed on the horizontal axe and activated by the lever. The reels had figures on them. The machine was activated when a player inserted a coin into a slot and then pulled a handle, or arm, to start the wheels spinning. When a particular combination showed up, the player was awarded a prize.

The name itself did not naturalize and the invention was to enter the history as “one-armed bandit”. At first like with roulette, it had to overcome many obstacles, with stiffening of American legislation on gambling the slot machines had to be readjusted for selling a chewing gum for a while. If you come across those old slot machines you will see pineapples, cherries, plums, lemons and mint, but the human passion for gambling remained most deeply seated. To the full extent it could be observed in the most famous “gambling capital” of the world – Las Vegas.

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