10 Things You Didn’t Know About Casinos

You can find all walks of life in a casino. People come from far and wide to forget about everyday worries and indulge in the excitement offered by cards, dice and slot games.

In the UK, organised gambling has long been part of our society, emerging out of taverns, inns and exclusive gentlemen’s clubs. Our casinos certainly have a rich heritage, but how familiar are you with their history and inner workings?

Take a look at our list of knowledge bombs about UK casinos. Some of them might just make you a more accomplished gamer!

1. Casinos Originated in Italy

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The word “casino” dates back to mid-18th century Italy, 1744, and literally means "a little house." Although the precise origins of gambling are unknown, the first organised gambling house was the Ridotto in Venice in 1638. This establishment offered high stakes only and had formal dress code, which required players to wear three-cornered hats and masks. How things have changed…

2. British Casino’s Evolved From Gentlemen’s Clubs

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The epicentre of British gambling was originally Bath, but moved to London in the late eighteenth century after numerous exclusive clubs began to emerge. These members-only clubs developed out of coffeehouses and other existing meeting places for the privileged classes. White’s, for example, the oldest existing gentleman’s club in London, was originally a chocolate house.

3. The Biggest Ever Slot Machine Win Was $40m  

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Las Vegas, March 21st 2003, is still known as one of the largest jackpots ever won at the slots. Everyone dreams of one day hitting it big on the slots, but the average winner perhaps happy with a 10 percent return. Imagine this 25-year-old’s astonishment when he earned a whopping jackpot of $39,710,826.36 after playing $100 on Megabucks machine. That’s a 39999900% return on investment!

4. Archie Karas Holds The Largest & Longest Winning Streak In Casino History

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This Las Vegas high roller is a legend in the gambling world, who has gone from broke to millionaire multiple times. His longest winning streak, known as “The Run”, saw him turn $50 to $40 million in under 3 years, only to lose it all again the following year. He attributes his successes and failures to the fact that he has no regard for material possession. Lacking fear, he doesn’t care how much he loses.

5. Fruit Machines Must Payout At Least 70%

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Ever wondered how much you should be earning on the slot machine? The Gambling Commission sets the minimum payout percentage for fruit machines at 70%, which means for every £1 you play you can expect to get back at least 70p, on average. These machines typically vary the chance of winning a prize as a result of the outcome from previous play. So where a machine is below its target percentage return-to-player it may become more generous as the game goes on.

With online slot machines the percentage payout is also much higher. At Unibet, you’ll be pleased to hear our average payout for slot games is 97%!

6. Teddy Sheringham Has Won $330,000 Playing Poker

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Former professional footballer, Teddy Sheringham, is our celebrity casino hero. After a brilliant footballing career, Sheringham can now often be found competing on the various poker tours in Europe and the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. He has managed to rack up a total of $330,000 in tournament earnings.

7. Craps And Blackjack Have The Lowest House Edge

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Every game at a casino has a built in advantage for the house, known as the ‘house edge’. If you want the best chance of winning, though, the games you should play are either Craps or online Blackjack. The house has just a 0.5% advantage on Craps and a 1% advantage on Blackjack, meaning they will typically yield the most reliable amount of profit for the player.

But be warned, these games do require skill, so don’t pick them if it’s your first time in the casino!

8. The Longest Poker Game Lasted Over Eight Years

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Poker is a game of endurance and tournaments will typically last a month or two. But this is nothing compared to what happened in 1881 in the basement of a theatre in Arizona, which allegedly played host to a poker game that ran continuously, twenty-four hours a day, for eight years, five months, and three days! Legend has it that as much as $10,000,000 changed hands during the marathon game.

9. A Player Once Lost £1.5 Million In Three Minutes

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Every gambler feels the pain of a sick loss at the poker or roulette table, but perhaps not quite on the scale of Robert Maxwell. The late British media mogul allegedly lost a whopping £1.5 million in three minutes after playing three roulette wheels simultaneously. Luckily we don’t all have that amount of money to lose!

10. A British Man Once Gambled $135,300 On A Single Spin Of A Roulette

In 2004, a British professional gambler named Ashley Revell sold all his possessions (including his clothes) and placed a bet of $135,300 on one spin of a roulette wheel in Las Vegas. Against all the odds, his audacious gamble pulled off and he ended up winning! After placing his bet on red the ball ended up landing on 7 red, meaning Revell doubled his money to $270,600!

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