Online Casinos from Hell(s)

This entry was posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010

Einstein implied that the origins of gambling went back to creation, with his thoughts about god and throwing dice. Come to think of it, dice could not have been around when God was about to do the business, so Adam and Eve would have had to play with knucklebones if they had to divine an answer to a question or for some excitement to pass the time of day.

One needs only go back a few hundred years to the 17th century to learn how London hell-holes, or “hells” came about and what went on there. These were houses opened by tradesmen with a bent for gambling and who reinvested their winnings in opening these establishments to attract gamblers from all walks of life. They housed a variety of games that attracted gamblers and the operators that ran them, with the house charging rent plus sometimes a cut of the revenues for sheltering  the table game and keeping the patrons from being caught breaking the laws on gambling in the streets. Gaming until that time was carried out whenever crowds could gather, at fairs, racecourses, parks, and like places, till the practice of running the game tables indoors, to afford more homely comfort than playing in the open air; subject to the elements, the police, or personal needs cutting games short.

Offering the games then in fashion, these houses were designated as “hells” for attracting large crowds to play the tables continuously for sessions that sometimes lasted for many days, in a charged, smoke filled atmosphere with plenty of alcohol. Fortunes were won and lost, and these were places where players needed their wits about them if they were not to be fleeced by the sharp operators who made it their business to relieve them of their money. The games usually went on as long as there were still players with money to be relieved of them.

Some of these London hells were later run as clubs; a number operated exclusively for members, whilst others were open to the public, and just as casinos recruit players, these clubs had appointed agents to procure players, for which, they were remunerated. Catering was added, with some famous chefs engaged. Royalty and noblemen attended, as much to play, as to savour the superb culinary offering laid on by some of the top operators. Indeed, some made a habit to lose £100 or so each year to be able to enjoy the exceptional cuisine on offer just as some punters go to the Ritz today, playing the tables to get the free meals and other perks. Some of these houses are still around, having become well known land casinos and top class clubs; of these, Crockfords, Brooks, Whites and Boodles have survived to this day and thrived.

Games that achieved popularity in those days included the game of Hazard, played with dice, which was addictive and popular, both over here in the UK and in French aristocratic circles. Whist, Backgammon & Tick-Tack were other games of the time, as was E,O the forerunner of today’s Roulette.

In contrast, casinos started life in Europe as small places of entertainment housing prostitutes to serve the men who sought the pleasures from their company.  Table games and more particularly gambling were introduced to supplement the operating revenues, and as time went by, the gaming aspect became the more important source of profit and eventually, the sole serving of a casino (apart from food offered to keep gamblers on site for as long as possible), with the girls dispersed to pastures new.

As technology developed and slot machines were introduced, they stood out as a characteristic feature of a casino, with flashing lights, big jackpots, and immediate gratification. Long corridors of Vegas casinos were lined up with these slot machines that draw crowds of gamblers and which were favoured by those looking for light entertainment without breaking their head with having to learn games, skills or make tricky calculations…

Then the internet came, and money was thrown at its development from the adult and the gambling industries. Classical slots were translated electronically to ape the land based ones with Random Number Generation software that recreated the workings of their mechanical antecedents. Other games, such as Blackjack, Roulette. Baccarat, were digitalised, ready to be operated from a distance and served to the gambler online.

The rest is history, albeit very recent, and thus was born the online casino originating from Hells.

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3 Responses to Online Casinos from Hell(s)

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