Casinos have various interesting myths and legends associated with them that seem too good to be true. There are stories of incredible good luck, such as a player winning $25 million from slots, and of rogue capitalism and nauseating personal hygiene. Some of these tales are distortions or complete fabrications; others are actually true, such as the fact that gamblers in Japan exploit a legal loophole to get their fix.
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The following are some fascinating, lesser known, and downright crazy facts about the world of gambling and casinos.
Vegas Casinos Capitalized on Atomic Bomb Testing in the 1950s
Beginning in 1951, the U.S. Department of Energy started testing atomic weapons, eventually carrying out thousands of tests just 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. This terrifying display “turned night into day.” Mushroom clouds were visible from the casinos in the rapidly growing tourist hotspot. The clever Vegas entrepreneurs, however, turned this horror show into a lucrative business opportunity, with special promotions timed to coincide with the detonations and offering “atomic cocktails” at the casino bars.
The First Slot Machine Wasn’t Even in a Casino
Charles Fey invented the first slot machine in 1895, but it wasn’t in a casino or in Las Vegas, which was still at that point a spot in the Nevada desert. This first gambling machine was called the “Liberty Bell,” and was kept in Fey’s auto shop in San Francisco. Customers used to play while waiting for their cars to be repaired. The games became so popular that casinos began buying them to provide gamblers something to do when the table games were full up.
Citizens of Monaco Can’t Gamble at the Monte Carlo Casino
The legendary Monte Carlo Casino is a gambler’s paradise, but only for player who are not from Monaco. As hard as it may be to believe, the fact is that, in the mid 1800s, Princess Caroline made it illegal for citizens of the tiny country to gamble in its casino. They benefit in other ways: the casinos are so lucrative that there are no incomes taxes.
The Sandwich Was Basically Invented in a Casino
John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, was a dedicated gambler who didn’t want to have to leave the gaming table in order to eat. In a moment of genius, Montagu told his servants to bring him some meat between sliced bread so that he could eat and play at the same time, giving the “sandwich” its name in 1765.
Card Counting is Legal (But Could Get You Thrown Out)
Card counting is a legal strategy and that involves keeping track of which cards have been dealt and which remain in the deck. Players who are able to count cards in this way have a distinct advantage, so casinos often eject those they suspect of using this strategy. Actor Ben Affleck, for example, was banned from a casino in 2014 for his deception.