Crazy facts you didn’t know about casinos & gambling since both are a huge source of interesting myths, legends, and stories that almost seem too good to be true, at Sunday Readings.
Casinos & gambling are a huge source of interesting myths, legends, and stories that almost seem too good to be true. There are tales of tremendous good luck ($25 million from slots?), dubious capitalism (atomic bomb parties?), and disgusting personal hygiene (adult diapers to keep a hot streak going?). Some of the most interesting facts about casinos and gambling come from societies where it isn’t allowed, proving that it’s hard to keep people from the allure of a potential big win.
Today, at Sunday Readings we are unveiling some of the most crazy facts from our industry.
Crazy facts you didn’t know about casinos & gambling
The Founder of FedEx Saved the Company by Gambling in Vegas.
Here’s an inspiring story for aspiring gamblers and small business owners: the founder of FedEx saved his floundering company by gambling in Vegas, earning $27,000 in blackjack! The company only had $5,000 in its coffers when Frederick Smith decided to fly to Vegas in 1973 and risk it all. Though this isn’t good investment or business advice in general, Smith’s gamble paid off, allowing the company to last long enough to raise $11 million and eventually earn its first profits in 1976.
The Nevada State Prison Used to Have a Casino for Inmates.
Gambling is such a huge industry in Nevada that even the state prison had a casino inside it for 35 years. That’s right: inmates could play blackjack, craps, poker, and even bet on sports inside the “Bullpen,” a stone building on the prison’s grounds in Carson City from 1932 to 1967. A new warden from California shut it down that year, saying gambling was a “degradation” to the inmates.
Citizens of Monaco Can’t Gamble at the Monte Carlo Casino.
The infamous Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco is a gambler’s paradise… as long as you’re not actually from Monaco. In that case, you best go elsewhere: Princess Caroline made it illegal for citizens to gamble in the casino in the mid-1800s, insisting that the revenue generated come only from foreigners. The good news? Citizens don’t have to pay income taxes since Monaco uses the casino money instead.
The Sandwich Was Basically Invented in a Casino.
The legend goes something like this: in 1765, John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, was such a huge gambler that he didn’t want to leave the gaming table to eat. Instead, Montagu told his servants to just bring him some meat between sliced bread so he could eat and play at the same time. Thus the “sandwich” was born… sort of.
In reality, the Earl wasn’t much of a gambler, but he did enjoy his namesake meal. The legend came from a French travel guide about London and is the only source of the gambling tale. The story caught on, however, and soon people throughout Europe were craving sandwiches. Montagu didn’t invent the meal – it’s meat between bread, after all; people had likely been eating this combo for centuries – but he did give it a name and a cool story to go with it (whether he liked it or not!).
The World’s Smallest Casino Is in the Back of a London Cab.
The alleged “World’s Smallest Casino” doesn’t even have an address. The Grosvenor Casino in London has a mobile casino in the back of a cab, complete with a gaming table, dealer, bar, and a TV showing sports. The promotional stunt lets riders go anywhere in the city as long as they make a charitable donation… or they can go straight to the casino, free of charge.
A World War II Vet Won More Than $25 Million Playing Slots.
Most people think the big money at casinos is made at the table games, but there are rare exceptions in which the slot machines pay off the most. Las Vegas World War II veteran Elmer Sherman won a shocking $4.6 million from a slot machine at the Mirage in 1989, but he wasn’t content to stop there. Elmer made it his “life’s dream” to win another big jackpot. His dream came true in 2005 when he won a whopping $21.1 million at the Cannery!
Slot Machines Used to Actually Dispense Fruit-Flavored Chewing Gum.
Ever wonder why slot machines have little pictures of fruit on the wheels? It’s because early 1880s-era slot machines would actually dispense fruit-flavored gum. The machines also dispensed tokens meant to be exchanged for drinks and cigars before pumping out actual coins in 1888.
The First Slot Machine Wasn’t Even in a Casino.
When mechanic Charles Fey invented the first slot machine in 1895, it wasn’t even played in a casino, and it was far from Las Vegas. Fey’s “Liberty Bell” machine was actually at his auto shop in San Francisco for customers to play while they waited for their cars to be fixed. It became so popular that casinos started buying them to give gamblers something to do when the table games were fully occupied.
Penny Slot Machines Make More Money for Casinos Than Any Other Game.
Don’t let the name fool you: so-called “penny slots” are actually the most profitable games for the casino industry. Casino owners say the early 2000s recession is to thank for the rising popularity of the machines, which allow gamblers to wager only a penny to play (but most bet a lot more) Some casinos have more penny slot machines than any other denomination: for example, penny slots made up 70% the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel total slot machines in 2013.
The First Casino License in Las Vegas Was Issued to a Woman.
The pioneers of the Las Vegas casino industry weren’t all male mobsters: the first legal casino license was issued to a woman named Mayme Stocker in 1920 for the Northern Club. Stocker was a respectable wife and mother who was frequently written about in the local newspaper society pages. She opened the casino under her name (her husband Harold didn’t want to be associated with it at first) and offered the only five games legal in Vegas at the time: stud poker, draw poker, lowball poker, 500, and bridge.
The Casino Industry Keeps a State Lottery Outlawed in Nevada.
Nevada is easily America’s gambling mecca, but did you know that you can’t buy a lottery ticket in the state? The casino industry has fought hard to keep a state lottery outlawed, despite the potential tax benefits. Nevada isn’t alone in the ban: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Utah are also lottery-free.
This are some of the most crazy facts from the casinos & gambling industry.
For more crazy facts stay tuned.
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