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Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Casinos On The Internet

While card rooms and private gaming clubs may have been around for hundreds of years, the earliest known European casino of the type gamblers know today is probably the Casino at Monte Carlo.

In the late 90s casinos started appearing on the internet and they really started to get popular in 2005. Today there are literally millions of people playing in online casinos all over the world. In some countries such as the USA there are still regulation problems but in the UK it’s 100% regulated and it’s extremely popular. Popular card games such as Online Blackjack and Poker can now be enjoyed in the comfort of your home and providing of course that you play responsibly you will enjoy doing it.

French Piquet cards

Modern European Casinos

In mainland Europe today, the German Spielbank chain of casinos corners the casino market. The largest of these is the Casino at Bad Neuenahr Ahrwieler, which hosts all the most popular and well-known casino games, including blackjack games, roulette and craps.

English Casinos

In England, London is legendary for its casino gambling and card rooms. The most famous of these is the Grosvenor Victoria Casino, known colloquially as "The Vic," a casino where every European gambler and card player worth his or her salt is expected to have spent some time. Other popular London casinos include Aspinalls, the Ritz Club and Ladbrokes Casino. English gamblers have the chance to play online as well, as they can take their pick from several no deposit casino sites.

European Casinos Today

Unlike American casinos, which are limited by somewhat restrictive gambling laws, some European casinos have branched out into the online world. This enables the casinos to increase their traffic and profits significantly, and gives their clients a choice regarding where and when to play. One of the most successful of the London online casinos is Ladbrokes.com, which offers online poker, an online sportsbook, online table games and more.

Bee 92 Casino quality by USPCC for Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, 1995

Above: Bee 92 Casino quality playing cards made by USPCC with custom ace and jokers for Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, 1995. The deck has been cancelled by drilling a hole through the centre. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Aristocrat New York New York Casino by USPCC

Above: Aristocrat New York New York Casino deck by USPCC. The suit of hearts are apples, making it rather unusual. The deck has been cancelled by cropping the corners. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

Aristocrat Casino Cards for Excalibur Casino by USPCC 2005

Above: Aristocrat brand deck for Excalibur Casino by USPCC with custom jokers, 2005. Image courtesy Matt Probert.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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