Russia Culture Games Roulette


Unlike the majority of games of chance, which entered Russia from the east, such as billiards, dominoes and throwing dice, roulette came from Western Europe and appeared much later. It arose at the start of the nineteenth century in France and then in Germany, before sweeping across the entire continent.

Roulette became fashionable in all the seaside resorts, attracting masses of idle visitors who often lost small fortunes. The game was periodically banned as a form of gambling in various countries. Prussia was the most consistent in the battle against roulette. In 1871, when the German principalities united to form a single country, Prussia ensured that the ban on roulette was extended to cover the whole of Germany.

Roulette was originally called fortunka in Russia. It was played in a special gaming houses called a vokzal, named after the Vauxhall Gardens in London. In the late nineteenth century, the Italian word casino entered the Russian language. By this time, the original Casino in Monte Carlo had acquired international fame. When it was opened in 1863, it was virtually the only legal gambling establishment of its kind in Europe.

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