Old is gold, or so they say. When it comes to online gambling, almost every game you can play is rooted in history, passed down and played for centuries until it eventually translated to the screens. It’s difficult to pin down exactly when that was, the first online casinos sprang up around 1996 – but many of the concepts that sit at the heart of these games remain unchanged, and universally loved, by users to this day. Here are some of the best retro online gambling games you can still enjoy today.
When Life was a Lottery
When it comes to old-school, bingo can boast a rich history all to itself. Best estimates place a version of bingo being played in 16th century Italy, as early as the 1530s. A popular Italian lottery known as Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia proved enticing enough to spread to France – where it was known as Le Lotto. The game was reserved largely for the aristocracy in those days, thankfully it’s no longer the case. From there, it migrated across Europe, and into the UK in the 18th century where it grew into a widely accessible and fun communal game. The online versions boast some of the largest userbases of online gambling sites. For example, Betfair, an online bingo site in the UK, will host numerous live bingo rooms at a time, with significant jackpots running in each.
The One-Armed Bandit
Slots are another classic element of the online gambling scene, and also maintain roots as far back as the 19th century – the first coin-operated slot machine first going live in 1894 in the US. A good example of the digital versions that try to harken back to the simpler times would be Retro Style – which operates a 20-pay line, five-reel, progressive slot (relatively low for an online slot) keeps within the more limited range of pay lines seen in older games. The artwork is a major facet of slots, physical and online, and Retro Style features frequent symbols that are now considered the basis of slot machine artwork in the future – fruit imagery, precious stones, and classic cars. A real blast from the past.
Fun, plain and simple
We’d be remiss to leave out one of the most famous and more beloved of gambling game format – Blackjack. One of the oldest and most popular, Blackjack was a French invention from the early 17th century, before migrating to the US and becoming the familiar game we know now. Its strengths lay in simplicity, and the need for skill as much as luck. The digital blackjack scene resonates with existing players for its familiarity and newcomers for its accessibility.
While innovation never stops in the online gaming industry, the basis of their platforms and the games that continue to draw in players are often those with the longest histories and generations of refining to become what they are now. If it’s not nostalgia that wins us over, it’s the wealth of choice and access to them that separates the retro from the new. It’s likely it always will.