The father of the modern casino is often attributed to two individuals – François Blanc and Charles Wells. François Blanc was a French businessman who is credited with founding the famous Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco, while Charles Wells was an English gambler who became known as the “Man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo.”
François Blanc was born in 1806 in Bad Homburg, Germany, and was the son of a wealthy merchant. Blanc began his career in the textile industry, but he soon became interested in gambling and started to explore the possibility of opening a casino. In 1841, Blanc was invited to open a casino in the small principality of Monaco, which was struggling financially at the time. Blanc accepted the offer, and he soon transformed the sleepy seaside town into a luxurious resort destination. He built the Monte Carlo Casino in 1863, which became one of the most famous casinos in the world.
Blanc’s Monte Carlo Casino was not the first casino in Europe, but it was the first to offer a wide variety of games and attract a diverse crowd of wealthy patrons. Blanc was known for his innovative marketing techniques, which included offering free champagne to players and hosting lavish parties and events. He also introduced the concept of the “casino hotel,” which provided visitors with luxurious accommodations and entertainment options in addition to gambling.
Charles Wells, on the other hand, was a gambler who became famous for his exploits at the Monte Carlo Casino. Wells was born in 1841 in England and worked as a businessman and inventor before turning to gambling. In 1891, Wells arrived in Monte Carlo with a small bankroll and began playing roulette at the casino. He quickly became known for his incredible luck, and he won millions of francs over several visits to the casino.
Wells’ winning streak at the Monte Carlo Casino earned him the nickname “The Man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo.” He was eventually arrested and jailed for fraud, as many believed that he must have cheated to win so consistently. However, Wells maintained that he had simply been lucky and had used a mathematical system to beat the odds.
While Blanc and Wells are often credited with founding and popularizing the modern casino, the concept of gambling has been around for centuries.