Once upon a time, casinos and the mob were synonymous. Way back in the 1930s, it was underworld heavyweights such as Bugsy Siegel who ran the show in Vegas, playing an instrumental role in the opening of now-iconic casino venues such as The Flamingo. Fortunately, those days are long behind us.

Casino gaming has evolved to become a global multi-billion-dollar industry, with some of the largest entertainment companies in the world providing real-money gaming experiences to legions of players around the world. Let’s take a look at some of the ways casino gaming has changed since those early days.

Digital communities

We couldn’t talk about the evolution of the casino industry without highlighting the popularity of online casino gaming. These days, millions of people can play their favorite slots, table games, and live casino games from the comfort of their living room, simply by logging onto a real-money gaming platform.

This has also facilitated the rise of digital gaming communities, with specific games becoming global fan favorites. Chief among these is probably the Starburst slot, a space-themed video slot that might well just be the single most popular slot machine. Back in the 1930s, the idea of a single slot game gaining a global following would have been unthinkable.

On-the-go gaming

Speaking of online casino gaming, another major shift in the history of gambling has been the complete and total untethering of gambling from any fixed location. Back in the heady 1930s, Vegas and Atlantic City were the only options.

If you wanted to play a real slot game, you’d have to pack up and prepare for a multi-trip. These days, you can play all of the top casino games from your smartphone, no matter where you are. In addition, the number of land-based casinos has grown exponentially, to the point where no one is far away from one.

The evolution of perks

In both online and land-based casino gaming, it’s all about the perks. This was also the case back in the days of Bugsy Siegel, but perks were somewhat more modest back then. In those days, you’d be lucky if you were comped a steak dinner and tickets to a Sinatra show.

Nowadays, casinos will go all-out to treat their high-value customers and reward them for their loyalty. Even online casinos now offer free flights, hotel stays, curated trips, and dedicated account managers as part of their VIP loyalty programs.

A new level of luxury

When the Flamingo first opened it was considered the pinnacle of high luxury because each hotel room had its own private bathroom, something that was virtually unheard of around the world until that point. These days, the level of luxury on offer at a Las Vegas casino dwarfs anything that Siegel and his friends could have imagined.

Guests can enjoy access to private penthouse pools, rooms with bowling alleys attached to them, 10-course meals garnished with edible gold, and private helicopter ride between casinos.

Meanwhile, a poolside cabana at some of the hottest casino resorts can set you back $15,000 for a single day, but this does come with some pretty impressive butler and bottle services. Siegel and his ilk would be proud.

These days, the casino experience is unrecognizable from those early years of Vegas and Atlantic City. We know which era we prefer.