We recently purchased some old copies of the german magazine "Die Rollende Kugel". The rolling ball, as it translates in English was a magazine originating in 1948 when Germany was just starting to recover from the depths of defeat in the Second World War. The regional State Governments once again opened the Spielbanks that had closed during hostilities to stimulate the economy and get hold of much needed foreign currency. Curiously it was the National Socialists that had re-opened the same Spielbanks in the Spa (Bad) towns immediately on coming to power in 1933. Previous to that, many had been closed due to concerns over losses and addiction to gambling by the locals.
The magazine was mainly concerned with the players preoccupation of beating the wheel. In the fifties French Roulette and Baccara were the only two games available. Blackjack still had not made its way over from America and slots were being placed in small numbers more as a curiosity and novel diversion rather than a serious means of earning revenue.
This cover is from October 1956. Issue No 48. The cost was DM2. The inset photo is of a double ended French table at Baden Baden being worked by 4 croupiers and appears to be a live game. All the players are formally dressed.
This picture is taken from advertising on the inside covers. Trimmed down, the rest of the photo shows the decorative chandeliers and artwork. Minimum and maximum bets range from DM2 to DM2400 on the even chance bets. Looking at the size of the wheel and the fact that perhaps an out of shape old ivory ball would be in play it is no wonder that many people believed that the game was more than capable of being beaten. It would be a wheel clockers paradise today.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is in Bayerische Alps. Just over the border is Austria and around 70 Km north is Munich. The casinos for many years in Bayern were only for foreigners and tourists. Again Roulette and Baccara are the table game offerings. Other Bayerische Spielbanks being Bad Wiessee, Bad Reichenhall, and Bad Kissingen.
This Advertisement is for Wiesbaden and was from 1964. Still in Germany but by this time the Rollende Kugel was up to issue 77. The magazine was by now carrying articles on casino gambling from around the world, even with a poor quality photo of a casino operating under the Castro regime in Havanna. In the same issue DM30 could buy the "Casino-Fuhrer" - an early guide to the casinos of Europe complete with games, maximums and minimum stakes.
Also from 1964 is this photo from Middelkerke on the Belgium coast. The casino still operates in the same building today and is owned by Grosvenor clubs, although the area surrounding it is far more developed.
The Rollende Kugel had also developed over the 16 years of issue into almost a glossy coffee table style but still with a plethora of systems and betting methods thought by the publishers to gain an advantage over the house.
Who was it who said when
asked about systems players "We send a car round to pick them up!".
More photos from the 50's and 60's coming up in the New Year.