The name “Casino” is taken from the Italian word for “Summer House” and shares similar meanings in Portuguese and Spanish. This implied it was a place of entertainment and meetings, when it opened for business on July 15, 1899. There was no real gambling taking place in the Casino until 2014.
Only two years earlier, the early trolley lines of the Gilded Age first brought visitors to the sandy shores of Hampton Beach. Where the beach was a marvelous place to enjoy nature, the Casino was a high tech attraction of its era, illuminated by electric lights at a time when candles were commonplace.
The Casino was hugely popular from the start, and early on more and more improvements were made. A hotel, a convention center, and an athletic oval were soon added. An “Opera House” that featured the best vaudeville shows soon followed, laying the foundation for the Casino Ballroom that opened in 1927. A bandstand that would eventually become the Seashell Stage was built across the boulevard, while the second floor of the Casino acted as a grandstand for concerts and watching fireworks high above.
As times and tastes changed, so too has the Casino. The classic towers and dormers of the original Casino slowly vanished as it took on a more modern look in the 1950’s. The Ballroom kept up with changes in entertainment, moving from big bands to rock and roll. Under the guidance of the current minority ownership of the Schaake family, the Ballroom diversified into standup comedy, country, western and a dazzling constellation of entertainment stars and acts that places it among the top twenty-five club venues worldwide.
Amusements have come and gone, but the fun remains strong with classic arcade games, the nearby waterslide, a flavorful food court, and great sit down dining options within the Casino’s extended properties. Shopping has never been better as the Casino is the largest indoor mall at Hampton Beach, making it ideal for taking a break from the sand and surf.
Ownership changed hands several times over the last hundred years as each generation passed the torch to the next. With each change, the Casino has been reinvented. The current majority owner is Sal Lupoli, whose vision to extend the Casino’s season beyond the summer promises to bring a new golden era to the venerable Hampton Beach landmark.
On March 5, 2015, the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce presented their prestigious Business of the Year award to the Casino Ballroom "In Recognition of providing continued economic vitality to the Seacoast through innovation in business and commitment to excellence in entertainment since 1927"
A three alarm fire broke out in part of the Casino on October 12, 2016. Thanks to the swift action of local fire departments (in fact, the Hampton Beach Fire Department is located right behind the Casino) the fire was quickly contained, and shows continued on in the Casino Ballroom into November. In true Hampton Beach fashion, this calamity was turned into an opportunity, as plans were already under consideration to improve and modernize the century-old landmark for our clients and customers alike. As #Summer2017 begins, please pardon our sawdust as we make the finishing touches to our renovations.
Welcome to our summer house at Hampton Beach. You are sure to have the time of your life when you’re here!