History of Gambling



Gambling has been part of people’s culture since the Paleolithic period. It is believed that gambling is ingrained in humanity and it is human nature to engage in this vice. The booming wagering industry we know today has undergone immense transformation over the years. We detail the history of gambling as is.

History of Gambling

The exact period that wagering came into being is still a mystery. However, archaeologists have unearthed gambling activities within troglodytes. Several dice-like objects made of bones and gambling paintings characterize the history of gambling. That being said, there are actual evidences of gambling in specific cultures and ages. Herein, we revisit this evidence-backed history.

Roots in China

The Chinese fascination with wagering dates back to 2300 BC. Tiles discovered in China show that the lottery was practiced during this period. Further evidence in the form of wood drawings is reported in the Book of Songs. Betting on animals while enjoying domino and lotto soon followed.

Keno was played in China in 200 B.C under the name ‘baige piao’. The game was used as a lottery by the then governments to fund major state investments. Keno tournaments were referred to as the ‘white pigeon ticket’ and they attracted the majority of gamblers. Playing cards became fashionable in China in the 9th century.

Roman and Greek Gamblers

Although gambling was strictly restricted in ancient Rome and within Greek societies, Romans and Greeks remained avid gamblers. They reverted to the use of chips to replace currency and in doing so, evaded the gambling restrictions. In his 500BC writing, Sophocles, the poet asserted that the Greeks invented dice.

More Casino Games

The poker and blackjack we play today were enjoyed in Korea in the 6th century. This game was played by Koreans using ‘silk arrows’, which were cards made of silk and paper. The French played vingt-et-un in the 17th century. Vingt-et-un has close similarities to modern blackjack.

Controlled Settings

More controlled and regulated casino houses emerged in Italy in 17th century and spread to continental Europe within next two centuries. Coming to 19th century, casino rooms began mushrooming in the US. From 1960 to present, Las Vegas and the USA, in general, continue to host high-end casino resorts.

The Internet Age

The inception of the Internet is closely linked with the history of online gambling. By the mid-90s, online casinos became trendy. From the onset, they have rivaled their brick and mortar counterparts. The web age has been characterized by innovative games that are playable on mobile devices.

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