Press "Enter" to skip to content

History of Gambling from Ancient Times

The history of gambling is irrevocably linked to the development of humanity itself. This pastime dates back to the paleolithic era – before written history was even recorded. How do we know this? Because when the first known agricultural societies emerged in Mesopotamia, they were already using a rudimentary form of dice. Gambling was very different in those early days. For example, gambling predates the very concept of money, so the first bets were placed in the form of livestock, tools, or weapons. Below we will discuss the early history of gambling and how it started and how it changed through the years.  Today, gambling takes many forms to include online gambling.  There are many online opportunities to search for such as  Bonus Code 2020

History of dice

Dice
Image by Willi Heidelbach from Pixabay

One thing’s for certain – the root of gambling is closely linked with astragalomancy. This is the term given to the specific form of divination (fortune-telling) based on rolls of a dice. Before people were gambling for money or resources, they were seeking divine advice communicated through chance. These dice, bones of hooved animals, were different than the ones we use today. The earliest dice that resemble modern equivalents dates back to 3000 BCE discovered in an Ancient Egyptian tomb.

When agricultural society developed, nomadic people stayed in one place instead of roaming around. This allowed them to create a surplus of food and labor. Suddenly, people could pursue other trades instead of simply hunting all day. These people needed a payment system. This is when money as we know it began to take shape. As soon as people had a way to store and represent their wealth, gambling became an inevitable pastime. 

History of gambling in China

Although Mesopotamian societies were probably the first to gamble, the earliest known conclusive records of gambling come from ancient China. Tiles were unearthed that seemed to be connected to a game of chance. Gambling houses were common in China by the first millennium BCE. At this stage, betting on fighting animals was extremely popular. China seems to have been involved in many forms of gambling thousands of years ago. Evidence for an ancient form of lottery was also found in China, possibly put in place to fund infrastructure projects like the great wall of China. Incredibly old playing cards were also found in China. 

History of playing cards

Playing cards and chips
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

When it comes to playing cards, however, Ancient Persia is the source of one of the most popular games today – Poker. Known in ancient times as As-Nas, this game is relatively unique in the gambling world because there is some skill involved. 

Poker has become synonymous with poker chips – the coin-like pieces used to represent one’s winnings in the card game. Unlike the game itself, poker chips originate in ancient Rome. Gambling became so popular and widespread across the city of Rome that it was banned entirely to maintain order. The crafty Romans figured out a way around this rule by using chips instead of real currency. When the authorities caught them, they could simply claim that they were playing for fake money. 

History of gambling on horse racing

Another early form of gambling developed alongside the sport of horse racing. The sport was introduced to Great Britain by the Romans. They gambled on events like chariot racing in their amphitheaters. The Roman love for gambling seems to have become part and parcel of Britain’s development of horse racing, and the sport quickly became a national pastime. 

History of card games

Cards
Image by Henryk Niestrój from Pixabay

In the 1400s, the game of Baccarat came to France via Italy. Historians agree that this is the earliest game still played in casinos today since Poker changed dramatically over the years to reach its current form. Baccarat also transformed considerably throughout the ages, but at its core remains the same since the middle ages. 

Another famous card game you’ll find in every casino is Blackjack. Historians are divided when it comes to the origin of this game, but evidence seems to point to Spain. A prominent author in the 1600s mentioned a game called “Ventiuna,” which appears to share many common characteristics with modern blackjack. However, other historians argue that Blackjack most likely comes from French games such as “Trente-un” or “Quinze” that were developed much earlier than “Ventiuna.” Whichever way you slice it, the earliest common relative of Blackjack is most certainly “Vingt-en-un” (literally twenty-one), which comes from France. This was the game early settlers brought to America, where the name was changed once again to “Blackjack.”

History of gambling in Italy

The first casinos in the world were established in Italy. The Ridotto had the honor of being the first legal casino in history established in 1638. However, the pope closed the establishment almost 150 years later in 1774 due to moral reasons. However, by that point, it was too late to reign in the emerging trend of casinos. The establishments had sprung up all over the world. By the 19th century, casinos were developing new and interesting gambling games, such as roulette.

History of gambling and technology

Technology has had a significant impact on gambling over the years. The first slot machines revolutionized casinos and turned gambling into a system based on computerized odds. Although the first slot machines dispensed only cigars and chewing gum, real payouts soon followed. 

Gambling has gone virtual

Today, technology has taken gambling even further into the virtual world. These days, you can visit online casinos and play poker with real people for real money. You can also bet on various sports matches without even having to visit a bookie. In many cases, online sports betting is easier and more profitable from the comfort of your own home. After all, the internet makes it easy to assess the different odds and choose the best company to place your bets through. You can even search the web for a Bonus Code 2020 and get all kinds of deals the next time you place a bet. 

What about the stock market?

Some would even argue that the stock market is a form of gambling. Although the global economic markets are indeed based on trends and some form of underlying logic, it’s a guessing game at the end of the day for most people. Insider trading and heavily manipulated markets means that for many folks, investing in stocks truly is a gamble. Who knows what the next form of gambling will be? One thing’s for sure: as humanity develops, so too will the ancient art of gambling. 

Featured Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay