Gambling is a part of human civilization and has been around us for ages from the time people started playing the game of chance around five thousand years back. Moving to the 21st century, people still enjoy playing gambling games and betting as in the past. Although countries like China still prohibit gambling among citizens, there are countries that are flourishing due to the gambling industry. We can say that gambling has always been a part of human history but has now become a well-established social phenomenon, especially after commercial casinos and online gambling came into existence.
Finding the exact date when gambling started in real is impossible since different countries started the game during different times. Research indicates that the game of chances was first played across the world and in every society irrespective of laws or official statements. Interestingly, the players who were involved in the game were unaware of each other but loved playing it together. In America, gambling started with knucklebones which are mentioned as Roman Empire guards bickered over Jesus’ garments at the time of crucifixion in the Bible. Game of chance was already becoming popular at that time, and it was also known as First Persian Empire during the Achaemenid Empire.
Scientific research also proves that gambling was available in the palaeolithic age before history was first written. Mesopotamia also gambled with six-sided dice around 3000 BC. Many dice-based games were introduced but the book of history states that the earliest gambling game came into existence in Ancient China. The Chinese book named ‘Book of Songs’ refers to the drawings that indicate tile-like structure which might have been a significant component of lotteries. In 200 BC Chinese used gambling funds for financing government-backed projects and in the 19th century, they invented the game of cards. But the rules of playing gambling games in ancient days are still a mystery alongside game guidelines about how it was played.
How did different gambling games come into existence?
A Game of Chance
An ancient game that was played with the help of rolling dice is mentioned by the Greek poet Sophocles and was created by a mythical hero at the time of the siege of Troy. The writing of Sophocles mentioned the use of dice and how people loved playing gambling games during 500 BC in Greek nations. But historians found that there is evidence of dice games in an Egyptian tomb that was erected in 3000 BC.
It is believed that both Greeks and Egyptians loved playing gambling games with their personal belongings as wagers. All sorts of games they played such as dice games included gambling to great extent but were actually forbidden in the city of Rome. People who were caught playing were fined heavily for breaking the rules.
Baccarat which is still played and loved by many is one of the ancient gambling games that were introduced in the 14th century. The game rules included two to three cards that players had to hold and the winner was determined according to the highest remainder when the cards were divided by ten. This was the time people started using cards for gambling.
The name of the Spanish version of blackjack, Ventiuna, which translates to “21,” is a reference to the country’s history. It is likely that the 17th-century game Ventiuna was a precursor to the one we know today. Blackjack in modern-day gambling was indeed an American invention that was first associated with Nevada’s advertising-driven casinos in the 1930s. They designed the game to have 1 to 10 odds for each participant in order to draw in more potential players. Blackjack is so named because the player can only win if they have an Ace of Spades and a black Jack of Clubs or Spades.
Paris Little Wheel originated in Paris which we today call Roulette. It looked like the American Roulette wheel played fifty years back and underwent many changes to become what we know today. When the game was introduced, it had just one single zero on the Roulette which was liked by players. The game’s popularity grew in the 19th century. Monte Carlo, a famous casino adopted its latest version first that quickly spread across European nations. But Americans still like to play Roulette which had the original dual zero on the wheels and not one.
Poker game origins are a bit hard to recognise due to conflicting research and debates. Some claims that it originated centuries back due to card games’ popularity while others claim that it was first played in Persia in the 17th century. Many also claim that Poker is inspired by the French game Poque. But what we know about Poker today can be attributed to the world poker tournaments that began in the 1970s from Vegas casinos. The online poker versions and television shows further made the game popular among youth as it made them millionaires within no time.
One of the easiest and most interesting gambling games, Slot machines were first invented in San Francisco in 1894 by Charles Frey. His discovery was called Liberty bell at that time which later became a slot machine. The Liberty Bell had three spinning reels, an automated payout system and a single pay line. The machines, however, advanced over time and today, we can find a five-reel game that can be played in more than forty ways.
Future of Gambling
Now that we have the technology and the internet in our hands, the gambling industry has developed like never before. Although gambling via multiple payment platforms is been there for the past few decades, the next generation of gambling is expected to rely more upon blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Since blockchain technology employs a transparent transaction system, lowers transaction costs and reduces the house edge, it has already become a part of many popular gambling sites.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency further allow players to place wagers anonymously with instant withdrawal and deposit facility besides lesser documentation for creating an account. The advantages of blockchain have, in fact, made online gambling sites consider crypto to create a blockchain-based gaming ecosystem having new opportunities for gamblers.