A Brief History of Gambling

People have always sought ways to relieve their boredom and pass the time. In fact, it has probably been around as long as human beings have, as it remained one of the most popular modes of entertainment. Although things like knitting and reading might help, there was something that has always been more popular with people all around the world – gambling. It is unclear why exactly it has remained so popular for thousands of years, but it is probably the thrill of playing against the odds that keeps the players on edge and coming back for more.

How did it all start?

The earliest evidence of gambling is older than you might think –it even predates written history, as archaeologists found some evidence of gambling from the Paleolithic period. 

The oldest six-sided dice, similar to those we use today, were invented in Mesopotamia, dating to 3000 BC. The first regulated gambling institutions were noticed in ancient China, where gambling houses were common in the first millennium BC. People also liked to bet on things like animal or human fights, not unlike today. Judging from Greek and Roman art, people in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome also liked to bet on animal fights, and that there were animals specially bred for fighting.

How did modern gambling develop?

All of these games that we mentioned greatly differ from the modern concept of casinos that we are used to, as well as gambling in general. The truth is that gambling has evolved for thousands of years to come to the familiar form that we know and love. Playing cards, for example, originated from 9th century China, but they were far different from what we have today. The faces of the cards bore some human forms to illustrate them, but it was not until they arrived in Europe that we received the more famous illustrations of Kings and Queens which are present even today. Poker is a game practically everyone has heard of; it originated from 17th century Persia, from a game called As-Nas.

The evolution of casinos

The first casino was opened in Venice, Italy, in 1638, named the Ridotto, meaning ‘private room’, which was a gambling establishment owned by the state of Venice, and the first legal casino in the Western world. This casino came to be opened after the state authorities fruitlessly tried to stop illegal games of chance-taking place all over the city. Although it was supposed to be open to the public, its regulations restricted access only to wealthy Venetians. However, it was closed almost a century later, because it caused the impoverishment of local merchants and noblemen. Casinos have come a long way since then, but the greatest innovation in the world of gambling is certainly the invention of the Internet, which allowed casinos to move to the online world.

The future of casinos

Suddenly, the casinos were more readily available than ever, and people who were for any reason unable or unwilling to go to a regular casino were now able to gamble from the comfort of their own home. The nineties were a key time period when the first betting websites and online casinos were opened. In the years to come, things have become even more interesting, with the development of smartphones, which now allowed people to gamble from virtually any location with access to a mobile network, which brought casinos into practically all parts of life.