Gambling is almost everywhere you look now, but when did it start?
It is impossible to say exactly when Gambling started, but there is evidence that dates right back to 2300BC that suggests some form of Gambling took place. “While it is almost certain that some forms of betting have been taking place since the dawn of human history, the earliest concrete evidence comes from Ancient China where tiles were unearthed which appeared to have been used for a rudimentary game of chance.” Maybe it was always in human nature to fancy your chances on a risky gamble, but this indication could be what where Gambling today stemmed from. It is fair to say it has progressed on a mass scale as time has gone on, right up till today. Following this, at around 400-500BC Greek poet Sophocles claimed that dice were invented by the Greeks, yet there is evidence dice dated back further than this after a pair was found in an Egyptian tomb from 3000BC. Ancient Romans and Greeks were renowned for being skilled gamblers. Maybe it’s in human nature after all?

The next pivotal moment in this timeline would be the creation of playing cards. Playing cards were invented by the Chinese before AD1000. But don’t be mistaken, these were not the 52 deck set of cards we see today, but this was the first evidence of playing card existence. And now, playing cards are used in casinos still today for games like blackjack and baccarat. Baccarat came around in the 1400s as it started in Naples, Italy and migrated to France. However, the game we know today took hundreds of years of evolution before it became what it is today. Next was the invention of Blackjack and its origin, which is still a topic that is heavily debated today. There is no clear factual information that guarantees who it was created by, but most agree it probably originated in French casinos around 1700, where it was called Vingt-et-Unwhich, translated, means twenty-one. However, blackjack is paramount in the success of Gambling and casinos, and is still highly popular in the industry today, some hundred years later. In 1638 Venice Italy,  Casino di Venezia opened and is officially the oldest Casino in the world. Although in contemporary society, if wanting to visit a casino, a trip to Venice is not necessary. Instead, a few clicks of a button on the internet and you can find yourself on an online casino.

It is believed that Roulette came around in the 17th century, but there is speculation as to when any of the casino games we see today were really created. The most widely accepted version is that the first incarnation of the game was created by French math wizard and accomplished nerd Blaise Pascal somewhere in the 17th century.
Different variations of the game were invented from here, the two most commonly known today being the American version and the European version. It is now highly popular in the Gambling world. Arguably the most significant game in the Gambling industry is Poker. Professional poker players in 2018 can make millions of pounds from playing the game, online or in casino, but it is uncertain when Poker originated.

“What we do know for sure is that an English actor by the name of Joseph Crowell reported that a recognizable form of the game was being played in New Orleans in 1829, so that is as good a date as any for the birth of poker. The growth of the game’s popularity was fairly sluggish up until world poker tournaments started being played in Vegas in the 1970s. However poker really exploded with the advent of online poker and televised events allowing spectators to see the players’ hands. When amateur player Chris Moneymaker qualified for and won the 2003 world poker championship after qualifying through online play, it allowed everyone to picture themselves as online poker millionaires.”

The Las Vegas strip which holds over 40 casinos is arguably the hotspot for Gambling in the World today. From the Nevada Gaming Control Board Revenue report for July 2017, of the 38,434 slot machines in operation in the 40 different casinos, they earned $269,527,000. Slot machines are strategically marketed to keep gamblers enticed, but eventually prosper the machine financially. The first invention of slot machines was in 1887 by Charles Fey in San Francisco California U.S.  This was the starting point for slot machines, as they were developed from here on out. However, the early slot machines paid winnings in cigars and chewing gum instead of money! The first video slot machine was invented in 1976, which paved the way for the popular online video slots we see today.

Gambling in the USA has had a rocky relationship. after being prohibited in 1910, it still took place behind discreet closed doors. However, following the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression in the early 1930s led to Gambling being legalised, in a bid to try and act as an incentive to Americans to end the poverty they suffered through. Now in today’s society, Gambling is legal in many states and famously known in Las Vegas and Nevada, but there are still restrictions in some states for online gambling for Americans. Nonetheless, in May this year the supreme court struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports.

The first virtual casino was created in 1994 by Microgaming. It is one of the largest online casino and slot game developers. The online gaming industry was worth over a billion dollars within 5 years, and today is a multi-billion dollar industry with over a thousand online casinos and growing. This step into the future enabled gamblers to participate from their desktop devices, even to the mobile phones in their pockets. The accessibility of gambling is incredibly easy for people, and has come a very long way from the beginning. One thing we do know is, it’s almost certain that it’s in human nature to fancy a gamble.

Look out for next weeks posts here.