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Origin and History of Gambling

The Origin and History of gambling

Origin and History of Gambling: Nobody knows exactly when and where the game of luck started. Man has always loved to gamble, which is why it can be assumed that gambling is as old as man himself.  

From the oldest dice and cards made from tiles to major casinos and online gambling halls – the history of gambling has many exciting developments and events to tell.

First dice & playing cards in China 

The first cubes were made around 3,000 years BC. found in China. But similar finds were also made in India and Egypt. The dice back then were six-sided and had numbers, lettering, or letters on them. At that time, gambling was mainly used to finance government works such as public institutions. But even today, universities such as Harvard and Yale use Lotteries for financing.

History of Gambling

Spread of Gambling from the 17th century

As gambling has evolved and spread over the years, organization and regulation have also become increasingly important. In the 17th century, after the first casino in Venice, more and more casinos opened all over the world. The classic table games had already established themselves by then and were enormously popular. With the invention of the first video slots, the path to today’s online casino was paved.

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Origin and History of gambling

The most important dates in the history of gambling

For a better overview, you can read about the most important events in the history of gambling here.  

20th century BC BC: The first evidence of gambling

As already mentioned, gambling is as old as mankind. However, the very first evidence dates back to 200 BC. Here number tiles were excavated, which were most likely used for a simple lottery game. As is so often the case, the income was used to finance state works, such as the construction of the Great Wall of China.   

5th century BC BC: Invention of gambling chips 

While the first dice date back to 3,000 B.C. The first gambling chips were invented within the walls of ancient Rome as a result of a gambling ban. The ancient Greeks and Romans used every free time to bet on all kinds of things and we’re already addicted to the game of luck. To avoid punishment, they invented gambling chips. In an emergency, they could simply tell the guards that they weren’t playing for real money, just chips.

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9th Century: Card Games in China

The first card games are said to have existed in China in the 9th century. What exactly was played and what the rules were, however, has been lost over time. According to tales, the cards were both the stake and the game itself. However, the playing cards of the time have very little to do with today’s standard deck. Oftentimes they were decorated with human forms and with the spread queens and kings were used on the cards. 

15th Century: The first baccarat games in Europe

Baccarat is probably the oldest game that is still played in casinos today. The first versions were mentioned in the 15th century. The game underwent several evolutions and rule changes over time until it became the game we know today. Ultimately, today’s version of Cuba made its way to America via Britain. Then as of now, the game was very popular with wealthy players, even though it is not a stand-alone game, but more of a betting game for the spectators. 

16th Century: From 21 to Blackjack

The 16th-century French game Ventiuna (English: twenty-one) is a precursor to modern-day blackjack. It came to the United States with the early settlers from France and over time became established there. To make the game their own, Americans coined the name “blackjack” in the 1930s and added a rule to the game. The jack of blacks (“Black Jack”) was paid out at 10 to 1 odds, which they hoped would bring in more customers. The success did not come, but the name of the game stuck.    

17th Century: The first casinos in Italy 

Gaming cafes were the casinos of the 17th century. The first café of this kind opened in Venice in 1638 to create a controlled gaming environment during the chaotic carnival season. Real casinos only opened their doors in Europe in the 19th century. In America, on the other hand, semi-legal casinos and gambling on steamships were in vogue.

History of gambling

18th Century: Roulette in Paris

Unlike many people think, roulette does not come from America but has its origins in the casinos of Paris. In the early days of roulette, there were double zero wheels. However, with the growing popularity of the game, the famous casino in Monte Carlo decided to play the version with only one green zero. And although the Americans stuck to the double zero wheels for a long time, the European variant established itself as the standard in the casinos.

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19th Century: The beginning of poker

As is so often the case, new games are created through inspiration from other games. This is how poker developed from different card games over many years. While some claim to have seen a precursor to the game as early as the 17th century in Persia, others say poker is said to be the successor to the French game of poque.   

In fact, the English actor Joseph Crowell said that in 1829 in New Orleans, a version very similar to today’s poker was played. While poker is the most popular casino game today, it didn’t really take off until the 1970s with the first World Series of Poker tournaments in Vegas. However, the game only became really famous with online poker and TV shows. Because spectators had a look at the players’ cards, they were able to join in the excitement of the exciting matches.  

20th Century: First slot machines & the emergence of online casinos

The first slot machine was invented by Sittman and Pitt in New York in 1890. It was a slot machine that displayed the 52 cards of the poker game on a drum. At the same time, Charles Fey was developing the Liberty Bell machine in San Francisco. It was able to regulate winnings much more precisely and thus represents the beginning of slot machines. While we are used to slot machines spitting out money today, back then it was often just cigars or chewing gum. The real money version only became established in bars and casinos. 

The invention of the first video slot in 1976 paved the way for online business. The starting signal for online gambling was the year 1994. This year Antigua and Barbuda passed a free trade law that allowed the issuing of licenses for online casinos. Even before the first online casino, the world-renowned company Microgaming developed the first gambling software. With the possibility of secure payments, the first online casinos opened their doors. After only 5 years, the online business was already turning over a billion dollars a year. With the live dealer offerings since 2003, that number has increased many times over. Online casinos now turn over $50 billion annually, with most of the revenue coming from mobile phones. Around 400 billion dollars are turned over worldwide in casinos and sports betting. The gambling industry is booming more than ever.  

21st Century: Legalization of online gambling in Germany 

No wonder, then, that Germany has also legalized gambling nationwide since July 1, 2021. With the new State Treaty on Gambling, German players can now also play for real money in casinos with an official license. The corresponding rules and measures of the new casino law are intended to regulate the gambling industry in the future and ensure the necessary protection for players.

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