The Origins of Gambling: Tracing the Early Beginnings of Wagering

Gambling has been around nearly as long as humans have existed. From the earliest games, which involved betting on animal fights, rolls of the dice, and even coin flipping, to the countless number of online casinos, the gambling industry is incredibly varied and provides a deeper perspective of life throughout the history of humanity.

The legality of gambling has also evolved over time and depends upon context, customs, and morals. As gambling is so old that it predates history, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when it began. Despite that, there’s still an intriguing history behind gambling that you’ll learn from this post.

Types of Gambling

Throughout history, there have always been two primary forms of gambling: social and commercial.

  • Social gambling involves playing against other players
  • Commercial gambling involves playing against the gambling house

Wagering is the most basic type of social gambling. Basically, it involves one person betting against another over whether something’s going to happen or not. Both parties agree upon stakes, odds, and possible prizes. Finally, the winner takes home the prize based on the result.

Commercial gambling is also known as real money gambling. It involves placing bets on casino games to win real money at legit gambling sites, including the casino Spin City.

Lotteries were probably the earliest type of commercial gambling. Much later, table games like the forerunners of blackjack and roulette emerged. Recently, games such as keno and bingo have been developed to entertain big crowds.

Ancient Gambling

Based on history books, gambling has existed for as long as the human race has existed. The earliest evidence of people gambling was recorded in the first-ever type of gaming that originated in Ancient China. The Chinese history book known as “Book of Songs” suggests that tiles were an essential feature of a lottery-like game.

The Ancient Chinese people also bet on animal fights, while some rulers were recorded as having wasted the state’s funds on gambling habits. Moreover, historical records also show that Chinese government officials traded Keno slips for money to complete state projects in 200 B.C.

Dice games are believed to be the earliest form of gambling and were invented probably around 3000 B.C. in Ancient Mesopotamia. Sheep bones, the knucklebones especially, were the foundation of dice. Dice games have also been cited in multiple manuscripts all over the world, including the Bible and the Indian Vedas.

Gambling in the Medieval and Renaissance Eras

Across the Medieval and Renaissance eras, gambling went through a major revolution. Card games were introduced, opening up infinite possibilities for gamblers, from simple card games to horse race betting.

Some Medieval and Renaissance gamblers still favored classic board games such as Backgammon or Chess. However, most people were excited by the possibility of new thrilling opportunities to win major prizes.

The emergence of casinos was an even more revolutionary idea in these eras. Grand, luxurious casino establishments came onto the scene, complete with card tables, dice tables, and all manner of exciting games for people from all walks of life to enjoy.

Modern Era Gambling

The origin of slot machines can be traced back to the early 1890s in the US.  The increasing popularity of gambling at the dawn of the 1900s made the gambling industry more structured.

In addition, the end of World War 2 saw a new class of investors turning their focus to the now notorious Las Vegas Strip. Some of the world’s most innovative architects flocked to Las Vegas to create daring new designs for luxury hotel-casinos that millions of casino players patronized.

Digital Age Gambling

The gambling industry started flourishing in the 20th century, thanks to the advent of many new technologies. Suddenly, slot machines became widely adopted everywhere, from convenience stores to casinos, having been the subject of curiosity in previous eras.

With the advent of internet technology in the early 1990s, casino players no longer needed to visit their favorite casinos in person to play. All they had to do was log into the casino website and play their favorite games from home.

Today, the global gambling industry is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Commercial gambling brings in the largest share of revenue, though the total amount of cash wagered informally might be much more significant than you can imagine.

Advances in technology have also contributed to the popularity of mobile gambling among players. Today, many players prefer to access online gaming on their mobile devices instead of desktop devices. They can enjoy their favorite games at home and even on the go.

The Takeaway

The origins of gambling are a crucial part of understanding human history. Humans have a universal instinct to gamble. Technological advancements have changed how people bet, but the practice has also hugely influenced how we view the world.

Regardless of how hard authorities worldwide try to stop the industry, people will never stop gambling. This popular leisure activity has existed for thousands of years and will continue to be around forever!

Published in Casino news

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