History of Gambling – How It Started And Where It Is Heading
February 23rd, 2022 by David Martin
While playing your round of poker or pulling the lever on a slot machine, you are a part of a long history that goes back to the Bronze Age. Well, at least the first evidence of betting dates to 2300 BC in Ancient China. Today’s experience would not be the same and wouldn’t have been developed as it is had it not been for the rich history of betting in various parts of the world. The urge to try out our luck has always been part of us. Also, let’s not forget the time well spent while doing it. The act of gambling gathers people for a time of fun and it has been a way of socializing for thousands of years. Let’s have a look at the beginnings of gambling and how it progressed to being one of the most dominant means of entertainment.
Table of Contents
The Prehistoric Era
As mentioned, the earliest evidence dates back to Ancient China where slips were found probably for a type of lottery game. At the time, lottery games were used for funding works of the state which in this case could be the Great Wall of China.
Dice were found in an Egyptian tomb so we could assume the habit of gambling was popular there as well. As for the Ancient Greeks and Romans, they were no strangers to trying out their luck. However, it was illegal within the borders of the city of Rome at the time. Gamblers were fined for this, having to pay much more than they waged. This is when chips were invented. They could get away by saying they were playing for chips and not real money. Who knew chips go way back but still are used at casinos?
The Middle Ages
Cards appeared in China in the 9th century but do not resemble today’s standard deck of cards so much. Games they played with them are unknown but using cards is widely known. More on cards, a game called Baccarat or Baccara was created in the Middle Ages, more specifically, the 14th century. This two-player card game started in Italy and France and then spread to other countries later on.
The Early Modern And Modern Era
The early stages of the Modern Era are a time when gambling started developing fast. New games were introduced and casinos opened. Blackjack was new in the 17th century. It had various names depending on the country but all of them were quite similar. It was even mentioned in a short story ‘Rinconete y Cortadillo’ by a famous Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. In 1638, the first casino was founded in Venice called ‘Ridotto’. It was a government-owned gambling house and the aim was to convert illegal gambling into a formal and controlled way of entertainment. The Modern Era brought poker and roulette into the story and enriched gaming houses of the time. Of course, these games were not created from scratch but they were based on something people had used to play earlier.
We couldn’t imagine playing online today and trying out different slots if it hadn’t been for the first slot machines in New York and San Francisco at the end of the 19th century. This was the beginning of the game of chance which resembles online slots today. The mechanization of gambling such as this represented a new era of precision and accuracy.
The early 20th century was not a happy time for gamblers in the USA since there was nationwide pressure to prohibit gambling the same as alcohol. However, in the 30s it was legal again to play. Las Vegas, Nevada is still a popular destination for legal gambling even though it still has its limitations in other places.
Finally, virtual casinos are a step closer to current gambling events. The virtual world was presented in 1994 by a still-running game developer Microgaming. It was a billion-dollar worth idea which is the foundation to how games are played right. Mobile gambling has become much more popular in recent years and made playing easier and more convenient. Developers understood the assignment and focused on creating mobile-friendly games.
We can openly say we are living the future when it comes to gambling. With the emergence of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, the gambling industry is taking a huge step forward. Many people are using Bitcoin and Ethereum as the main ways of payment due to safe and easy transactions. Less information is needed from players and the requirements are different. Blockchain ensures transparent transactions at lower costs without much documentation requested from users.
Virtual and augmented reality makes time online like nothing we have experienced before. This exciting feature attracts a wider audience, even those people who have never been into gambling. This brings us to the most recent thing called the Metaverse which brings all worlds together. Here, people will be able to socialize, learn, play and of course, gamble with other people virtually. The trends are getting more interesting and user-friendly, so we will see how developers could top that.