History of Gambling: From Bones To Slots
History of Gambling: From Bones To Slots

History of Gambling: From Bones To Slots

History of gambling goes a long way back to the times before man could record anything. Mesopotamia is among the first regions that provided evidence of gaming in ancient civilizations. Artifacts found in China and Egypt dating back to the years Before Christ are among indications that have been used to prove that gaming is as old as the civilization of the world.

The stories told about the Roman Empire recounts events of peasants and emperors gambling with dice. Supporting documents have indicated instances of persons owing enormous gambling debts in the times of the Roman Empire. Two rulers, one ruling Sweden and the other Norway, went down in the history of gambling in the world for using dice to determine how territories should be divided.

Over time, gambling spread to other regions of the world and as a result more games were created to supplement the ones already available which mostly involved the rolling of dice. Initially, sticks, stones, and bones were used as playing chips. Emerging trends in this field brought about the use of more advanced chips such as the playing cards. Around the 9th Century AD, playing cards were first used in China. It then spread throughout Asia and Egypt, finally making their way to Europe in the 14th Century. After the cards, Mahjong titles and Dominos evolved later.

World History of Casino Gambling

The first gambling houses that could be compared to what we have today as brick and mortar casinos emerged in the 17th Century, particularly in Italy. Ridotto was established in 1638 in Venice to provide a controlled gaming environment amidst the confusion of the annual carnival festival. From Italy, casinos started springing up all over continental Europe during the 19th Century. At the same time in the US casinos, informal gambling houses were becoming popular. Important to note is that through the different civilizations gambling had a negative tag. It was illegal in most empires, and the elite looked down upon the activity. This factor, however, did not hinder the growth and spread of gambling.

Immigrants from England and other parts of Europe settling in America were more lenient towards gambling and encouraged it. History of gambling in the UK casinos and other European nations would explain why. On the other hand, settlers from other regions were not tolerant towards the activity. In 1910, gambling was prohibited in the entire nation due to public pressure. Gamblers did not cave and betting continued although discreetly. In the 1930s, the Great Depression and the Wall Street Crash prompted the government to lift the ban on gambling.

Not all states embraced gaming after the ban. Control was needed to govern the gambling market, and this gave rise to the introduction of laws and regulatory bodies that were tasked with the responsibility to regulate this market.

How Did Casino Games Develop?

With the legalization of gambling and advancement in games to fit within the establishments and the needs of players, certain casino games rose to popularity. Most of the games played at this time required real money. Free games were limited to particular occasions or when an establishment gave bonuses. Some of the game categories found in most brick and mortar casinos include:

Time When The Slots Start

The first slot machine made an entry into the gambling scene in 1891. The gameplay involved fifty playing cards and was based on poker. The device gained prominence in the gambling realm, and land-based casinos started having more than one slot machine. The game was dubbed the one-armed bandit because it had a lever that had to be pulled to start the game. There was no direct payout system for the first slot machines, and gamers always received their rewards in the form of merchandise from the bar such as beers and cigarettes. Manipulation of the first slot machines was easy because the drums could be rearranged to pre-determine the outcomes that would be displayed to players.

Over time, slot machines evolved to feature other symbols on the reels that made it easier for gamers to achieve winning combinations. In 1963, a fully electromechanical slot machine was developed. It became the first slot machine to handle payouts of up to five hundred coins without the help of a casino’s personnel. The device was well-liked by most gamblers pushing the one-armed bandit machines out of the picture. With time, video slots were developed thanks to advancements in technology providing variety for slot enthusiasts.

Epoch of Table Games

Games that fall in this category include blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and craps among others. These games are played on a table, and a croupier deals the cards. Gameplay procedures vary from one table game to the next. The origins of these games were also different.

  • Blackjack dates back to at least 18th century and is among the most sought-after table games even today. The exact origin of the game is hard to pinpoint, but the game has been documented to have been popular in French casinos. Settlers moving from this region to other parts of the world then spread the game. Currently, there are multiple variations of this games that players can find in both virtual and land-based casinos
  • Roulette is another table game that traces its origin back to France. It also emerged in the 18th Century same as blackjack and had multiple variations of it developed since
  • Baccarat is known to have originated from Italy back in the 15th Century. Baccarat is an Italian word meaning zero. Earlier versions of the game took time to spread throughout Europe but were among the favorite games for the French aristocracy. This game is now available in almost all casinos both on land and on the internet. Multiple reviews have pointed towards it being a favorite among the high roller gamblers
  • Craps traces its roots back to the dice game enjoyed in ancient Rome. Earlier versions of the game had to be modified to make them practical for play in brick and mortar casinos. Adaptations of the game were then made to make it conducive for the online casinos

These games gained popularity over time. Strategies have been developed over time to help gamers increase their chances of winning.

History of Poker

Poker games have a long history dating back to the 1900s. The game is said to have drawn its inspiration from Dominos. Multiple titles have been developed to cater to the needs of gamers interested in this category. In top online casinos, video poker games are provided too.

Multiple other games throughout the gambling history were developed and played in casinos while others were regarded as non-casino games but were still used for betting purposes. Some of the games that were played outside established casinos include:

  • Cards games such as Bridge and Basset.
  • Dice-based games such as Threes, Pig, and Perudo.
  • Coin toss games such as Two-up.
  • Confidence tricks such as Shell Game, among others.

Rules were set to govern how these games were played and also to determine who wins under which circumstances.

History of Online Gambling

Emerging trends in technology made it possible for land-based casino games to be adapted for the virtual scene. The first software to put gambling online was developed in 1994. From this year, the history of online gambling begins and explores trends that have emerged over time. Antigua, Barbuda, and the Caribbean were among the first nations to embrace online gaming. With this significant change, the need for regulatory bodies to oversee gambling on the internet became pressing. The first control body was established two years after the first online casino became operational.

In recent years, virtual gaming destinations have been able to compete actively with brick and mortar casinos to the brink of pushing them out by introducing game categories that focus on mimicking the land-based casino experience on the internet.

Live casino games involve a live dealer in a studio location dealing cards for gamers in the comfort of their homes. Multiple cameras are used to record the activities in the studio location.

Videos are then broadcast to the player in real-time allowing them to make decisions regarding gameplay about the cards they have received. There are multiple tables present, and gamers get to pick what they like as determined by the table requirements, the variation of the game, and the skill set possessed by the player.

The other game categories adapted from brick and mortar casinos have also been made diverse availing more choices for players. Online casinos have also been made available for a range of devices including smartphones, making them easily accessible for all types of gamers. Virtual Reality gears have also been explored and developed for virtual gaming sites. This element has made it possible for players to experience simulated gambling ventures infused with their own to make their experiences memorable in certain online casinos.

Gambling has undergone significant changes to be what it is today. Although most regions have permitted gambling, the regulation set for the industry are stringent. Some areas have regulated land-based betting but have no laws for online gaming. Gambling is still evolving as dictated by emerging trends.


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