history of gambling

The History of Gambling

Did you know bets were made even before the written history? Check it out!

From the earliest human communities, gambling was a part of everyday life. Through this article, we are going to revise some important and interesting dates in the history of gambling.

There is material evidence that suggests that people have been gambling since the Paleolithic period. That means that bets were made even before the written history!

Fasten your seat belt and get ready for the wild ride through the history of gambling!

Gambling Built a Great Wall of China

Did you know that the earliest concrete evidence in the history of gambling comes from Ancient China? Chinese have played a rudimentary version of the game of chance with the unearthed tiles.

In their oldest book of poems, ‘Book of Songs,’ the drawing of wood was mentioned. That suggests that tiles may have formed part of a lottery-type game.

Also, the goal of gambling in Ancient Chine was not only to have fun and win some money. On the contrary, it was a way of funding state works. For example, Keno slips were used as a part of the lottery which took part in the construction of the Great Wall of China!

An interesting fact is that betting was often used for civic purposes throughout history. Best universities in the world, like Harvard and Yale, were established with the help of the lottery funds.

The Dice is Cast

You all are familiar with gambling chips. But who and why invented them? As a matter of fact, Romans did! The history of gambling wouldn’t be the same without Ancient Greeks and Romans and their love of gambling. Roman citizens were so passionate about betting that all forms of gambling had to be forbidden in the city of Rome. Whoever was caught gambling, had to pay a fine!

Because of that, Romans invented the chips. They thought that if they get caught by the guards, they can say that they were playing for the chips and not for the real money.

The first mentioning of the dice in Greek history was around 500 BC. The dice existed long before that because it is known that a pair was uncovered at the Egyptian tomb from 3000 BC. An interesting fact is that Greeks had their myth about the origin of the dice. The Greek poet Sophocles claimed that dice were invented by a mythological hero during the siege of Troy!

Origin of the Games

We cannot talk about the history of gambling and not bring up the early beginning of some of the famous gambling games.


One of the earliest games still to be played in the casinos today is the card game of Baccarat. It was firstly mentioned in the 1400s when the game migrated from Italy to France. However, the game has survived various transformations. The standard version that is played today in the casinos in the US came from Cuba.


Blackjack in its earliest form was a Spanish game called ventiuna (21). This game has appeared in the book by Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote in 1601. On the other hand, the name blackjack is of American origin. It is linked to the special promotions in the Nevada casinos in the 1930s.

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We cannot talk about the history of gambling and not mention poker. The birth of poker is an interesting topic that is open for debate. Some sources say that poker has come from Persia, while others say that it was inspired by the French game called Poque. What we know for a fact is that English actor Joseph Crowell reported that a similar form of the game was played in New Orleans in 1829.

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