A Brief History of Gambling

There is just something so enticing about the chances of getting something for nothing. I’m not necessarily saying that gambling involves getting something for nothing; of course, it involves a risk, it always does, but isn’t the fact that you may gain so much for doing so little the drive that leads most people to gamble? “If only I hit that Jackpot!” Does that reasoning sound familiar? In looking at the history of gambling, that’s where we begin, with the innate nature of human beings wanting much for little.

The actual period gambling truly began will remain a mystery to us until someday, those playing a gamble with us up there, decide to reveal to us what’s really going on in this game? Seriously, I’m I the only one who’s curious about what life is all about? Nothing down here makes sense. I’m sure some fella up there has all his/her/its/ or whatever their sexes are – stash on you. The fella is sure you are going to do something dumb by the end of the week. Do you think luck is on the fella’s side? Maybe the fella is the god of luck and it’s inevitable you’ll do something dumb by the end of the week? Nonetheless, I digress.

Gambling has been traced back to the “Croods” or cave people (for those who are not updated with current world events). The bones, rocks, crude oil, and old stuff scientists (archeologists) were “lucky” enough to discover some bones with markings resembling letters or numbers that they believe were used as dice in the dinosaur days. The point here is just to show you that human beings started playing with chance or luck a long time ago. There is a lot we do not yet know or understand, and ‘luck’ is one of them. Ask any gambler, they’ll tell you.

A little ways down the road, the Chinese seem to be the main civilization in history that was fascinated by luck. Maybe the Chinese and the Croods were neighbors or something. Regardless, gambling.net highlights that most ancient discoveries about gambling have China written all over them. Some of the earliest instances of games of chance were discovered in old Chinese ceramic works like tiles. A Chinese game of chance by the name ‘Pai-ko p’iao’ or as it is called today ‘white pigeon ticket’ is believed to have been around from as early as 200BC.

Be that as it may, it is not just the Chinese who like to engage the sisters of fate. The Greeks too had their thing going considering that the sisters of fate were officially their gods. Their ceramic artworks like pottery also indicated that they used to bet on animal fights and they would actually just breed animals for this sole purpose. The sisters of fate may have been Greek gods but the Chinese were more fascinated by them than the Greeks were. Today, Macau, China is one of the world’s leading destinations for gambling, second only to Nevada, USA. How the sisters of fate charmed the U.S or vice versa, is a story for another day. I just hope you get the fact that China is a leading destination for gambling in the world (second only to the U.S).

Now for the Poker faces like Dan Bilzerian’s father, the earliest instances of card games date back to the 9th Century China, albeit we don’t yet know exactly the kinds of games they played. Was it poker? We don’t know. By the way, when I say ‘we’ I mean ‘human beings in general’, not necessarily some team of experts snooping around about the history of gambling – just so that we are on the same page. The sisters of fate may have fascinated the Chinese, but it was the Italians who first established a proper temple to amuse them.

The earliest known casinos date back to the 17th Century Italy; the Ridotto, Venice, built in 1638. Two centuries down the road, Europe was filled with gambling stations, as it is natural for gaming, gambling, betting (whatever you wanna call it). Albeit gambling was way more chaotic back then than it is today. If you are good at cheating and counting cards, you could easily get away with that during those good old days.

People loved the game. Governments loved it too since it was and still is a good source of revenue; therefore, chaos had to be put in check. According to medium.com, Two fellas, Pitt and Sittman came up with the first gambling machine around 1891, which made it easier to keep chaos in check. The slot machine among other gambling mechanisms was developed and improved across time ever since. A significant improvement or rather an introduction was one of the first video slot in 1976 that was the precursor of the online video slots, as we know them today.

In the 80s came personal computers followed by the internet, which went viral in the 90s. 1994 saw the enforcement of the Free Trade and Processing Act, which gave official permission to enterprises to establish online casinos. In the early phase of the current millennium, technology developed at an exponential rate. We are talking smartphones, tablets, the darknet, and touch screens. Today, we have virtual reality, augmented reality, and albeit we are still working it, we’ll soon be working with holograms. Cryptocurrency is also a game changer. All these technologies have been developed over the years and have proved to play a critical role in the gambling scene.

Dr. Phil says that the predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior, and from what we have seen, folks, the history of gambling indicates that this thing is not going anywhere any time soon. I hope the brief was indeed succinct and not another long boring meeting. Now I leave you with the wise words of Porky Pig, “Ble-ble-ble, Th-Th That’s All Folks!”

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