A Brief History of Gambling

It is important to understand that history of humankind goes hand-in-hand with the history of gambling. According to anthropologists, ever since people started gathering, the gambling became prominent way of having fun.

Of course, it was not like nowadays, but in here, we wanted to create a timeline that will help you understand the history of gambling and other factors that may affect this particular industry.

The Earliest Evidence of Gambling

We are not completely certain to talk about betting forms that took place back in the day, but according to scientists, gambling was prominent since the beginning of human history.

The earliest evidence comes from Ancient China in which people played tiles and other games of chance. According to Book of songs, people were drawing of wood, which means that tiles was some form of lottery game that people used back in the day.

The evidences stated that people used keno slips, and they were used back in 200bc as the form of lottery that funded state in general. For instance, this particular type of gambling was the source of funding and construction of Great Wall of China.

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That is the main reason why lotteries have been used throughout the history to fund civic activities. For instance, Yale and Harvard were established by using lottery funds, and they are still doing it.

Ancient Rome

The important date that explains the world of gambling includesrolling the dice. According to Sophocles, it was invented by the mythological hero during the Troy wars in 500bc.

Of course, dices existed much earlier, back in Egypt, because scientists have found them in tomb that existed from 3000bc, but we do not have other data about it from Egyptians.

However, the writings are certain that Ancient Romans and Greeks enjoyed gambling and playing games of luck. Have in mind that dices were forbidden within the walls of Rome and penalties were harsh, in which person who was caught four times, he would be killed for it.

As a result, Roman citizens invented chips so that they can play without using the currency and real money, which is something casinos took from them and today, we use chips as soon as we enter casinos.

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Back in China to Play Cards

When it comes to playing cards that appeared in China during the ninth century. Of course, the rules were different and some games were lost throughout the history due to numerous reasons, but according to anthropologists, cards were both the stake and game.

They were also trading games similarly as children play today; while other sources state that, the first cards were used for game similar to today’s Chinese domino.

Have in mind that these cards do not relate to the ones we used today, and it happened before we standardized decks into 52 cards we know today.

French and Italians Played Baccarat

One of the earliest games, which are still popular in international casinos, was the two-player game of Baccarat. However, the past version was mentioned back in 15th century when it migrated from Italy to France.

Even though the early genesis, it took hundreds of years for this particular game to gain rules and regulations that we play today.

Of course, some versions of the game were prominent and fell down similarly as any other standard, but today, the regulations are strict and you can play the same rules from Britain to the US and Cuba.

Even though baccarat is better for watching than playing, it is a high rolling game that players enjoy playing wherever they are.


According to some people, the earliest versions of blackjack entered the world through a Spanish game called ventiuna, and it became prominent after Don Quixote in 1601. On the other hand, others state that it is game of trente-un or quinze from France a few decades back.

It does not matter what is the origin story, because inventors of the game were not noted in the history, which is challenging to determine the time and place. The French game called vingt-et-un played in 17th century is one of the ancestors of the modern Blackjack.

This particular game arrived in the USA with French settlers, the name was the American, and it was connected with special discounts and promotions for Nevada casinos in 20th century.

With an idea to attract more customers than before, they created 10 to 1 odds for people who won with an Ace of Spades in combination with Jack of Clubs. Even though special odds were only for limited amount of time, the name remained popular until this day.

Italian Casinos in 17th Century

The first gambling houses that we can compare with modern ones appeared in 17th century in Italy. For instance, in Venice the Ridotto was established with an idea to create a controlled gambling environment to reduce the chaos during carnival season.

These casinos started to expand all over the Europe during the 19th century, while during that time, the US laws banned and fought against it.

Everything changed when steamboats took traders and farmers up and down the Mississippi in combination with gambling information from the old country.

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The Little Wheel in France

When it comes to roulette, this particular game originated from the gaming houses inside Paris, where player were familiar with the wheel which was the predecessor of American Roulette wheel that we all use nowadays.

However, it took more than fifty years for European version to feature one green zero, and that created a completely new perspective of the game.

During the 19th century, it grew in popularity, and one of the most famous places for playing it was Monte Carlo, from which it spread through Europe and the rest of the world.

The European version included a single zero, while Americans stuck with double zero wheels, which we use currently in international casinos.

As you can see, the history has written its way from the point in which humans gathered together and gambled. Today, we can use online casinos from our mobile devices wherever we are, which a revolution that affected the gambling industry is.

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