Human beings love gambling, and this has been the case for thousands of years. Sadly, the origins of most casino games have been lost, but there is still enough information out there to come up with some good theories on how they got started. There is so much information in fact, that we could probably dedicate an entire website to the subject, however, we thought we’d just give a brief overview of the history of gambling and casino games instead.
The Very Beginning
It’s almost impossible to determine when gambling first began. For all we know, it could have been our ancient ancestors betting on who could collect the most berries. The earliest records of gambling point towards Egypt and China. Egypt had a game called Senet, which is somewhat similar to Backgammon, while the Ancient Chinese were also known to play games similar to Keno. The Chinese were even known to use gambling to help fund large civil projects, such as the Great Wall of China, as well as wars.
History of European Casino Games
While China and Egypt probably had some of the first proper gambling systems, most of the games we know today can trace their origins back to Europe. Roulette, for example, was invented by a French physicist in the late 1700s, while trying to create a perpetual motion device. Spinning a wheel was however nothing new, as Ancient Greek soldiers spun their shields and Romans spun the wheels on their chariots.
Craps can trace its history back to an English dice game called Hazard, which was quite popular during the Crusades. The French brought that game to America and, over time, it was simplified and revised into the game we know as Craps today.
Blackjack and Baccarat seem to have been created around the same time. Baccarat is believed to have made its way from Italy to France, while the history of Blackjack is a heavily debated subject. Blackjack was a game more often played by common people in France, while baccarat was for Royalty. This even persists in some form today, with some casinos only having Baccarat tables in the high-roller sections of the casino. It wasn’t until the late 1890s that the world saw its first mechanical gambling machines when Charles Fey Invented the slot machine.
History of Horse Racing and Sports Betting
Once again, sports betting goes back so far that there is no way to know for sure when it started. We do know that it started to become more structured in the 1700s in England, with horse racing. As England’s influence spread around the globe, horse racing gained worldwide popularity.
Other forms of sports betting have probably been around as long as the sport has. One interesting sport that has grown in popularity is Jai Alai, which sees players bouncing a ball of a wall. This game has seen big growth in the United States, particularly in Florida, where it has become a popular alternative from more traditional sports betting.
Online Gambling History
Obviously, when it comes to gambling, online casinos are still the new kid on the block. However, the appearance of the first online gambling sites revolutionized the entire industry. The fist online casinos started appearing in the 1990s and have since gained popularity. More and more casinos opened and the industry grew at a surprising rate.
The biggest challenges in the early stages was convincing people that these online casinos were genuine and not scams, which is something that is still a bit of a challenge today.