The Early Days of Gambling
The History of Gambling is a long and fascinating one, with evidence of betting and games of chance dating back to ancient civilizations such as China and Mesopotamia. The practice’s legality has varied with time and depends on the customs, morals, and context. Gambling has existed in different forms in almost every culture throughout history, and the views and attitudes on gambling have also been different, with some considering it harmless and others considering it dangerous.
The origin of Gambling
The origin of gambling is considered to be divinatory, where man sought knowledge of the future and the intentions of the gods by casting marked sticks and other objects and interpreting the outcome. From this, it was a very short step to betting on the outcome of the throws. The Bible contains many references to the casting of lots to divide property, and in ancient times, casting lots was not considered to be gambling in the modern sense but instead was connected with inevitable destiny or fate.
Anthropologists have also pointed out that gambling is more prevalent in societies where there is a widespread belief in gods and spirits whose benevolence may be sought. In the United States, gambling played a significant role in the country’s early history, from the arrival of the first European settlers to the Revolutionary War. In this blog, we will explore the history of gambling, its evolution, and the impact of mobile gambling on the industry.
Earliest Evidence of Gambling
While it is almost certain that some forms of betting have been taking place since the dawn of human history, the earliest concrete evidence comes from Ancient China where tiles were unearthed which appeared to have been used for a rudimentary game of chance. The Chinese ‘Book of Songs’ makes reference to “the drawing of wood” which suggests that the tiles may have formed part of a lottery type game. We have evidence in the form of keno slips which were used in about 200 BC as some sort of lottery to fund state works – possibly including construction of the Great Wall of China.
Dicing with the Law on the Streets of Ancient Rome
The Greek poet Sophocles claimed that dice were invented by a mythological hero during the siege of Troy, and while this may have somewhat dubious basis in fact, his writings around 500 BC were the first mention of dice in Greek history. Dice games, head and tails, and other games based on ‘luck’ were played next to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Medieval and Renaissance Gambling
During the medieval and Renaissance period, gambling underwent a major evolution. The introduction of playing cards opened up endless possibilities for games, and soon the nobility of Europe were playing games such as baccarat, blackjack, and roulette. The first recorded casino was established in Venice in 1638, and by the 18th century, gambling had become a popular pastime across Europe.
The development of early online gambling software began in the mid-1990s by Microgaming, one of the largest casino game developers in operation. The first online casino was launched in 1994, and by the end of 1996, there were 15 online casinos up and running. By the end of 1997, this number had grown to 200 casinos. The Free Trade and Processing act began in Antigua and Barbuda, which allowed the nation to grant licenses to businesses interested in starting online casinos. This really birthed the online industry, and it has continued to grow at an amazing rate.
Mobile gambling has become increasingly popular in recent years, with over a hundred mobile casinos operating as of December 2013. Most of the big casino operators in gambling now provide a mobile platform for their player base. The first mobile gambling venture in the UK was The Mobile Lottery, launched in 2003. After wireless gambling on casino grounds was legalized in June 2005, in March 2006, the Nevada Gaming Control Board “cleared the way for businesses to propose ways in which establishments can offer wireless gambling.” There were analyst projections in 2006 that the mobile gambling market in the Asia-Pacific region would generate revenue of $3 billion in 2010. In 2005, Jupiter Research forecast that global mobile gambling services would generate revenues of more than $19.3 billion US dollars by 2009.
Gambling has a long and fascinating history that has evolved over time. From ancient games of chance to the online industry of today, gambling has always been a popular pastime. The rise of mobile gambling has made it even more accessible, allowing people to play their favorite games from anywhere at any time.