The history of Gambling and Casinos

Gambling has been around in some form or another for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It is closely tied to humanity’s past.

In ancient China, some basic games of chance were discovered on tiles. In Egypt, the oldest dice were found. Some Roman pottery showed that gambling on animal fights was popular and bred animals for that purpose alone; humans have always loved to bet and have done so at every opportunity.

Ancient Gambling
Oldest Dice

Brief History Of Gambling

Around 200 BC, the ‘white pigeon ticket’ was played in Chinese gambling houses with the approval of the provincial governor. The province governor would, in turn, receive a percentage of the profits. The winning tickets were frequently used to fund state works; Harvard and Yale were initially funded with lottery money, which they still use today.

Although the games played are unclear, and the cards bear little similarity to those used today, it is thought that cards originated in China in the 9th century. Human figures were frequently depicted on the cards. Still, as the games expanded over Europe, the famous Kings and Queens began to emerge.

In the 17th century, the first casinos or gambling houses arose in Italy; the Ridotto was founded in Venice in 1638.

The first legal gambling institution in Europe opened in Venice in 1638, and the history of the genuine casino began there. Il Ridotto was the name of the casino. The term “casino” comes from an Italian word that means “little home.”

Gambling was conducted in private homes before creating the first legal casino, which explains the origin of the name. The crowd was frequently entertained with dance and music in addition to gambling. Meals and beverages were also provided. The Il Ridotto casino is thought to have been built to engage people with gambling during the famous Venetian carnival. The gaming institution was only accessible to the affluent.

Il Ridotto – Palazzo Dandolo, Venice

Early settlers from France brought games like Roulette and Vingt-et-un to the United States, and steamboats on the Mississippi became gambling venues for affluent farmers and traders; in 1829, a variant of poker originated in Persia in the 17th-century, was being played in New Orleans.

The Invention of Slot Machines

Sittman and Pitt in New York invented the first gambling machine. At the same time, Charles Fey in San Francisco created the Liberty Bell machine about the same time. Because of the automation of gambling, winnings have been precisely monitored. In 1976, the first video slot was created, paving the way for online video slots to follow.

Liberty Bell Slot Machine

How Online Casinos Started

Antigua and Barbuda approved the Free Trade & Processing Act in 1994, allowing businesses to seek licenses to establish internet casinos. Microgaming (one of the world’s leading casino and slot game producers today), an Isle of Man-based software firm, produced the first fully functional gambling software before internet casinos. CryptoLogic, an internet security software firm, built the software that protected it. Safe transactions became possible, leading to the establishment of the first online casinos in 1994.

The Kahnawake Gambling Commission was established in 1996 to oversee internet gaming from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. It was also to provide gaming licenses to many of the world’s online casinos and poker rooms. An attempt to make regulated online gambling businesses’ operations more fair and transparent.

In 1999, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was passed, making it illegal for a firm to provide any online gambling product to any American person. In 1999, multiplayer online gambling was also established.

Playtech, which established a mix of “brick and mortar casinos” and the virtual world, launched the first live dealer casinos in 2003. Nowadays there are many online casinos around the world and the competition is tough. Here are a couple of examples of casinos offering welcome bonuses:

400% Welcome bonus Dive into Big Wins

Casino In Popular Culture

gambling in books

Books That Feature Casinos and Games

Libro de los Juegos – Alfonso X, King of Castile andLeón (1283)

The earliest gambling handbook Libro de los Juegos (Book of games), or Libro de axedrez, dados e tablas (Book of chess, dice and tables) was written by Alfonso X, King of Castile and León in 1283. Dice games are described as a precursor to craps.

first casino book in history
A 13th century illustration in Libro de los juegos of nine men’s morris being played with dice.

Miguel de Cervantes’ Rinconete and Cortadillo (1613)

A short tale with one of the first accounts of trente-un (31), a game that predates blackjack.

Charles Cotton’s The Compleat Gamester (1674)

A well-known handbook to card and dice games. Here you can read the whole book.

Alexander Pushkin’s Queen of Spades (1834)

A short tale about Hermann, a German engineer in the Russian Imperial Army, who goes insane while attempting to discover the gaming secrets of an elderly countess. Tchaikovsky’s opera of the same name premiered in 1890.

best gambling books

Dr Edward O. Thorp’s Beat the Dealer (1962)

A best-selling book about fundamental blackjack strategy, card counting, and Dr Thorp’s experiences testing his theoretical ideas in casinos with the help of experienced casino players who advised and funded the study.

Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972)

Based on two extensive Rolling Stone pieces published in 1971 about the author’s visits to Las Vegas. It is a seminal work in ‘gonzo journalism,’ combining fiction, journalism, and stream-of-consciousness observation techniques.

Ben Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House (2002)

A best-selling book based on the MIT Blackjack Team’s experience. Changed names, created dialogue, composite characters, and altered descriptions of events are used for storytelling purposes in this book, which is often classified as non-fiction. The film 21 was based on the book Bringing Down the House.

David Schwartz’s Roll the Bones (2006)

A comprehensive and colourful history of gambling worldwide.

Damon Runyon’s Guys and Dolls and Other Writings (2008) 

A collection of short tales and non-fiction reporting from the 1920s and 1930s by Damon Runyon.

Movies That Feature Casinos and Games

Casablanca (1942)

Most of the film takes place in Rick’s Café Américain, which includes a rigged roulette wheel for the proprietor’s advantage (Rick, played by Humphrey Bogart). Rick advises a newlywed spouse to wager number 22 on the roulette wheel to get money for visas to travel to America and escape the war. He succeeds and is victorious.

Guys and Dolls (1955) 

Marlon Brando appeared as gambler Sky Masterson in this film adaptation of the Broadway musical, which was based on many Damon Runyon tales. Luck Be a Lady by Frank Sinatra as Nathan Detroit.

To Catch a Thief (1955) 

Alfred Hitchcock film starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly set on the French Riviera’s homes, casinos, and hotels. Grant is John Robie; a renowned jewel thief contracted to track down Frances Stevens (Kelly), who is suspected of being a jewel thief right now. Robie (Grant) slips a valuable chip into the décolletage of a feminine roulette player in one casino scene.

Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) 

A gambling cowboy finds that holding hands with Marie, a dancer, makes him lucky at roulette. Marie, on the other hand, first refuses to grasp his hand.

Ocean’s Eleven (1960)

The original version of Ocean’s 11 stars Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean, who planned a robbery of five Las Vegas casinos in one night. Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Angie Dickinson, and Joey Bishop played the nucleus of the Hollywood’ Rat Pack’ in the picture. Peter Lawford purchased the story’s initial rights. When he told Frank Sinatra about the premise, Sinatra quipped, “Forget the movie. Let’s get this task done!”

The Honeymoon Machine (1961)

Three sailors on a military submarine utilize their ship’s computer to calculate the roulette ball’s trajectory at the Venice Casino in Honeymoon Machine from 1961. When their admiral arrives in the casino, things get complicated.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971) 

Sean Connery stars James Bond in this James Bond film based on an Ian Fleming novel. A portion of the tale takes place in Las Vegas at the (fictitious) Whyte House, which reclusive millionaire Willard Whyte owns. In this story, Bond plays craps. At Circus Circus, one scene takes place on the casino floor.’

Famous Casino Players Through History

Imagine the number of casino players who have won and lost money throughout history. We’re not talking about a few hundred or even a few thousand people here. Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of individuals have staked something in the hopes of winning.

Almost every single one of these casino players has lost money. With so many to select from, compiling a list of the most famous casino players in history may seem impossible. But here is a shortlist of some of them and their period:

Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) 

Took part in public gambling at the week-long Saturnalia festival and famously said, “iacta est” (‘the dice is cast’) when he crossed the Rubicon River. 

Augustus (63 B.C.-14 AD) 

Entertained banquet guests by playing alea (early backgammon) and holding raffles. 

Claudius (10 B.C.-54 AD) 

Had a unique table built for rolling dice in unsteady chariots. He was such an avid dice player that he would occasionally call men to play with him, forgetting that he had already executed them.

Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States (1743-1826) 

Often gambled while drafting the Declaration of Independence. Backgammon, lotteries, cross/pile (heads/tails), and different card games have all been recorded as wins and losses.

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1874-1965)

Was a renowned wartime leader. He believed in taking chances in casinos, games, and war. Churchill enjoyed playing poker, bezique, mahjong, and pinochle daily. In a poker game with US President Harry Truman and his aides, he notoriously lost a large sum of money.

Warren Harding’s Presidential Poker (President, USA, 1865-1923) 

The then-US president was said to have lost White House China in a game of high-card poker twice a week with cabinet members in highly competitive games. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt (President of the United States of America, 1882-1945) 

Was a low-stakes stud poker player. He sponsored regular games on the final night of each Congressional session, with the winner announced immediately after adjournment. 

Harry S. Truman (President of the United States, 1884-1972) 

Was a well-known five-card stud player during World War II. He had lengthy poker games with the press while pondering atomic bomb assaults on Japan. He was a member of Winston Churchill’s band.

The Most Popular Casino Games At Online Casinos 2021

Depending on your perspective, playing online casino games is a fun hobby, side hustle, or full-time career. The selection of games is already extensive, and it continues to expand with time. To keep you up to date, we’ve compiled a list of what appear to be the year’s most popular online casino games, many of which are perennial favourites among online casino players. Most online casinos let you choose from a top games list to obtain an overview of the most popular games at that particular casino.


Blackjack, commonly known as twenty-one, has consistently ranked first among the most popular casino games. Given how simple the rules are to understand and how enjoyable the game is to play, it’s no surprise. Players aim to reach or come close to a total card value of 21 without going over. The game is played and betted against the dealer.


Another timeless favourite, poker, has been around for decades. With tournaments taking place 24/7, you will always have a table to attend. It’s a rather complex game that requires continuous learning and skill-building, but when you get the hang of it, you’ll never be bored again.


Slots provide a wide variety of games from which to select your favourites. They’re the simplest to play because they don’t require expertise but rely just on chance. There’s no need to wager large quantities of money, but be prepared to lose it whatever you do. You have unlimited time to spin the reels. Goblin’s Cave, Starburst, Sunrise Reels, and Private Eye are some of the most popular slot games (Microgaming).


Roulette does not need a great deal of introduction. After the roulette wheel has been spun, the goal is to anticipate where the ball will fall. The stakes might be a particular numerical value, the decision of whether to go high or low, odd or even and what colour it would fall on. There are low-risk and high-risk bets with corresponding payouts.


Mini-baccarat, punto banco, speed baccarat, and baccarat squeeze are all variations of baccarat. Depending on who you think will win, you can wager on the bank or the player in this game. Cards are dealt with, and the numbers determine the outcome. It may appear not very easy at first, but you’ll see how simple it is as you get into it.


Dice, as the name implies, is a dice-based betting game. This game does not need any prior knowledge or expertise. Small cubes with dots on each of the six faces are tossed, and the outcome determines the winner.


Keno is a casino game based on the lottery that is comparable to bingo. It’s simple to play since it’s a pure chance game. This makes it appealing to people who enjoy gambling without having to overthink. All required is the selection of numbers and the subsequent hope that those numbers be chosen from the pile.

The Future Of Gambling

Technological Advancements

A new generation of gamers has emerged as a result of technological advancements. According to evidence, internet users are less likely to use desktop computers and are more likely to utilize mobile devices. Those who like online gambling and playing their favourite games while on the go may say the same. The most popular gaming sites have acknowledged this shift in behaviour. There are now many options for mobile online gambling.

Blockchain Technology in Online Casinos

Thanks to blockchain technology and the rise of cryptocurrencies, the gaming business is being disrupted in ways we couldn’t have predicted even a few years ago. Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular in casinos. They may be utilized as the primary payment method or as a substitute for fiat-based payment systems. The blockchain also allows anonymous gambling, near-instantaneous withdrawal and deposit times, and the elimination of the need to pass over copies of papers or even register an account.

Blockchain technology brings this similar quality is brought to gaming by blockchain technology, which allows anybody to join any online casino. Although some Bitcoin casinos allow players to finance the casinos and profit from a percentage of the house edge, crypto platforms like Ethereum have pushed these notions to the next level. Their projects create a system where token holders earn automatic dividends from the platform’s revenues. Others are working on next-generation blockchain-based gaming ecosystems that allow casino operators to develop and deploy gambling apps with a zero-house edge, low transaction costs, and provably fair random numbers.

What The Future Holds

The development of this field is expected to accelerate, with teams of developers providing new gaming options based on blockchain technology.

Hedge fund is one such notion; it will establish a shared bankroll that will allow licensed game operators to launch games on the hedge fund platform with highly high rewards. Game operators will provide fixed-odds games with no financial risk to themselves, i.e., a guaranteed profit for every wager they place. Hedge fund will achieve this by purchasing a stake from game operators at the lowest mathematically proven cost that preserves the hedge fund consolidated bankroll. It is safe to say that the future of online casinos is in good hands.

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