Gambling has been a sporting activity for many years. It didn’t just start the other day. Historical findings prove that ancient civilisations took part in regulated forms of gambling. Ancient civilisations believed to be the mother of gambling activities include; Greece, China, Rome, and Egypt. Technology in modern civilizations helped popularise betting. Learn more about these early forms explained here.
Gambling in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptian civilization is associated with genius and excellent Agricultural activities, engineering, medicine, mummies, etc. They were a sophisticated lot that also invented the concept of gambling.
Archaeologists have dug up countless gambling artifacts proving they engaged in these activities. Examples include a dice made of elephant tusks, and a game similar to checkers.
Some of their games were basic, with players competing by throwing pebbles and sticks onto the ground. Winning depended on how these objects landed on the ground and there were only two options; odd or even. The game evolved and became more complicated as more and more concepts were added to it. The patterns, outcomes, and types of objects used changed.
Another ancient game is HUBEM-how, which was about throwing discs in order into a bowl. This game is still being played in some modern societies.
Other than cards, dice and board games were also popular. Examples of those games were; ‘senet’ and ‘backgammon.’
Despite the popularity of these games, gambling was banned in ancient Egypt. A papyri (old text) that was discovered and believed to date back 4000BC outlined laws prohibiting gambling. Culprits were compelled to provide free forced labor. Such kind of punishment is an indicator of how gambling was a big problem in those societies.
Over time, gambling in Egypt evolved, and they gradually embraced card games that originated from China and Europe. They also adopted lotteries that were synonymous with Europeans and Romans in the fifteenth century.
Many game developers currently integrate Egyptian themes in their games because it is a place rich in culture and history. It’s not uncommon to find slots with Cleopatra’s themes or a background setting that includes pyramids or the Great Nile.
Gambling in Ancient Greece
Gambling was considered an illegal activity in Greece. Those found engaging in the event were punished. However, it still rose to become one of the best forms of entertainment.
Two Greek Gods Hermes, Pan, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, were associated with gambling.
The earliest form of gambling games in ancient Greece was known as heads & tails and checkers. Before the invention of the coin, they played heads & tails using shells. Checkers was a game that had 12 lines, and they referred to it as tilia. Greek artifacts from way back depict scenes similar to what we have nowadays at casinos.
Apparently, they also played dice games comprising three clay cubes before the Romans changed the game only to have two dice.
Gambling in Ancient China
It’s a widespread belief that the earliest forms date back about 3000BC in Asia where players participated in a dice game. The first people to make paper were the Chinese, and they also came up with the concept of money. After this, they learned how to play with money hence introduced shuffling cards.
One game that is still popular today can be traced back to China is Keno: a game of chance where players pick numbers between 1 and 80. These numbers are written on cards in squares. For you to win, you must match some numbers with those that are drawn.
The game’s original name was “white pigeon ticket,” and it is believed the Chinese invented it more than two thousand years ago. Later on, they introduced cards printed with pictures of people. The Europeans adopted this design but changed the front part by adding images of kings and queens.
You may be familiar with this design since it is the most common in modern decks. Card games are popular worldwide with games like Blackjack and Poker being many players’ favourite. The advancement in technology in the betting industry now makes it possible to play these card games online. China is one of the most attractive gambling destination around the globe
Gambling in Ancient Rome
Ancient Romans also had different ways and reasons for gambling. This culture spread so much during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Though gambling was prohibited, the Romans held the ‘Saturnalia’ festival annually to feast and played games throughout an entire week. During such celebrations, they would play dice by using nuts and coins.
A most recent discovery in a cave in Utah provides evidence that Native Americans also gambled. The cave is believed a casino built in the 13th century. Thousands of artefacts recovered from the cave proved no doubt that this was a betting arena. Many curved sticks may have served as cane dice were found inside the cave. This is also a support to why Las Vegas which is located in America is a great place for the Best games such as poker Tournaments.
Ancient gambling Emperors
Some ancient emperors loved betting and sporting activities, with some getting addicted to it. Examples;
- Emperor Augustus
- Emperor Commodus
- Emperor Nero
There is no doubt that ancient forms majorly influenced modern forms of gambling. Games like dice, checkers, keno, etc. can be traced back thousands of years ago. Technology helped advance some of the features in these games. It seems the excitement and entertainment that comes with gambling makes it a popular sporting activity that can transcend for years and years.