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The birth and rise of gambling: a quick history

History of gambling

by Stelly in Industry | 13 July 2020

Gambling has taken place in one way or another for hundreds and thousands of years. History shows many forms of gambling activity being practised throughout the centuries.

You will find that gambling has been enjoyed across the globe by citizens in many regions. From ancient Chine with rudimentary games of chance on tiles to Egypt where dice game gambling was common. No matter which region you research there is some form of gambling activity that took place at some point. It appears that humans have always found some way to take part in gambling.

It was in 200BC when ‘White Pigeon Ticket’ was played in a gambling house in China. This was made possible with permission from the provincial governor who in return received a percentage of profits from the winnings. The winnings were also used to fund state works. An interesting fact not many know is that even prestige universities such as Harvard and Yale were both initially funded using lottery money which they still use today.

While the games played remain unknown the art of playing card games first started in China in the 9th century. The cards were decorated in human forms and later on spread throughout Europe. It is here where Kings and Queens started appearing on the cards. As gambling spread throughout the globe it became more organized and regulated.

The first casino and games

The first casinos or gambling houses were established in Italy in the 17th Century. The Ridotto was established in 1638 and is located in Venice, Italy. It was established to provide a controlled gambling environment and paved the way for the establishment of more casinos across continental Europe in the 19th century.

The most popular card games such as Roulette and Vingt-et-un (now Blackjack) arrived in the US with the early French settles. Steamboats on the Mississippi became venues for gambling used by wealthy farmers and traders. In 1829 a version of poker that originated in Persia in the 17th century was already being played in New Orleans.

In 1941 Tommy Hull built a brick and mortar casino called El Rancho Vegas in the middle of the Nevada desert. This savvy business move not only leads to his personal success but kickstarted the building of the infamous Vegas Strip. It was the establishment of this casino that led to the birth of Sin City. It expanded rapidly throughout the 1950s thanks to large investments of dirty money from the mob. Las Vegas had become the place to be for the ultimate gambling and nightlife experience.

When games were automized it made it possible to regulate winnings more accurately. The first gambling machine was developed by Sittman and Pitt in New York. This was around the same time Charles Fey invented the infamous Liberty Bell machine in San Francisco. The first video slot was invented in 1976 and this paved the way for all future video slots to come.

The rise of online gambling

In 1994 Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade & Processing Act. This act allowed for online casinos to be opened. Before this, the first fully functional gambling software was developed by the Isle of Man-based software company, Microgaming. Today Microgaming is one of the leading and most innovative software developers in the world.

It was secured with software developed by CryptoLogic, an online software company. After this, safe transactions became possible which led to the first online casinos being launched in 1994. At the time of launch, online casinos offered limited game availability. It’s almost incredible to think that back then you only had access to 18 casino games where today each casino offers a minimum of 250 online casino games to choose from.

The possibility of Multiplayer online gambling only appeared in 1999. And in 2003 the first live dealer casinos appeared thanks to the innovation of the software develop Playtech.

As online casino gambling became more popular the industry grew and technology continued to advance. Now in 2020 online casinos are not just available via desktop devices but on all mobile and tablet devices. Online casinos are so advanced that they even incorporated advanced gamification features allowing players to enjoy an even more immersive gaming experience.

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