Gambling is one of the oldest activities practised by man. In ancient times, men from different civilizations such as Egyptians and the Chinese would play rudimentary games where they would stake property for a prize. The available evidence indicates that all manner of tools ranging from dice made of clay to tiles were used to play these games of chance. A popular method of gambling in ancient times was betting on competitors participating in a contest such as cockfighting.

However, it is China that holds the record for formal gambling as we know it today. The Chinese played a version of White Pigeon Ticketing around 200 BC. The games were sanctioned by the provincial governor who would then take some of the earnings and prize money as tax. Just like today, the revenue from gambling activities went into the state budget.

Card games are one of the defining features of gambling and have a checkered history. Card games started in China, where they decorated cards with Chinese calligraphy. As they spread to the west, westerners introduced modern iconography featuring Kings and Queens and other popular characters in western culture. Ironically, poker, which is one of the most popular casino games, has its roots in Persia.

Modern Gambling

Modern gambling has its roots in Italy where they established the first casinos in the 17th century in cities such as Venice. Games such as Russian Roulette became very popular among European gamers. The gambling houses were regulated, offering places where people could gamble with standardized rules. Over the years, casinos spread throughout Europe such that they were virtually everywhere in the 19th century.

Mechanized gambling emerged during the industrial revolution. The first gambling machines were invented in the US in the 1920s but soon found their way into European casinos. Gambling machines allowed gamers to play in an automated system with standardized outcomes.

While gambling is often associated with casinos, it is much more diverse than that. In particular, lotteries are a popular way of raising funds for a good cause. Indeed, several learning institutions, such as Harvard were funded through lotteries.

Online Gambling Today

Online gambling started in the 1990s with the advent of gambling software. The most advanced software was one created by Microgaming and gave way to the establishment of online casinos. The gaming software allowed existing brick and mortar casinos to go online while new global gaming sites whose users span the globe emerged. Soon after, governments around the world drafted laws to regulate online casinos such that almost every jurisdiction has gambling laws.

The latest development in gambling is the emergence of mobile gaming. More and more gamers are now using handheld devices to access gambling websites. Most gambling websites are now optimized for mobile-based applications. Online gambling will continue to grow as every year millions of people access the internet for the first time creating new opportunities for gambling firms. If you’re interested in taking part of this culture, you can visit sites such as, to get ahold of reviews of the most popular online gambling sites or to just keep updated on major events within the industry.