Gambling has been around since the beginnings of man. And with it has the addiction to gambling. The problem is that some people do not know when to quit. In Ottoman times, due to many families loosing homes and not having food on the table, the old Ottoman Sultan outlawed gambling within the borders of his empire, and the punishment if you got caught gambling was, fittingly enough, decapitation.
The threat of losing their heads made many men stop gambling, but some creative souls found a way. The Sultan knew something was going on but could not prove that people where gambling so he sent his guards out among the people to find out what they were doing and how they were doing it.
One guard came back and informed the Sultan that he had found something. He told him that a group of men was sitting around a table drinking tea and kept pushing money across the table. No, they did not talk about bets, there were no cards involved or any other obvious means of gambling.
The Sultan told the guard to go fetch one of these men, so the guard did. The Sultan made this man wait for hours in a sun baked room so when he was brought in front of the Sultan he was thirsty, hot and nervous.
“I know you are gambling, but I do not know how,” said the Sultan. Afraid for his life the man denied any wrongdoing. “I do not know why you think we are gambling — that is punished with decapitation.”, the man uttered.
After a while the Sultan got tired of asking, and knowing that the man feared for his life he offered him full immunity and promised on Allah that he would be set free and sent home to his family. The Sultan was known for his fairness so the man trusted him. This is the story he told.
“We gather around a table 4 or more men; we then order tea and place a sugar cube in the middle of the table. We then sit and watch the cube – when a fly lands on the cube the man sitting closest to the fly wins.”
The Sultan kept his promise, sent the man home and the next day he lifted the ban on gambling since he understood that he simply could not stop the people from doing what they wanted.
If this is a true story or not I do not know, but thankfully today you will not be punished with death for gambling anymore. And we can bet on a lot more than flies on a sugar cube. I rather sit at home playing Internet casino games and not worry about losing my head.
There are many types of games that have survied as well, online casino games like Mahjong, Backgammon and Bingo are still very popular casino games to this very day. Roulette was played in a very similar shape in France back in the 17th century. One of the biggest games when Bugsy Siegel opened his first Las Vegas hotel/casino was Black Jack, also known as 21.
So the games and the gamblers are the same, the only thing that has changed is the where we gamble. The bottomline is that trying to stop gamblers from gambling (at least on a national scale) is virtually impossible. Wishing you a great year and good luck in your gambling endeavours, and may you keep your head on your shoulders.
By Afshin Ertanin
Afshin Ertanin is the manager of La Isla Casino, a licensed online casino owned and operated by Hailwood Gaming Ltd which also owns and operates MegaKings.Com Internet casino. Both casinos run on Playtech software and offer free free casino games, bingo and online poker.