Based on writings and evidences found in tombs, betting or gambling is really man’s oldest pastime. Nevertheless, betting was regulated even then both in China and Rome. Gamblers were even sentenced to forced labor in the quarries in Ancient Egypt.

How Gambling Started

With marked sticks and other items, people tried to find out the future and what the gods have planned for them. These items were cast and outcomes were interpreted. From this people started betting on the outcomes of each throw. Evidence, for example, of this was when guards threw lots in order to get a piece of Jesus’ clothes. In addition to this, casting lots were also done to judge the fate of criminals under trial too, according to anthropologists. This was done in Sweden in late 1803.

But then even wars can be considered betting according to some. In fact, kingdoms were lost to the other party with the better tactical calculation. Before, betting did not only mean the wager for money. The wealthy also bet on competitions solely created to entertain

Earlier Betting

Some of the earliest betting was about test of skill, strength and speed. Some of the examples were cock fighting, horse racing and Grecian wrestling. The horse racing then was about endurance in the Middle Eastern Desert instead of the sprints done today. It was not until the 17th century that first track races were held and first track bets were done.

Back in the 15th though, betting was already sanctioned by governments as a means of raising money. There were lotteries and keno in China. And then with the beginning of the legal gambling houses coming on in the 17th, the use of dice and cards was introduced and became more popular.

Organized Betting

In the 18th century, government sanctioning began in sports gambling. By this time, the outlook of government officials had changed. It was no longer considered a sin but a harmless pastime. William Hill was the documented first gambling bookie though. Then in 1931, gambling was legalized in Nevada. Stardust Casino which opened in 1958 is recorded as the first casino there. From there even more casinos were built in Nevada. In fact, the state is known for the amount of gambling going on there day in and day out today.
On the other hand, sports betting became rampant too. But because of game fixing issues, professional athletes are banned from making bets themselves.

Online gambling started in the 1990s. But it was more on sports gambling at the beginning. Today though, almost anything and everything is bet on. And you no longer have to go anywhere but your home to gamble. You can visit online casinos and play your favorite card and other casino games. Online poker, for one, is very popular. Since online gambling is open twenty four hours, people really get a pastime and great entertainment during their free time. With many people enjoying this activity, many are really hooked on online gambling. Of course, one reason for this may be because most people are using the Internet always anyway.

By Lyuben Georgiev
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