The history of betting and gambling

5 July

 

 

Betting and gambling, a millenary activity

If you thought that gambling and betting are creation of the last times, you are very wrong. Gambling and bets of all kinds go back thousands of years in time, an affirmation taked by the dating of the first dice used in Sumer and Assyria among other examples: astragalus bones of various animals found in different archaeological excavations. By having six faces, this particular bone became the ancestor of the modern dices as we know it today. In fact, the "Tabas" was already played with these first instruments, a game that has lasted to this day through the family tradition. 

Its evolution together with table games, cards and bets in general has gone through different cultures such as Etruscan, Greek, Egyptian or Roman that provide their own rules and methods according to the needs and social classes of the time. What is clear is that in all of them there has been a strong tradition in these activities.

In Greek culture its origin goes back to mythology. For the ancient Greeks "the random chance" comes from the Daughter of Tyche, a goddess who invented games to seduce the minds of humans; In any case we know from Homer's texts that there was a great fondness for playing with the luck, something that for them had more to do with the favor of the gods in the game, specifically Hermes and Pan. In Antiquity, make a double sis was called " the Aphrodite roll ".

The word random or "azar" comes from "Az-zahr" which in Arabic means data and it is not strange since it is first known in Asia. In China have been found betting records with more than 3000 years old, and the first known bet dates from 2300 a.C. At that time animals were bet, and any object of value both in games of chance and in races or athletic competitions. In fact, it was in China where the playing cards first appeared thanks to the invention of paper, although it is in Hindu literature that we find the first written rules about gambling.

You can also find visual references of the favorite pastimes of the pharaohs and their courts, as in the case of Sennedyem TT1 who is playing to Senet with his wife in the wall of his tomb, the oldest image about the playful history of man. The Senet was a game similar to a domino that also appears in the pyramid of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramses III.

In Rome it would be in the Colosseum where would be made more bets in Antiquity with the gladiator games, the fact , were the Romans who introduced gambling in Spain in the year 218 aC. There are also references in the competitions of arrow and bow in the Middle Ages , although this type of competitions were more typical of the nobility, being more common to find dices games in the lower class. It was around the year 1440 with the invention of the printing when the card games and their rules reached the social majority.

Attraction for betting is old in our history. An example is the king Olaf from Norway who challenged his counterpart in Sweden to a dices game to see who could add a territory. But this is not new, according to Greek mythology, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon played also with dices to deal the terms of the universe, something contrary about what Einstein thought.

Even the game of the goose, which today is considered a children's game was the center of adult bets during the fifteenth century. It should be noted that gambling and betting have suffered restrictions and limitations in many periods of history, especially since the Middle Ages with the first prohibitions for moral and religious reasons.

However, every day this industry continues to grow and move large amounts of money around the world and increasingly are the options and game modes available with playing cards, dices, all kinds of slot machines and casino roulettes in addition to the bracket  pools, sports betting, Bingo and Lotteries (these last invented most recently in Italy).

If you want to know more details about poker, do not miss our last article about Wild Billy and the hand of the dead in Habpoker!

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