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History of Gambling From Ancient Times to the Digital Age

By Hank Blaine

Gambling is one of humanity’s oldest past times. So when you get the itch, don’t worry about it. You’re feeling something that homo sapiens from at least 3,000 years ago felt. Every culture in the world appears to have developed some form of gambling. Check out a quick history of gambling from ancient times to the digital age.

A Closer Look at the Evolution of Gambling Through History

Mesopotamia and China

In Mesopotamia, it all started with astragalomancy or cubomancy, a form of fortune-telling that relied on a type of dice. Those into cubomancy began to roll the dice and gamble for goods and services.

Back then, there was no such thing as money. So, yes, gambling predates money. A discovery in an ancient Egyptian tomb from around 3,000 BCE resembles the closest thing to modern dice.

China started gambling in some form about within the first million years BCE. So soon after humans discovered how to communicate, they started going to gambling houses in China.

Persia had As-Nas, Rome developed poker chips, and the Italians imported baccarat and Spain created blackjack

You may have heard of the ancient card game As-Nas? The game developed in Persia. As-Nas is the first version of our poker.

The Persians took As-Nas to Rome where it became such a hit that Roman authorities had to make gambling illegal. So instead of gambling with money, the Romans gambled with a form of poker chip.

Then, they’d cash out the poker chips after the end of play. This form of playing with chips or coins and then cashing them out after game play exists today in every casino every where in the world.

It also exists online where when we decide to play a few games of blackjack, we sit at the table and then cash out the rest of our balance and go and play another game.

The first known card game that exists today is baccarat. The Italians created the game and then imported it to France some time around 1400.

It took another 200 years, some time around 1600, for the Spanish to come up with blackjack even though nobody called it blackjack. The Spanish version of blackjack is different than our version. The French took the idea and turned it into 21.

When French settlers arrived in America, for some reason, nobody really knows, it turned into blackjack. Settlers in what became the U.S. were the first ones to call it blackjack.

Oldest form of sports betting, horse racing, originated in Rome

The Romans, probably after realizing how much fun they had while throwing dice, started gambling on chariot races. Eventually, the modern version of horse racing developed because after conquering what we call the United Kingdom, the Romans didn’t have chariots.

So instead of gambling on chariot races, they started gambling on horse versus horse races. Today’s horse racing hasn’t changed much since the Roman version.

Digital age of gambling

Before Al Gore declared in 2000 that he had “invented the internet”, online sportsbooks and casino were already doing business.

As soon as the internet age came upon us, online gambling sites came into existence. But it took until 2018 for the U.S. Supreme Court to open up the doors for states to allow sports betting.

Up until 2018, the State of Nevada spent millions of lobbying dollars to court both sides of the aisle to maintain a monopoly. However, because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, Nevada, like many states, are benefitting from the open gambling policy.

Twenty years later, Nitrobetting becomes the first crypto only online sportsbook and casino

In 2021, Nitrobetting opened their doors. The organization is the first that is exclusively bitcoin based, which means for the first time in gambling history, a company is using blockchain technology only to provide online gambling services.

Blockchain tech has the chance to revolutionize online gaming. Decentralization means there isn’t an entity like a centralized casino, think the Palms and Circus Circus in Vegas, that controls the money.

Security means every deposit and withdrawal is separate from every other deposit and withdrawal. Also, although transactions are immutable, they are also anonymous. We don’t know what transactions on the bitcoin blockchain represent.

So the next time you make a bet via BTC or crypto, and if you make the wager on a crypto only or bitcoin only site like Nitrobetting, congratulate yourself. You are making history just like those Romans who created the very first poker chips.

Where to Bet with Bitcoin

Sports betting odds are available here at Nitrobetting. Create a Nitrobetting account now to place your stakes on any of the top games every week.

This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more previews, guides and articles.

READ MORE: How Sports Betting Has Evolved Over Time