Casino Games History
It is commonly thought that the casino concept is a relatively modern one. The truth is, the history of humanity is mysteriously linked to that of gambling. The evidence seems to show that wherever, and whenever, groups of people gathered, gambling would take place in one shape or another. We can trace the origins of games back to antiquity and most of them have quite an intricate tale. That’s why we decided to share with you the stories of a few of the most popular games and some of the important milestones in their evolution.
Casino games have evolved considerably throughout history, and most had an interesting journey that led them to become the iconic games that they are today.
The writings of Greek poet Sophocles, around 500BC, were one of the first mentions of dice in Greek history. He claims that they were invented during the siege of Troy. Of course, this is the myth.
It is the ancient Egyptian civilization that still dazzles with its mysteries, who is credited with the oldest pair of dice, discovered in a tomb, and dates back to 3000 BC. Ancient Egyptians were very much eager to play dice and their priests used those to predict multiple events.
Some of the earliest gambling-related discoveries were made in ancient China and the Roman Empire. Games featured in Chinese festivals and restaurants and tiles as a rudimentary game of chance. There was even a type of lottery to fund state works. Most scholars agree that the first games of cards appeared in China in the 9th century, albeit in a very different shape from the 52 decks of cards we know today.
On the other hand, the Romans favored the dice. Used both as entertainment and as a decision-making tool, the dice was a key part of Roman life. Nonetheless, all forms of gambling were officially forbidden with a steep penalty imposed on the rulebreakers. As a result, citizens came up with the first gambling chips. This was done to trick the guards into thinking that their game did not involve money.
Rumor has it that the infamous blackjack game originated in the 1600s in Spain. It was in France, roughly a hundred years later, that the game Trente et Un got its makeover as the game of 21. And it began to look more like the popular casino item that it is today.
Roulette originated in Italy in 1720 and it continued to evolve in the late 1700s in the gaming houses of Paris. But it was during the 19th century that roulette became widely popular.
The origins of poker remain unknown. Many traces it back to 17th century Persia and others say it was inspired by the French game Poque. One thing is certain, it was identified in the 1800s in New Orleans. Despite its somewhat modest beginnings, poker took off in modern times with the world tournaments in Vegas.
Rudimentary slots have existed throughout history, but modern-day slots originated in the late 1800s in New York. These machines became more sophisticated and became truly popular during the prohibition era in the 1920s United States. It’s only with the advent of computers and technology that slot machines eventually bloomed into the famous lucky spin game we know today. Both the physical machines and online casino games became regulated in the US, with other countries following suit in the next decade.
The first brick and mortar casino was established in 1963 in Venice. And thus the name Casino was dubbed in Italy, meaning “a little house for gaming”.
But for a while, going to the casino was reserved for a select few. That is until the internet revolutionized the world of gaming forever. The first type of online gambling was not surprisingly sports betting. And it was a natural evolution of the betting shop or telephone bookmakers. Casino games went online in the mid-1990s. As technology and connectivity improved, so did iGaming. By using big data, creating complex stories and themed games, that can be accessed online and on mobile, the industry grew exponentially.
Indeed, the democratization of gaming allowed players from all over the world – who could not previously visit top casinos – to have access to games online.
It is not easy to imagine the future of gambling, as it is an activity deeply anchored in tradition and continuously adapting itself. iGaming and mobile gaming are all the rage at the moment and represent the very latest evolution in the sphere of gambling. Games are becoming more and more conceptualized and thematic, with structures based on complex algorithms.
So, what is the next frontier? Perhaps augmented reality, a wide roll out of virtual reality gaming, or the inclusion of a yet to be discovered technology. Let’s roll the dice, because the future of casino games has endless possibilities!
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