The Origins of Gambling and Its Greats

3 min read
30 May

Gambling can be explained as the wagering of money on an event that has an uncertain outcome. The main intent behind gambling is the prize money or something of value. Gambling, in whatever forms, requires that there must be the presence of three integral elements: 

-(1) Consideration 

-(2) Risk 

-(3) Chance

When it comes to the history of gambling, it can be said that it has taken place throughout the history of mankind in some form or other. It is believed that gambling dates back to the Paleolithic period, although there was no written history at that time. The earliest six-sided dice date back to Mesopotamia about 3000 BC. The oldest known dice was discovered in Egypt. In the first millennium BC, the gambling houses were quite common in China due to their interest in betting on fighting animals. In the gambling houses of China around 200 BC, ‘white pigeon ticket’ was played with the permission of the province governor. Even the Greek and Roman pottery also indicate that people of that time loved to bet on animals and even animals were specifically bred for this purpose.

It is believed that playing cards originated in China in the 9th century (although the games played at that time are unknown). However, it is known that the cards were decorated with human forms. It all changed when playing cards games spread throughout Europe. Needless to say, gambling became more regulated and organized as it started to spread and evolve.

In the 17th century, the first gambling houses appeared in Italy. By the end of the 19th century, there were casinos spread throughout continental Europe.

Due to advancement in technology, there was the inception of online gambling. The Free Trade & Processing Act was passed by Antigua and Barbuda in 1994 which permitted licenses to organizations that wanted to open online casinos.  That was the start of new technological advances that started attracting a new generation of players.

Famous gamblers Throughout History

Here is a list of famous gamblers that came from different walks of life e.g. from royalties, aristocrats, celebrities to a self-admitted compulsive loans officer Brian Molony. 

John Montana: A British statesman and the 4th Earl of Sandwich who was a known military and was a political figure in the 1800s. 

Wild Bill Hickok: Also known as Wild Bill, he was known as a lawman, a gunfighter, and yes, a gambler. It is said that he was among the best poker players of that time. 

Brian Molony: He was a Canadian self-admitted compulsive loans officer who became famous for the wrong reasons. He used to fund his casino trips from the company funds and stole over $10 million. He was arrested on April 27, 1983. 

Kerry Packer: An Australian media magnate who was known for so many reasons, especially his love for gambling. This “King of Whales” had a habit of betting $450,000 on a blackjack hand.

Archie Karas: He is without any doubt one of the most famous and greatest gamblers of all time. He is a Greek-American who had just $50 from winning in 1992. In the next three years, he amazed the world with the unbelievable, the longest winning streak that made him win over $40 million. 

Famous Celebrities Known For Gambling

  • Charlie Sheen
  • Tobey Maguire 
  • Ben Affleck 
  • Tiger Woods
  • Matt Damon
  • Pamela Andersen 
  • Frank Sinatra

Ever since its inception, gambling is evolving. But when it comes to the gambling industry, it started evolving from the time when a man named Harry Ogden started making profits from bookkeeping in the 1790s. Since then, the gambling industry has been through various phases that range from getting constrained to the racetrack to online gambling and becoming a billion-dollar industry. That being said, the ethics of gambling has changed but mostly remained the same. However, there are social impacts of gambling and that’s why it is believed that the gambling industry needs to change the way it sees itself, or is online gambling the the start of that change....

Disclaimer: All images are copyright to their respective owners and are used by TGB for informational purposes only

* The email will not be published on the website.