A Brief History of Gambling: From the Ancient Egyptians to Modern Casinos

Gambling has been around for centuries, and its popularity only continues to grow. Though the origins of modern gambling are unknown, it is thought to have originated in China or ancient Egypt, or perhaps even earlier than that!

This blog post will explore the history of gambling, from its early beginnings to the contemporary casinos that we know today. We will consider the roots of the pastime before moving on to its development in terms of geography, society and the individual, charting the evolution of what has to be one of man’s favourite ways to spend time.

Let’s get started by thinking about the very earliest origins of gambling, which as this guide explains, stretch much further back than you may realise.

The earliest beginnings of gambling

The oldest known example of gambling comes from China, where playing cards were found that date back to the 9th century AD. These cards were used for a game called ‘baize’, which was similar to bridge or poker.

The first recorded use of dice also comes from China, a nation that has long embraced gambling. Dating to around 2800 BC, it is thought that the dice were used for a game called ‘weiqi’, which is still played in the nation today. Certainly, this proves that the origins of gambling are many millennia old at the very least!

Gambling in ancient Egypt

Gambling was also popular in ancient Egypt, where it was known as ‘hzwt’. This was a game of chance that was played with throwing sticks, and it is thought to have been used as a way of predicting the future.

The ancient Egyptians also believed that gambling had the power to bring good luck and fortune, which is a belief that persists even today. This is likely why the pastime became so popular in Egyptian society!

Gambling in ancient Greece

As well as in China and Egypt, gambling was also popular in ancient Greece. In fact, some of the most famous games in history were invented by the Greeks, such as ‘knucklebones’ (a game similar to jacks) and ‘tali’ (a dice game).

Gambling in ancient Rome

The Romans also liked to gamble, and they introduced many new games to the world. One of the most popular was ‘tabula’, which was played with dice on a board that had been divided into rectangles. This game is thought to be the precursor to modern day backgammon!

As we have seen, gambling was popular all over the world in ancient times. Yet it was in Rome that gambling really came into its own. This is because the Roman Empire made gambling legal, and this helped it to become even more widespread.

There were many different types of gambling games played in Rome, including ‘dice’, ‘tesserae’ (a game similar to bingo) and ‘chariot racing’. The latter was particularly popular, and it is thought that the first ever horse race took place in Rome in 326 BC!

Gambling in the Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, gambling was seen as a way of life by many people. This is perhaps unsurprising when you consider that there were few other forms of entertainment available at the time.

Games such as ‘horseshoes’, ‘quoits’ and ‘bowling’ were all popular gambling games during this period. In fact, even archery contests were often used as a way to gamble!

There was also a game called ‘hazard’, which was played with two dice. This is thought to be the origin of the modern day game of craps.

Gambling in the modern world

Gambling has come a long way since its early beginnings, and it is now a hugely popular pastime all over the world.

The first modern casino began operating in Venice in 1638, and casinos can now be found in nearly every country on earth. In the 19th century, gambling games such as poker and roulette became increasingly popular, and this led to the development of ‘casino culture’.

As the United States enjoyed an increasingly influential position in the world, Las Vegas became the capital of gambling in the mid-20th century, with money flooding in from across the planet to capitalise on the casino gold rush.

There are many different types of gambling games available today, from casino classics like 토토사이트 and roulette to more modern games such as slots and poker.

What’s more, with the advent of online gambling, it has never been easier to access your favourite games. You can now gamble from the comfort of your own home, or even on the go using your mobile phone!


As we have seen, gambling has a long and fascinating history. It is an activity that has been enjoyed by people all over the world for many thousands of years, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon! Who knows what the future of gambling will hold? We can’t wait to find out!