Ancient & History

Ancient & History

Our study program does not only take you from elementary school through high school graduation, but also through the entire history of gambling, from 2300 BC to this day.

Millenia of Gambling

Historians and much archaeological evidence have proven the existence of gambling throughout the cultures of most civilizations. Gambling seems to have taken place millenia ago in China, Egypt, Rome, Greece, and India.

For example, a set of ivory dice from 1500 BC were found in Thebes, and writings in a pyramid in Giza have specifically mentioned gambling.

It's a... Playing Cards

The Chinese practice of shuffling paper money and money made of paper in 900 AD triggered the development of playing cards. The Mameluke Empire introduced playing cards into Europe and many Mediterranean countries. Since they were Muslim, their cards contained no human figures, rather, intricate designs similar to those seen on Muslim carpets. When the cards spread to Italy and Spain, they were distinguished with royal ranks of noblemen and court officials. In the 1500's, the French replaced one of the male characters with a queen, and this "French Pack" gave way to the present day 52 card prototype.

A Serious Bet

About 1,000 years ago, King Olaf of Sweden and King Olaf of Norway were in dispute over the ownership of the district of Hising, an area claimed simultaneously by both countries. So, they agreed to roll a pair of dice in order to resolve their disagreement.

Both kings rolled a double six on their first roll, yet the King of Norway rolled a 13 on his second try, and received the territory, avoiding hostility in the process.

The Middle Ages

King Henry of England and Ireland has offered undisputed evidence that gambling was a popular pastime for 16th century civilizations. Although a passionate gambler and dice player himself, King Henry VIII officially banned gambling throughout his kingdom upon discovering that his soldiers were spending more time gambling than working on their marksmanship and drills. It was during the middle ages that many traditional card games, such as blackjack and baccarat, emerged.

Roulette is 300 Years Old

The 17th century saw French mathematician Blaise Pascal design a small wheel which he called in French "Roulette". However there is collected data that suggests that the Chinese invented it, and introduced it into Europe via Dominican Monks.

In any case, it was Prince Charles of Monaco who triggered the popularity of Roulette, by using the wheel as a means of solving financial problems in his kingdom towards the 18th century. The game was modernized by Francois and Louis Blanc in 1842 by the addition of the "0", and it has since developed into three main versions; British, French, and American Roulette.

Craps and Modern Day Gambling

Elite and upper class citizens of the British Empire would play a game called "hazard" in their private gambling parlors in 18th century times. When the game spread to upper class France, its name was changed to "crabs" (meaning pair of ones) and then to "craps". A simplified version of the game traveled to America along with European immigrants.

The American government would use gambling methods in order to collect large sums of money for its development activities after its independence in 1776. In fact, gambling was so out of control at the time, that from 1850-1910 it was prohibited by Nevada.

It wasn't until 1931 when it was re-sanctioned, and became the catalyst for the Las Vegas casino boom.

The Internet Age

From 1957 to 1973, development of what is today known as the Internet took way. Although after its invention it was only intended as an information database and transfer system between universities, before its lucrative business opportunities were recognized.

The first ever interactive online game, "Advent" was released in 1970, and followed up by "Dungeon". As computers and Internet technology became household appliances and a mainstream industry, online gaming sky-rocketed in popularity and instigated discussion about the computerization of other games. Until early 1990's, talk about online gambling remained mere talk.

The catalyst for the online gambling industry began in 1994, when the government of Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade and Processing Zone Act. This law enabled the issuing of gambling licenses and the operation of online casinos from their home country, which today remains one of the industry's most popular licensing jurisdictions.

If you build it, they will come, goes the mantra. Microgaming, which provided online gambling software was founded in 1994. A year later, Andrew and Mark Rivkin established Cryptologic, a software package that could process online transactions safely and viably. As result of these developments, InterCasino debuted on the Internet as the world's first fully operational online casino on August 18th that same year. It offered 18 different casino games, including access to the National Indian Lottery. The first real money wager was placed in early 1996.

Another of the industry's leading pioneers was Cassava Enterprises, owned by Israeli brothers Avi and Aaron Shaked, & Shai Yitzchak. Cassava is a parent company of 888, among others.

In early 1996, a second sports book known as SBET presented their first online casino. Their success was rapid, primarily due to the acceptance of bettors' sports wagers via phone calls to Antigua on a toll free line established by satellite. Several months later, e-gaming software company Boss Media AB was established in the West Indies, and launched its first interactive casino in 1997. The popularity of online gambling that year was explosive; industry revenues reached a billion dollars, with 60% from the US alone.

Legal battles (specifically in the US) were raging. It was during this time that extensive industry developments took place. Such an example is the release of the Internet's first ever progressive jackpot slots machine, "The Cash Splash", by Microgaming (1998).

Additionally, the online gambling craze had begun penetrating other ends of the world; Australia saw its first government licensed Internet casino "Lasseter's", and other Asian and European governments began establishing their own gambling sites, such as the international lottery run by the Liechtenstein government.

Y2K

The year 2000 saw the UK sovereign territories of Gibraltar and Isle of Man offering sports betting licenses, and legislation for Internet gambling in the British Channel Islands in 2001. With the Caribbean, North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia all supporting online gambling, the industry had clearly reached international level and popular achievement.

The increasing domestication of computers and Internet in most homes and businesses allowed gamblers access to a new world at the touch of a button, and they felt a strong improvement in their gambling experience.

Yet despite growing success in all aspects of online gambling, the year brought along with it many anti-gambling jurisdictions. The Interactive Gambling Moratorium Act in Australia closed the gates against gambling websites, and Bob Goodlatte in the US House of Representatives began to push for Internet gambling prohibition in the USA Although he was unsuccessful, over the next few years online gambling would be prohibited indirectly, by means of banning certain payment methods, and blocking credit card use in various sites.

Nevertheless, the industry continued to flourish. In 2003, eCommerce & Online Gambling Regulation & Insurance was established in order to set and raise industry standards, making online gambling a safer environment. Moreover, Playtech released "live gaming", a video-streamed gaming concept in which players can gamble with real, live, online dealers. Poker was awarded with maximum esteem when Chris Moneymaker won $2.5 million in the World Series of Poker, by practicing online beforehand.

Popularity intensified through to 2004, as various gambling tournaments became televised TV programs, and winners became celebrities. Jackpots began to increase significantly, such as Microgaming's $160,000,000 progressive jackpot, which was shared by 5000 winners (a Florida resident won close to $2 million!). Playtech also launched a new gaming platform in 2005 code named "NG", boasting multiple game play. That same year PartyGaming, owner of Partypoker.com, was released into the London stock exchange.

A Look to the Future

Online gambling has since suffered a heavy blow with the passing of the Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006, signed by President Bush on October 13th, prohibiting online gambling in all its forms in the US. However, valued at over US$100 billion world-wide, the online gambling industry is still taking the world by storm. Today there are several thousand online casinos and poker rooms, and over 450 gambling-related sites. As technology develops, the online gambling experience is improving day to day, providing better graphics, user-friendly software, multi-player features, and unbeatable odds.

It is safe to assume that as long as both operators and players maintain a high level of responsible gambling, the online gambling world can only grow to newer, bigger heights. Mobile gambling is the latest industry development, and offering all that online gambling sites and casinos provide, and more, it is planned to become the next big thing in the gambling market. Whether at home on your computer, on vacation with your cell phone, or at your favorite casino, gambling has penetrated almost every aspect of everyday life, and continually provides people of all cultures an enjoyable experience with lavished benefits!

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