The History of Gambling & Why it is Still in Demand

Avatar for Robert Cohen Robert Cohen
The History of Gambling Featured Image

Many of us know what gambling is and might even enjoy it as a hobby or career. But how much do we know about the origin and history of gambling? In this blog, is here to bring you back to the past and help you understand the history of gambling, as well as why it is still in such high demand today. 

The Long History of Gambling

Gambling is one of the oldest activities of humanity, with a history spanning hundreds or thousands of years back in time. This is evident from writings and tools discovered in ancient places like tombs and early civilization sites. 

It is noted that gambling started in China, where evidence of basic games has been found on tiles. Other evidence of ancient gambling has also been discovered in Egypt, Rome and Greece. The world’s oldest dice have been found in Egypt, while Rome and Greece’s potteries indicate that the ancient civilizations were betting on animal fights. It is even said that they were having their animals bred for the sole purpose of betting. 

Ancient Civilizations’ Earliest Forms of Gambling

The signs and evidence mentioned above are a clear indication that humans have loved gambling for many centuries. To dive even deeper into the history of gambling, let’s look at how gambling has originated and developed in some specific ancient civilizations.

Gambling in China

China is thought to be the birthplace of ancient playing cards and other card inventions. The Chinese civilization is responsible for inventing paper and then they thought of the development of the paper currency. They soon learned to shuffle this currency which gave rise to the art of shuffling cards. 

Keno is the game most widely associated with China. It is a game originally played with cards that have squares with numbers ranging from 1 to 80. Players were given a chance to select a set of numbers, after which a random drawing determined the winning numbers. Some evidence dates Keno back over 2000 years and suggest that the game was originally known as “white pigeon ticket.” 

China is also thought to be the country that invented playing cards with human figures by the year 900 AD. This style became a major game theme in Europe, where it was modified to highlight the Kings and Queens which are still used today in modern decks. 

Gambling in Egypt

The presence of gambling artifacts in Ancient Egypt provides strong evidence of gambling. Archaeologists have been studying the land of Egypt for a very long time and have discovered various artifacts through excavating. In Thebes, they found dice made from elephant tusks, as well as a checkers-like game. 

Archaeologists also discovered an artifact they are referring to as “the greatest piece of evidence” when it comes to gambling history. This was a papyri that is thought to be dated from 3000-4000 BC. The papyri contain some laws to control the proliferation of gambling. 

HUBEM-how is another game that is thought to have existed in ancient Egypt. It was played by requiring players to throw discs into a bowl while following a specific order. The discs used were made from a variety of materials, allowing the game to be more complicated as it developed. This game is still on the run in some modern societies as a form of a traditional gambling game. 

Gambling in Greece

Gambling in Greece is both declared to be reprehensible and widely practiced. Gambling was very much present in ancient Greece, but people had split opinions on whether it was bad or not. It is said that gambling was so widespread that many philosophers opposed it and predicted for it to be some sort of plague. 

Regardless of the split opinions, gambling had two Gods on its hand. Significant figures in Greek mythology, such as Hermes and Pan, are renowned for gambling. Some tales also mention Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus tossing dice to divide the universe between them, which makes gambling more attractive to people. 

Checkers and heads and tails were two common games in ancient Greece. Checkers was known as tilia at the time, and it was dubbed as a “game of 12 lines” during the Roman period. People used to play head and tails with a shell but later switched to using a coin. 

Why is Gambling Still in Demand Today?

People’s behavior toward gambling is the main reason it is still existing and popular today. The love and acceptance of gambling is unmeasured, and the ability to relate gambling to almost everything under the sun is very spectacular. The factors listed below are some of the reasons why people’s love for gambling is never-ending.

It’s about risk-taking

Risk-taking is one of the biggest reasons why gambling is still popular to this day. It is human nature to get excited by risk and adrenaline, and gambling can trigger those feelings. Many players get excited about the idea of using strategies and winning a large amount of money. Some gambling games can’t be predicted, and the possibility of winning is pure luck. The feeling of anticipation produces a natural high, an adrenaline rush, which many of us seek while looking for entertainment and fun. Some people might even go so far as to say they can’t live without this sensation.

It’s alluring

Many players believe they can make easy money with gambling. Some gambling companies and sites nowadays even offer bonuses and big winnings, which players find alluring. Many will think, “There is evidence of these prizes being won by other people, so why not try as well?” People want to try their luck, and if they succeed, they will start to keep coming back for more.


Some people aren’t just after the big prizes, but for enjoyment and entertainment as well. They want an easy escape from the world they are currently in, and they think that they will find this enjoyment through gambling. Gambling allows you to bond with other people, possibly make some money and have fun. For these reasons, most gamblers follow their indulgence to gamble more — so they can win more, bond more, and enjoy more. 

Avatar for Robert Cohen
Author Robert Cohen

Robert is the Editor in Chief at He has been working with online casinos for more than 10 years and has tested hundreds of different operators. Robert believes that gambling can and should be a fun activity, and is a strong promoter of responsible gambling. Read more about Robert Cohen.