Evolution of Gambling

Nowadays there are so many ways to have a bet for players across the world. Whether you’re a sports fan who wants to bet on the latest soccer match or a slots fanatic who is hoping that one spin could land the big bonus. And, it’s all at your fingertips and can be placed in a matter of seconds.

However, it hasn’t always been like that and here we will rundown the evolution of gambling, detailing how things have changed over the years.

The early days

It’s fair to say that gambling and games go back a very long time. Firm evidence of gambling stretches back to 2300bc. In Ancient China, it’s believed tiles would be used by people looking to play a game of chance. Similarly, China is where the first playing cards appeared, in the 9th century. The specific rules of the games that the cards were used for is unclear.

Mahjong Tiles

Gambling was also prominent during Ancient Greek times, where it was considered lucky to roll a double six, which still applies to this day. In certain games, that’s all you would need to secure a victory. Actually, dice objects can date back over 40,000 years and cave drawings provide evidence that gaming was popular at the time.

The origins of games that are still popular today

Most casino games have origins stretching back a long way and of course, there have been many variations and improvements to virtually all games. However, baccarat is the earliest known game that’s still played today.

The two-player card version was initially played in the 1400s in Italy and France. It took hundreds of years and many variations, but similar principles to the game apply today and it’s still very popular, particularly with the high rollers!

Baccarat Room

Next, we look at blackjack which is one of the most played games today and the origins go back to the 1600s. It was also around this time that we saw the first signs of casinos, even though they were known more as gambling houses at the time. Although, again there are various stories that suggest blackjack could’ve been played even earlier than that. But, what we do know is that blackjack of today has adapted from the French game of vingt-et-un and was taken to the US by French people.

Yet, it’s America that’s responsible for the name blackjack. In the 1930s in Nevada (of course!) the term blackjack was used for a special promotion whereby players would be paid at 10:1 if they won with a black ace of spades and a black jack of spades or clubs. Even after the promotion had finished, the name stuck.

Roulette is another game that began in Paris. In 1796, the locals were playing with the wheel that is the same as American roulette today, with the double zero. It would be 50 years later until the European version was played and that would quickly spread across the world, although Americans stuck to the initial style.

Roulette Wheel

For poker fans, the origins are a bit more unknown given that it was a card game and it’s likely some forms of the game had been played centuries before. However, in 1829 an English actor told of a game that was played in New Orleans that is very similar to poker as we know it.

Finally, the most recent of the popular games we play is slots. In 1891, New York saw the first one armed bandits appear that used 52 cards on drum reels to create a type of poker game. And, a Liberty Bell machine came about not long after. Incidentally, that’s why we see bells still used today. During the early stages the slots would pay out in gum and cigars instead of money, but that changed in time.

Liberty Bell Slot Machine

Different laws come into place

The evolution of gambling has been influenced by the law and still is. In certain countries and states there may be stricter restrictions which obviously influence how you can play. In America, that applied in the 1900s. Gambling was prohibited at the time and in 1911 it was banned across the country which was due to public pressure. This didn’t mean that all gambling stopped, instead it went underground, so people were still playing these games.

However, by 1930 the Great Depression had hit and people were calling for gambling to be legalized as more and more people were playing. As well as that, it became a genuine way for local groups and churches to raise money in desperate times, with bingo made legal in 11 states across the country. Despite that, it was still only Nevada that had made nearly all gambling activities legal, but it had already built a reputation for being the place to be for gamblers.

Technology and innovations improve the gaming experience

Inevitably, over time technology improved and so did every aspect of people’s lives and gambling was no different. One particular aspect to rise was arcade games, which were coin-operated.

The first successful arcade game was produced in 1931 and was called Baffle Ball. However, it would be decades later when the golden age of arcade games really came about. There were many types of games, from pinball to ‘Spacewar!’ which was developed by computer scientists. By 1976, video slots were also increasing, led by a company called International Game Technology, or IGT which many of you will recognize from games today!

They purchased Fortune Coin manufacturer and set about delivering a host of new games for players, although the reels and paylines were far less than you see now. Three years later, video poker was introduced and quickly grew in popularity which helped the demand for slots too.

Throughout the 80s you would see improvements and new games regularly on offer. Again, for slot players, they would be limited in terms of the number of reels and in turn the jackpots. However, as more were produced, the quality improved which led to an increase in players and an increase in jackpots.

Modern Casino Floor

By 1994, Microgaming, another name you may be familiar with, jumped into online gaming. They offered online casinos and provided some of the favorite games in that format, which set everything off. Five years later, the online gaming would be a one billion dollar market and it was the beginning for thousands of online casinos and games to arise.

At this stage, the slots would have many paylines, the graphics had improved drastically and gambling had come a long way. There were still strides to make, with each provider desperate to improve the gaming experience for the players.

Million-dollar jackpots were won online in the early 2000s and for many players the thrill and excitement could be enjoyed at your own home. To demonstrate the realism and improvements, Playtech were the first to introduce live casino dealers for players in 2003. Of course, it’s a common feature to many casinos nowadays.

Finally, the development of mobile casinos was a big move in modern gambling. Mobiles had incorporated casinos in some capacity since 1994 but the real improvements came in 2007 with the iPhone having a desktop-type interface that made everything easier.

The ease at which players could play and the chance to play on the move meant casinos and gaming has gone from strength to strength since. The online market is a key area for any casino now and it also represents the future. With graphics, gameplay and the range of games, there really has never been a better time to enjoy the entertainment that gambling offers.

Mobile Slot Game

Ultimately, gambling has changed significantly over the years and today there are so many options available for players. Just head over to New Jersey Online Casinos to experience the full range of benefits that modern gambling offers. All of your favorite games are only a few clicks away.