Historians quite debate over the origin of gambling. No one can precisely explain the provenance of all games of chances. History reflects that gambling existed across different civilizations irrespective of time or demography at some point in time.
Researchers have unearthed evidence in support of the claims that gambling was a mode of entertainment in the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia, Greek and Roman civilizations. Legends and anecdotes from Napoleon’s France and Victorian England are told to pass on the legacy.
The first account of controlled gambling appears in China from 200 BC. White Pigeon Tickets was played in Chinese taverns and drinking houses under the aegis of the provincial governor. Some portion of profits from the game was sent to him as tax. The house edge at that time was used to facilitate the funding of public works. As a matter of fact, and great irony, both Harvard and Yale were established using funds collected from lottery money.
Games loosely based on cards are believed to have been played in China as early as the 9th century. There is no account of the nature of the game and the cards do not appear to have a resemblance with today’s cards. Chinese cards featured human form art. The game might have spread from here to other parts of Europe where human cards took the shape of kings and queens.
Ridotto was the first gambling house that was ever established in Europe in 1638. It was not known as a casino as the term has not become popular till then. The great council of Venice opened it in Venice, Italy to offer gambling games as entertainment through carnival season, though it was restricted and controlled. The administration closed it down in 1774 as they believed the building has been degrading the local culture of the place. The morality and ethical values in the local gents were deeply affected by the presence of gambling activities in the building which led to its downfall.
Various state legislation made gambling illegal in America in the wake of the 20th century. It was not legalized and recognized until 1931 in Nevada. Contrary to popular belief, Nevada is a place where America’s first casino was opened for the public. Following suit, New Jersey lifted their restriction on casinos and paved the way for Atlantic City to become the second-largest gambling hub in the USA.