Go Back
Gambling in Ancient Times

Gambling in Ancient Times

Can you believe the fact that gambling was considered one of the most famous sports activities during the Paleolithic period (an era before history was documented)? The first form of this ‘sport activity’ was discovered in Western Asia, where six-sided dice were used for gaming. While China was the first country to embrace the playing cards in the 9th century, Persians were known for introducing As-Nas (commonly known as Poker today). Let’s learn about the emergence of gambling in different nations.

Gamble in Ancient China

Gambling in China emerged during 2300 BC. China is the first country that embraced the idea of using playing cards with specific numbers and symbols. It might come as a surprise but the idea of cards shuffling derived from the Chinese culture of shuffling the money. Some of the top games created in China are Keno, Mahjong, Xuan He Pai, and etc.

Even though the country is known for introducing playing cards in the gambling world, to gamble is illegal in China. However, the state-run lotteries and other such online casino games aren’t prohibited in Hong Kong and Macau.

Gamble in Ancient Greece

Despite the fact that gambling was considered illegal throughout Greece for centuries, folks would love to participate in heads or tails, checkers, animal fights, and other such sports activities that involved betting. The Greeks used an exclusive cup to play dice games. Usually, they would put 3-4 dice in the cup, shake it, and throw it out. As per the Greek beliefs, gamble started when God Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus began to split the parts of Earth.

Gamble in Ancient Rome

Rome has always seen as an infamous country for its gambling culture. It all started when the popular emperor Augustus ruled the country. The fact that Augustus was a gamble addict isn’t hidden from the world. Although gambling was strictly prohibited in the Roman Empire, the Romans would organise a festival named “Saturnalia” where the men and ladies of all classes and status would gather to drink, eat, and play games.

What’s surprising is this festival involved the switching of roles between servants and leaders. While the servants would sit at the same table as their leaders and place a bet, the latter was supposed to serve their slaves.

Gamble in Ancient Egypt

Egyptians are fond of gambling since primitive era. The best part was that it was as simple as throwing some pebbles and sticks on the playground. To determine the result, the objects thrown onto the ground were examined. The game turned pretty sophisticated over time and people started to use multiple objects with different patterns and designs.

Casino Games in the Ancient Era


It is still not known who among France, Rome, and Spanish created Blackjack. But reports suggest, all the three nations have been playing Blackjack game for centuries. The rules of the game in all three nations were the same. Spanish called it “One and Thirty” while the French named it Twenty-one.


Baccarat is another casino game with an unknown history, although it is believed the game emerged in Italian since the term Baccarat means Zero in Italian. France discovered Baccarat in 1490 AD and named it “Chemin de fer”. Finally, Europe embraced this game and created the European Baccarat version of the same.


Most of the researchers say Poker has its roots in Persia. The game was earlier played with a pack of 25 cards with nearly the same rules as today.