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HOME > > It's All Gambling

It's All Gambling

17 October 2020

By John Marchel

The word “gamble” derives from the Anglo-Saxon word gamenian which means to “sport or play:”

Gambling is one of the few social activities that occurs in nearly all cultures and more importantly in almost every period of time. In fact, when we look back over thousands of years of history, we find gambling in all the great civilizations and at every social level.

The Egyptians gambled, along with the ancient Chinese, Indians, Romans, Greeks, the Hebrews, plus North and South American Indian tribes, in the new world. They all had some form of gambling in their society.

They gambled for fun, riches and sometimes even as a peaceful way to end disputes. Out of all the cultures we have found, only Eskimos appear to be the lone society that does not include some form of gambling in their makeup. All in all, there is no doubt mankind has gambled a measured amount throughout the ages and still does a lot of it today.

What to gamble on

You can gamble on almost anything today. Who will win the presidential election, the triple crown of horse racing, the world series, golf and tennis matches, and also any other sport will offer a challenge to your sporting needs? You can wager on horse and dog races. You can play in casinos which have a variety of table games, machines, and wheels you can bet on.

Many states have lotteries, Indian casinos offer bingo and pull tabs to play along with a full array of casino type games. You name it and you can bet on it somewhere in America or somewhere in the world.

Gambling here and there

Today, you no longer need to make a long journey to Las Vegas, Reno or Atlantic City to gamble in a casino. Casinos, riverboats or race tracks are now located in 33 states from Arizona to Wisconsin, from New England to San Diego. As the 21st Century begins, it’s been estimated that every American (except those in Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah) is within 300 miles of a casino. Only two states in the nation, Hawaii and Utah, does not have any form of legalized gambling.

Other places to gamble

Besides casinos, forty-six states and the District of Columbia have some type of gambling like bingo, lotteries, horse or dog racing. Americans young and old alike are traveling to the biggest, wildest, most outlandish type of entertainment available anywhere on the entire planet.

Some casinos are very small like Bruno’s Country Club in Gerlach, Nevada which has only ten slot machines. Others are large like the 6,000 slots found at the Indian casino at Foxwood in Connecticut.

In addition to gambling in America there are 106 countries ranging from Aruba to Zanzibar, plus 138 cruise ships around the world that have casinos on board. Today’s gambling comes from all over the world. The French takes credit for inventing many of the casino games we play today. The “surrender” option in blackjack came out of the Orient. Baccarat is as popular in some South American countries as it is in Western Europe. In Norway 90 percent of the population gambles. At the beginning of the 21st century gambling can be found on every continent in the world except in Antarctic.


• Around 2800 BC, dog races were held in Egypt, later in 2000 BC Egyptians raced mounted horses.

• Ho Tei is the ancient Chinese god of prosperity and happiness. He is also known as the Fat Buddha. There is a tradition of unknown origin which says to rub the Fat Buddha’s belly is to bring good luck.

• In India, tennis is a popular sport. Many believe, and many do it, that an intelligent and skilled bettor can make a considerable amount wagering on matches.

• History of gambling in India roots back to some 4000 years ago. The famous story of different members of a royal family competed for the throne by the roll of a dice, in the great Indian epic Mahabharata dating to 1500 B.C. One of the competitors lost all his royal possessions including his wife.

• Romans began the sport of dog racing by using greyhounds to run down hares.

• Most Romans loved to gamble. In fact, it was common to see the Roman soldiers regularly playing dice games during their campaigns and carrying heavy and bulky gaming tables into war along with their military equipment.

• Besides calling dice “bones,” early Romans also called them “devil’s teeth.”

• Greeks and Romans would use dicing cups when playing various games using dice. To prevent cheating by a player who might slide the die out upon the board in a predetermined position, the cup also contained crossbars at the opening.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine. Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

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