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  1. For gamblers in the twenty-first century, it is extremely easy to enjoy a quick flutter, whether it is at an online operator or their nearest land-based casino. The layered tale of how this all came into being covers centuries of yo-yo regulations, complete with visionary entrepreneurs that shaped gambling as we know it. Take a trip down memory lane with us as we explore details about the individuals that contributed to the success of gambling leading up to the present. Some had the power to change laws, while others had the money to establish casinos. Let's take a historical and biographical spin around the globe! A Brief History of Legal Gambling Games of chance and man's love for it date back to prehistoric times. Unsurprisingly, gambling's legal state varied greatly over the centuries, and its prohibition reigned for long periods at a time. Legal gambling is, in fact, very new compared to how long we've used games of chance as entertainment. Except for certain regions in Europe, most gambling only enjoyed legal status at the beginning of the 20th century. Although there were short periods before this where countries allowed citizens to enjoy making wagers, the most solid legislation came into the equation around the 1930s in America and 1960 for Britain. Decades later, the internet and innovative gambling tycoons led to the remote gambling industry that today allows millions of players worldwide to enjoy wagering wherever they find themselves. People Who Paved the Way Changes in the industry came about gradually as more regions from various continents legalised casinos, and the individuals that propelled these changes included congress members, wealthy dreamers, and talented software developers. Here are brief biographies of the individuals that shaped the gambling world. Europe ✓ Il Ridotto and the Great Council of Venice The first known permitted casino dates back to 1638, when the Great Council of Venice opened a temporary private room during that year's carnival. They named the public casino il Ridotto and planned to close it once the carnival packed up. Although the Roman Catholic Church objected to the practice of gambling, it was public demand and full government coffers that kept the gambling house flourishing. Thanks to the people of the Great Council, this gambling house inspired others in surrounding regions like Paris and Monaco, which essentially kick-started the global casino industry. Unfortunately, the Ridotto didn't survive reformist Giorgi Pisani's motion to close it and its doors shut forever in 1774. ✓ Cardinal Jean-Theodore, Bavaria Through the approval of a decree, Cardinal Jean Theodore of Bavaria allowed for the opening of the second oldest casino in the world, Redoute casino. The facility opened in 1762 and trades to this day, although its name changed to Casino Spa. A few years later, another casino opened as part of a bathhouse in the German region, Baden Baden. At the time, it was the casino for royalty, but Baden Baden Casino exists to this day, with its elaborately luxurious interiors, and is open to all gamblers. ✓ Prince Florestan I and Francois Blanc, Monaco Gambling and European Aristocracy have strong ties that date back centuries. In 1856, Monaco's Prince Florestan, the first, passed a concession for the opening of the region's first bathing house and casino. Monaco only experienced genuine success in its gambling industry two years later, after Hamburg's Francois Blanc entered the country and built a casino. Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo came into being in 1858. USA Like all other parts of the globe, North America has a complicated history with gambling. It wasn't until the 20th century that casinos were legally allowed in some states. ✓ Governor Fred Balzar Opens Reno Following over two decades of prohibition and countless illegal operations, Nevada State Assemblyman Phil Tobin introduced Bill 98, which allowed for wide-open gambling in the state. Governor Fred Balzar understood the financial implications and signed the bill into law on 19 March 1931. From there, small gambling venues traded for a decade in Reno before the first Las Vegas licences appeared. ✓ Thomas Hull and El Rancho Armed with his Las Vegas licence, entrepreneur Tommy Hull built the first hotel-casino in Sin City. Rumour has it that the land owner offered it to Hull for free, but he insisted on paying $1,000 per acre and took 57 acres from her. Hull's casino celebrated outstanding success, and its surrounding area later became known as the Vegas Strip. We all know how the rest of this story goes. Today, Las Vegas is the gambling hub of the West and the Strip houses 31 stupendous casinos and resorts. ✓ Enoch L. "Nucky" Johnson and Atlantic City New Jersey is yet another gambling jurisdiction with a long history of gambling, starting before the prohibition era. Locals tell the tales of how it was a well-known attraction to find all prohibited goods and services in this state. During his time as the leader of the Atlantic County and Atlantic City governments, Enoch L. "Nucky" Johnson publicly admitted to the lawlessness of his state. For a good reason, he had the reputation of a powerful city boss. Although his methods were crooked, Johnson paved the way for Atlantic City's casino industry's success. Federal Authorities eventually grew tired of Johnson's criminal approach and arrested him. The first legal casino opened in the 70s after countless landmark hotels were closed and demolished. Britain The first legal casino in the UK opened its doors in 1961, following the government's release of the Betting and Gambling Act that year. ✓ The Casino Club and George Alfred James Some refer to him as 'The Father of British Casinos' and The Casino Club Port Talbot was George Alfred James' brainchild that launched his UK casino empire. Located in Wales, the spectacular facility included a fine dining restaurant for 400 people, illuminated floors, and cabaret performances for the wealthy aristocrats of the area. Frequent guests comprised celebrities and other rich and famous Brits. One year after this, James expanded his casino business and opened the doors of the Prince of Wales club in Cardiff, The Golden Horseshoe in London, and The Kingsway Casino in SouthPort. The latter became a flagship in James' empire with events like celebrity appearances and top musical performances, merging casinos and entertainment in the UK for the unforeseeable future. Macau Like most regions, Macau's gambling history includes power struggles and regulatory challenges. Nonetheless, Macau became the world's leading gambling hub in a short 4 decades. ✓ Stanley Ho He may not have been the most popular guy in the room or world, but Macau's journey to the gambling capital of the world started with Stanley Ho's monopoly casino empire. He secured a gambling monopoly licence for Macau in the 60s and worked his magic. Under the syndicate, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM) Ho started with the New Garden Casino and a year later opened the casino hotel, Estoril. Nearly a decade later, after establishing smaller gambling venues across the city, STDM presented its flagship casino, the Lisboa Hotel, where patrons enjoyed traditional Chinese games and Baccarat, blackjack, and slot machines. The Lisboa had the first VIP rooms, leading to Macau's flourishing junket operator's industry. Ho's reign and his monopoly ended in 2002 when the Chinese government freed up the gaming industry. Online Gambling In 1994, the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda established the Free Trade and Processing Act, which allowed licences for online gambling companies. Regarding whom the first official online casino provider was, it remains arguable, but the following had a tremendous impact on the igaming world. ✓ Roger Raatgever and Martin Moshal South African-born business graduate Roger Raatgever was Martin Moshal's investment and loan banker when Moshal faced a declined loan application to start a software company. Raatgever believed the online gambling company had potential and offered Moshal loan security for a 50% share in what would become Microgaming. Their company officially launched in 1994, and Raatgever was the CEO. Microgaming launched its first online slot, Cash Splash, in 1998 with the first progressive jackpot. In collaboration with other industry leaders, Raatgever worked to break down industry stigmas, and they created the Interactive Gaming Council, which became a pioneering regulatory body in iGaming. ✓ Denise Coates and Bet365 The cutthroat gambling industry does not have many female faces in executive positions, but UK-born Denise Coates is not just any lady. In 1995, her father offered her the chance to manage their family business, a betting shop chain. Driven by the absolute conviction that online sports betting is the way to go, Coates persuaded her lawyer brother to join forces with her and with his support, she launched Bet365. Bet365 is one of the world's most reputable online betting platforms. Two decades of hard work allowed Denise to help shape the sports betting global market. ✓ Big Time Gaming Online gambling in all its forms was well established by the time that Nic Robinson founded his software company named Big Time Gaming. Since his company's launch in 2011, it has contributed to unforgettable changes in the iGaming industry. Most notably, Robinson's business invented the crazy mechanics that power Megaways, and since then, slots were never the same. BTG became part of the innovative live casino company, Evolution in 2021, and the partnership continues to shake things up in igaming. A Golden Future It may have taken a century to shape the gambling industry into what it is today, but the speed of change and innovation change gears constantly with the rapid growth of late. These figures made invaluable changes for gambling and casinos, and many more will follow as we move into the era of virtual reality and the metaverse. One thing remains clear, the future of gambling is as exciting as the colourful tales in its history.
  2. Las Vegas is filled with wonder and hidden secrets many don't know about. Did you know that the ex-baseball star Pete Rose can be found in casinos ready to give out his autograph for a price? Are you looking to find out what's hidden underneath Las Vegas as far as scandals and secrets mostly only the locals have heard of? Read on to discover Las Vegas secrets that many would rather have hidden than found out. 1. The Monkey Paw Did you know that Las Vegas calls itself the Entertainment Capital of the World? Tommy Glenn Carmichael stole millions of dollars from casinos by using different methods to rig slot machines. The one method he used was known as the monkey's paw. It was a wire that would insert through the machine's payout chute and trip the microswitch. The machine then released a jackpot. His techniques improved as technology did. His next trick was known as the light wand. The light wand would blind the slot machine's sensor and have the machine spit out coins. He was eventually caught by the FBI and had to serve time in jail and probation. After this, he wasn't allowed in casinos again. 2. Ron Harris Ron Harris was a software engineer who would write anti-cheating software for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. As he was doing this, he was also placing hidden software in the coding machines. This hidden software paid out huge jackpots when players would place coins in a certain sequence. He rigged 30 machines before he had his accomplices play the slots and walk away richer. He was eventually caught when one of his accomplices was found trying to rig a game in Atlantic City. He eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. 3. The Rat Pack The Sands Hotel and Casino experienced its last great show in 1996 when it crumbled. It was a frequent stop for the Rat Pack and Hollywood directors. It was owned by alleged mobsters such as Sheldon Adelson and Howard Hughes. In 1931, to fight the crumbling economy, gambling was legalized. After World War II a boom came to Las Vegas. First came the restaurants and casinos in the 40s. In the 50s, more modern hotel-casinos started popping up. The Sands was one of the first hotels to be built on the strip. The biggest news for The Sands Hotel was when the Rat Pack made it their home base. Frank Sinatra started singing in the Copa Room at The Sands. Sinatra brought celebrities and glamour to the hotel. The other Rat Packers joined him, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and Dean Martin. They brought along celebrities from Lucille Ball, John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, to Rosemary Clooney and Lauren Bacall. While the 50s and 60s were great for The Sands, it started losing steam. Howard Hughes eventually bought it and had dreams of expanding the property. Frank Sinatra announced that he was going to Caesars Palace. They had eventually cut off his credit because of Sinatra's debt to the hotel. Some claim that Sinatra threw a tantrum climbing on top of the tables and screaming. Then he threw a chair at the casino boss who punched him in the face. Without Sinatra, The Sands started to suffer. It was sold by Howard Hughes to Sheldon Adelson. Adelson decided to blow up the hotel to build the Venetian. 4. Hilton Arson The Las Vegas Hilton had many acts from Liberace to Elvis but also had a terrible crime occur. A fire had broken out in an elevator lobby on the 8th floor. The fire consumed much of the building killing and injuring many. They eventually became suspicious of the busboy Phillip Cline. He eventually admitted to starting the fire and claimed he did it by accident. He claimed he was smoking and the fire had gone onto the curtains. Investigators started to doubt his recalling of the events. After this, he was convicted of arson, murder, and received a life sentence. 5. Al Bramlet Murder The Las Vegas Culinary Worker Local 226 union was run by Al Bramlet. He was as powerful as casino owners and mobsters in the area. They represented almost all of the housekeepers, dishwashers, and waiters in the city's hotels. He not only represented his members but also used violence to go after his goals. In this Vegas secret, he organized almost every service worker in town. A non-union gourmet restaurant was destroyed because of 2 bombs going off on its roof. Another restaurant was destroyed by a bomb a month later. One year later, Bramlet ordered bombs to be placed in front of 2 restaurants which never exploded. They were discovered by the police. Bramlet refused to pay the hitmen Gramby and Thomas Hanley, who were father and son. This father and son duo became angry and started to plot their revenge. They forced him into their van at gunpoint at McCarran International Airport. The Hanleys asked him to arrange payment for the bombs. Bramlet was told he would be released once they were paid. Bramlet then arranged for a loan to pay his kidnappers. After he made the call, Tom Hanley shot Bramlet. His body was later found a few weeks later by hikers. Today, the Culinary Workers Local 226 is one of the most powerful unions in the country. They ensure the wages of the service workers are higher than the national average. 6. The Hole in the Wall Gang You might have heard of Tony "The Ant" Spilotro. He was the main mob boss trusted to ensure millions of dollars in casinos were safe. Spilotro was hired when someone needed to be murdered. He, later on, created his own criminal business with ex-cops and thieves. It was known as the Hole in the Wall Gang. They did loan sharking and robbed drug dealers. They got their name because they would smash a hole in the walls or ceilings of the stores they robbed to get past the alarm systems. He also operated a jewelry store known as the Gold Rush. In the Gold Rush, he kept most of the stolen items. He was later charged with crimes related to the gang, but the jury didn't reach a verdict. Spilotro on top of this had been having an affair with the wife of a Las Vegas mob boss, Frank Rosenthal. There was an assassination attempt on Frank Rosenthal, which the police believe Spilotro was involved in. Spilotro and his brother went to a house in Indiana for a business meeting and met with a group of mafia hitmen. They were strangled, beaten, and buried in a cornfield. Afterward, most of the gang were given long prison terms because of racketeering or burglary. 7. A Glitch in the Machine Some of the best-kept secrets Las Vegas are the casino glitches. One person, John Kane found a software bug in machines when he played video poker. He found a glitch in the Game King line of video poker machines. It let players replay hands with different wagers. Kane would sit at a machine for hours betting one cent at a time. When he received a jackpot-winning hand, he replayed his hand with a maximum amount of $10 and received payouts of several thousand dollars. Kane's friend, Andre Nestor took part in the glitch. They were arrested but were let go since federal prosecutors weren't able to justify the charges of conspiracy and hacking. His attorney argued that they pressed buttons they were legally allowed to press. 8. Kidnapping Steve Wynn's Daughter Since casino moguls are worth billions, their families can be targets to make money. Steve Wynn received a call from someone who claimed to have kidnapped his daughter. Kevyn (Steve Wynn's daughter), had been kidnapped by 2 armed men from her home. They asked for $2.5 million in ransom for his daughter but took $1.45 million since her father claimed that's all he had on hand. After the kidnappers picked up the money they told Wynn he could find his daughter at McCarran International Airport. She was tied up in a car at the parking lot. One day later, the police received a big tip. A sporting club manager (Ray Cuddy) went into a car dealership to buy a Ferrari in cash. When he went to finalize everything a few days later, the FBI was there. After Ray was arrested, his accomplice Jacob Sherwood was as well. They both received decades in prison related to the kidnapping. Las Vegas Hidden Gems While Las Vegas has its fair share of scandals and secrets to find out about, you won't want to miss out on what's right outside the city like The Valley of Fire. While Las Vegas attractions are exciting, you can check out the Valley of Fire State Park to see some breathtaking rock formations. Akhob Don't miss out on this Las Vegas secret, known as Akhob. This is one of the hidden attractions in Vegas. It's underneath the Louis Vuitton store in the Las Vegas City Center. Find an employee and tell them why you're there and they'll take you to this art exhibit. The Bootleg Canyon Another gem is the Bootleg Canyon. It's known for its history of being a smuggling route for prohibition-era bootleggers. You can go hiking or zip-lining there. Millennium Fandom Bar If you're looking to have a geeky time, be sure to check out the Millenium Fandom Bar. It's right off the strip. You can find lightsaber battles and cosplayers. Container Park Check out the container park for a kid-friendly atmosphere. You can find plenty of boutique shops and restaurants within shipping containers. Dream Catcher Sunset Tour If you're a fan of helicopters, don't miss out on the Dream Catcher Sunset Tour. You'll fly over the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and the Strip. Pahrump Valley Winery For a winery stop, you'll want to head to Pahrump Valley Winery. It's only about an hour from the strip and is a popular destination in the area. The LINQ Promenade You can find this commercial strip which has over 40 attractions, restaurants, and shops. You can also check out the High Roller Observation Wheel which is part of the LINQ Hotel & Casino. Absinthe Don't miss out on seeing Absinthe at Caesar's Palace. It's Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Cirque de Soleil. This is an 18+ show where you can enjoy adult humor and acrobatics. The Mob Museum After learning about all these mobsters and scandals, why not check out The Mob Museum. You can see plenty of mobster memorabilia here. One such item is the wall from the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Red Rock Canyon When you need a break from the strip and gambling, make sure to check out the Red Rock Canyon. You can enjoy camping, geology, plants, and wildlife, along with trails for hiking. Stop at the visitor center for information about the park. You can also check out their indoor and outdoor exhibits, along with a gift and book store. You can enjoy dozens of trails, whether you're looking to bike or hike. It's conveniently located just a few miles from Last Vegas. It's considered within the Mojave Desert. You can enjoy limestone, red colors of the stone, and iron concretions.
  3. As people in the UK are five times more likely to be hooked on risky betting than others around the world, it's crucial that we as a nation have protections in place for those that love to gamble. UK betting shops didn't always have these protections, but it's interesting to see how and why they got them. Here, we're going to talk about the legalisation and history of bookies in the UK. Read on to learn how far we've come in the gambling world since last century! What Are UK Betting Shops? Simply put, a betting shop is a small shop where one can place in-person bets with a licensed bookmaker. These bookies facilitate gambling for people who come to them so that they can bet on sporting events including horseraces, the outcomes of football games, and more. While these shops used to be illegal (and still are in many parts of the world), the UK has legalised them. This has made these betting shops a safe place for gamblers to place bets and continue to have legal protections. This wasn't always the case, though, which is why it's important to understand the history of UK betting shops. Where Did They Come From? Up until 1960, when the Betting and Gaming Act was introduced to Great Britain, bookies were 100% an illegal business. While they did exist, there were penalties in place for those who were caught. For this reason, people who placed bets with them had no legal protections in place. Dishonest bookies were free to con and scam to their heart's desire. However, all that changed when the first legal betting shop opened up on 1 May 1961. They then started opening up at a really brisk and steady rate, with approximately 100 new shops opening each week. Bookies that operated in these betting shops were given licenses to operate from the Racecourse Betting Control Board to operate across the nation. Why Were These Laws Passed? The new laws were passed specifically because of the prevalence of illegal betting around England. When illegal betting ran rampant, booked would send physical runners to collect money from those who were in debt to them. As you can imagine, this lead to criminal acts like assault and extortion that ran the police thin. When the new act was passed, punters could only place off-course bets by proving that they already had enough credit to set up an account with a bookie. Bets would then be placed by telephone to ensure that runners weren't sent to rough anyone up. The Impact After these laws were passed, gambling became less stigmatised as well as being safer. Punters wouldn't risk becoming embroiled in criminal activity, so people were less likely to judge them for risky behaviours. While bookies weren't allowed to post adverts or market themselves, people did know about them and share which ones they liked with each other. Get Started Gambling has always been a pastime that people in Great Britain enjoy. Now that you know the history of betting shops and their role in the UK, it's time to learn more about where you can gamble and have a good time placing bets. While it's fun to go out and meet with a bookie sometimes, there are other days where you might just want to gamble from the comfort of your own home. Check out the 'casinos' tab on our home page and start browsing for an online casino that works for you!
  4. The roots of poker go back hundreds of years, but would you like to know which game is older? Believe it or not, the game of keno has its roots in one of the most notable and ancient lotteries in the world. You might not usually think about these origins when you sit down to play, but it's worth learning about one of the most popular casino games on earth. Read on for a quick (and fascinating) history of keno games. What Is Keno? In case you're not familiar with keno, here's a quick rundown. Keno is played with cards or tickets that have numbers in squares, generally between 1-80. Players mark as many numbers as they wish, up to the maximum allowed, and registers his selection before a drawing. Twenty numbered balls are selected at a time, usually once daily. Prizes are given based on how many of each player's chosen numbers are drawn. Where Did Keno Start? That's how we play keno today, but where did this popular casino game begin? For the answer, we have to travel back over 2,000 years to the Han Dynasty in China. Its ruler, Cheung Leung, needed more money to fund an ongoing war. To get his subjects to willingly provide the money, he devised what many consider the first government-run "lottery" in history. The name of the game was baige piao or "white pigeon ticket," named for the bird that appeared on the card. It also featured the first 80 characters from Qianziwen, the Book of a Thousand Characters. Cheung Ling promised the chance of a huge return on a small investment, so the game was an instant success. It provided enough income not only to finance the war but also the rebuilding of the Great Wall. How Did Keno Spread? When the first Chinese immigrants arrived in the US in the 1800s, they brought their favorite game with them. Despite the fact that gambling was illegal, it thrived during the era of westward expansion. The US government legalized gambling in 1931, and the first keno-based games arrived in Reno, Nevada, in 1933. It was first called Race Horse Keno, showing names of horses instead of numbers so it didn't conflict with existing lottery laws. When the laws changed again in 1951, the number-based keno games we know today were reintroduced. Today you'll find keno games in every casino in America, as well as gambling facilities in Australia, South Africa, and eastern Asia. Many online casinos also offer versions of keno so players can enjoy the game from anywhere. Keno Casino Games: Here to Stay Online casino games may be a modern invention, but the game of keno is just the opposite. With roots stretching back thousands of years to ancient China, it's one of the oldest numbers games on earth. As it spread across the world, it gradually evolved into the game we know and love today. So the next time you're hanging out at the casino with your friends, mention a few of these fun facts about keno. Everyone is sure to be impressed with your knowledge of the game! Ready to learn more about all things gambling? Browse our blog for more great information.
  5. Even though the house has as much as a 5.26% advantage in the popular game of roulette, it doesn't stop people from playing. That is because roulette offers one of the best chances to double your bet and one of the greatest payouts of 36/37 to 1. The roulette wheel is a fascinating and exciting game of luck, but so is its history. If you want to play the game well then you should know how it was created. Read on to find out more. Ancient Origin Theories Some might argue that the roulette machine basics involving spinning a wheel and using a marker to determine a winner has ancient roots. These theories might be far fetched, however, they just may have had some influence on the modern development of the roulette wheel. One unstable theory started with Chinese monks who used a square that displayed 37 marked stones of various animals. The number 666, the sum of the 37 numbers, was written in the center of the game. Either the game was shared with or discovered by Dominican monks who then brought a modified circular game back to Europe. Another possibility is more barbaric than a game played by monks. In ancient Rome and Greece, soldiers would use their shields or chariot wheels as spinners. Bets were placed on where the arrow would stop once the shield or wheel came to a stop. In medieval times, a Rota Fortunae or Wheel of Fortune displayed the unfortunate consequences of fate, similar to a roulette spin. The painting of the wheel shows a blindfolded goddess turning the spokes with kings clinging to the edges as they rise and fall. European Roulette Wheel More historians agree that the roulette table game we see today came from France and was a scientific experiment gone wrong. The mathematician, physicist, and inventor Blaise Pascal attempted to create a perpetual motion device. His invention was doomed to fail since the law of physics says an object can't continuously move without any kind of force. So, in 1655, being a suspected gambler and one of the first people to study probability, Pascal decided to turn his wheel into a game. However, other European origin stories exist that may have led to Pascal's invention. For example, the English game of even/odd (E.O.) looks strikingly similar to roulette's 50/50 odds of red or black. There is another game in Italy that may have pre-dated Pascal's referenced as "Italian Roulette" in the history books. All About the Odds Regardless of who came up with the initial design, the real decision was how to balance the odds. The game was simple to play. You placed a bet on numbered squares from 1 to 36 or on red or black. This was the layout of Pascal's original design. However, in 1842 the king of Monaco, Charles III, was in a financial crisis. Two French entrepreneurs, Francois and Louis Blanc brought him a solution of creating a casino. Their first idea was to change the popular game of roulette to include a zero on the wheel that made all other bets absolute. The added zero raised the house advantage and made Monte Carlo a luxury casino destination, especially soon after when France outlawed gambling. Coming to America The roulette wheel numbers would change once more when it migrated to the United States. A second double-zero space further increased the house odds and made the game even more interesting. In colonial America, an American Eagle symbol was added on the wheel with only 28 numbers, excluding the zeros slots. The icon of liberty and the zeros meant if the ball landed on it the house would win and all bets were lost. Later, the game switched back to a more European-style game with the absence of the eagle and with the green-colored zeros paying like other numbers. The popularity of the game slowly spread across the country. Starting in New Orleans, roulette traveled north on casino steam ferry boats and eventually made its way to Quebec. The ambiance of the game changed as well. You would find roulette played in smaller parlors rather than grand casinos like in Monte Carlo. This led to an increase in cheating both on the player and proprietor side. To prevent fraud, the wheel was placed on a table and easy betting options were introduced to make the game move quickly. People didn't have the space or time to cheat, plus it increased the excitement of the game. Modern Roulette Variations Today, the American roulette wheel stick to its original single and double zero spaces while Europeans tend to use the single zero only. Other roulette variations have developed over the years. The French give some of the advantage back to the player in a rule called "le partage." If the player bet an even/odd, black/red, or high/low wager and the ball lands on zero they get half of their money back. Less common forms of roulette include a no-zero wheel, a progressive jackpot option called Royal Roulette, and a mini-roulette usually with only 12 numbers. The Online Gaming Boom The casino roulette wheel is most versatile when played online. There is even a double ball option that increases the player's chances of winning by two times. Online playing also allows smaller bet options. Most casinos have minimum bet options, increasing your risk of losing more money. Micro-betting from the comfort of your home allows you to learn the game and have fun with a small investment. Playing games like roulette online has become preferable in the last few years that is it on track to become a $94.4 billion industry by 2024. Exploring Online Roulette Wheel Options The online gaming revolution now makes it easy to learn how to play all types of roulette wheels. You have the option of playing with points, real money, and even Bitcoin against the computer, real players, or virtual dealers. Get started by playing our free roulette games.
  6. According to legend, the game of shooting craps came about from ancient Roman soldiers using knuckle-bones of a pig as dice and armor shields as a table. Yet others believe that craps came from an Arabic dice game known as Al Dar. One of the more popular beliefs is that the game originated from Sir William of Tyre in 1125. The history of craps is long and storied indeed. You may have seen craps featured in a movie or even within the setting of a fantasy book. It's a popular dice game that seems to find its way into all forms of entertainment. If you're curious and want to learn more about craps, then keep reading. In this article, we'll cover nine facts about the game of craps. 1. Superstitions Abound Around the Game of Craps Did you know that the term "lady luck" comes from one of the superstitions about shooting craps? Some believe that men and women don't have the same kind of luck. Players who have never played craps are known as virgin players. When a male virgin to craps plays, they're thought to be unlucky. However, when a female virgin to the game plays, she's known as a lucky charm. Also referred to as Lady Luck. Having a woman blow on the dice is thought to bring you good luck on your roll. That's not where the superstitions stop, though. Saying the number "seven" at the table is thought to bring terrible luck. Instead, players prefer to say the word "big red," "the devil," or simply "it." Another common superstition is that you shouldn't touch or speak to the shooter during their turn. If you touch the shooter, it can cause the dice to seven out. You're also supposed to keep your hands off the board during a roll, because it's thought that if the dice hit your hand, they will land on seven. The final superstition that is often encountered is the concept of "cold dice." Cold dice refers to either a new set of nice not used yet, or a table with few players where the dice haven't been used much yet. This is why, if dice hit the floor, some players will yell "same dice" so that the dealer won't get a new pair out. 2. There Are Four Main Bets Craps is one of the more difficult casino games to play if you don't know the rules. The table has many different wagers, and the dice can create numerous variations of a roll. As a game of chance and odds, it's got quite a few rules. To help simplify matters and start learning craps, you need to know that there are four main bets you should be aware of. These four bets are: ➀ pass line ➁ don't pass line ➂ come ➃ don't come You'll want to try and stay with these bets. They have the lowest house edge. "Pass line" and "come" bets both have a house advantage. Whereas "don't pass line" and "don't come" both have a house edge. It's worth noting that many players despise when someone places any "don't" bets. The reason for this is that it's traditional for players to bet with the shooter. This allows everyone to cheer together when the shooter is on a streak. When you make a "don't" bet, you're wagering against the shooter. When you do this, it's known as "betting on the wrong side." It's called this because you're hoping for the shooter to lose, which is what the house casino wants. Betting against the shooter doesn't give you any noteworthy advantages at winning, hence why most everyone stays together and bets in favor of the shooter. This helps to create a more amicable and friendly atmosphere as well. 3. Seven Is Rolled Often Of all the possible combinations to roll with craps, the number 7 is the most often to occur. The numbers 2 and 12 are the least rolled in the game. 4. There's a World Record A woman named Patricia Demauro decided to try playing craps for the first time in 2009. She went on to play the game for an astounding four hours and 18 minutes without rolling a single seven. In total, she rolled the dice 154 consecutive times at the table. 5. Dice Control Doesn't Work Dice control refers to a system where people build a strategy based on rolling the dice a certain way. Most of these strategies hinge on the dice not hitting the back wall of the table. The problem with this is that most casinos require you to bounce the dice off the back wall. If a dealer catches you attempting dice control, you'll be removed from the game. Also, with online casinos, dice control is impossible because everything is digital. 6. The Roll 11 Is Known as "Yo-Leven" Shooting craps is a verbal game. Players must say aloud their bet commands, and the casino staff must announce point numbers and rolls. Both the words "seven" and "eleven" sound similar. To break up the confusion, players adopted saying "Yo-level" or "yo" when referring to 11. 7. The Yo Bet Is the Worst There are a total of 36 possible combinations in craps. A meager two of these combinations can create a total of 11. With a wide gulf between odds and payout, yo-level is one of the worst wagers a craps player can make. 8. Hedging Bets Doesn't Work Hedging a bet means you place multiple bets on different outcomes in an attempt to minimize the risk. However, this strategy doesn't work in craps. The reason behind this is because of the house edge on two of the main betting commands. 9. Huge Money Records Like with any betting game, craps has a few stories where a person amassed incredible wealth. Take Archie Karas as an example. While already notably wealthy with a $17 million fortune. He betted on shooting craps and turned that fortune into an astounding $40 million. Shooting Craps Is Fun The game of shooting craps spans back thousands of years ago and has remained popular ever since. If you’re new to playing craps, there are online guides you can read to learn the game. Looking to play craps today? Check out our many online craps games today!
  7. Despite that it should, the expression 'cost you an arm and a leg' didn't start with medieval gambling. Even with the sometimes cutthroat play style of early games, and the presence of early cheaters, few limbs were lost outside of the Crusades. The early games of chance had surprisingly deep rules. Playing pieces were sometimes rudimentary and uneven, but were also varied and collected as works of art. Players invented and spread new games as they traveled for opportunities and war alike. Gambling has existed in many forms throughout time. Before the concept of money, favors, goods, and livestock would be wagered on contests of skill and events of chance. The so-called detriment to society rhetoric sprang up as early as the first Crusades and has found new avenues and strengths while never quite being convincing enough. Let's break down the appeal and the prohibitions against games of chance and how they spread and advanced through medieval society. Medieval Gambling Pros and Cons The idea fo betting on games of chance would take longer to develop as it would be a while before tools of chance took proper shape. Historians have found evidence of card games forming as early as the 10th century in China. Dice show some evidence of existing as far back as 2,000 BCE. However, newer archaeological digs in Egyptian tombs have moved that number as far back as 6,000 BCE. The basis for several notable dice games started in Greece around 400 BCE. Games of chance began to be noteworthy as civilizations tried to be, well, more civilized. this is where the compulsion for victory and the morality of an orderly society started to create an interesting dynamic that has fought back and forth for almost a thousand years. Image credit: Egypt Musem (egypt-museum.com) Image credit: Egypt Musem (egypt-museum.com) Appeal The allure of gambling is deeply rooted in the human psyche. Psychologists have done numerous studies on what is called "random reward reinforcement'. It's generally understood that people look for chances to succeed beyond their limitations. The idea of luck permeates many behaviors to our overall benefit. Hope is essential to getting your run of the mill peasants out fo bed each day and back to working int he fields. They can't be convinced that their lot is simply to toil day in and out and then die. They have to believe that they can overcome their fate and rise to a new station. Stories of the normals that became knights and landholders, the soldiers that won against the odds, and the kings that led nations to prosperity all find purchase because of the intermixing of luck and hope. Even in animal studies, it's shown that an animal would rather wait for a chance to win big than to work steadily at a sure thing. Getting what you deserve is fine, but getting more than you deserve activates powerful reward centers. In medieval times, the idea that you could win a week's wages in a few minutes was every bit as compelling as it is now. Of course, at the time, they didn't have handy guides that helped explain the rules and odds. It wasn't uncommon for a few 'local' and 'house' rules to stymie an otherwise successful player in the olden days. Knights and Nobles Gambling wasn't for everyone, though. Even during times when it was openly permitted, it was only permitted to a few. During the crusades of Richard I only those ranking at knight or above were allowed to wager on any game or event. Part of this was about morale and fighting ability. The other part was about ease of liquidity. A peasant or squire with a bunch of loose coin would more easily be considered a thief than a victor in a game. Nobility also had more leisure time, allowing them to engage in and better themselves at these games. Betting on sporting events, especially tennis, was popular throughout England and France. Prohibitions The ugly side of games of chance is that the chance to lose exists. In modern society, losses are easier to mitigate. For one thing, you can't really wager things that aren't money. It takes some doing to risk your livelihood. In the 1500s this wasn't the case. People who got on a losing streak could, and would, risk items precious to their survival such as their clothing, tools of trade, and objects that didn't strictly belong to them. Gambling also brought about unseemly events and people. These complaints mirror those made today, but with some key differences. One, we've dispensed with some of the moral hand-writing associated with liquor, sex, and other leisure activities being adjacent to each other. Two, sophisticated systems exist to prevent cheating on any side of a game and the existence of official establishments dry up the influence of unofficial ones. Like any prohibition, criminals found ways to exploit the rules and the people living with those rules. The Church The clergy were quick to want to see games of chance shut down for the usual reasons relating to the control of self and denial of temptation. They were also keen to curb gambling because it was a popular thing to do while IN church. Parishioners, which in those days stood as there were no pews, used the proximity to each other to bet on events and outcomes. Because they were supposed to attend church, it was not frowned upon when they congregated as it would otherwise have been. At the time, a man leaving the home to meet with others was always met with suspcisoun if not for a civic duty or work. Issues over gambling also created strain between the few competing religions at the time. In Spain, prohibitions against gambling were principally about preventing fights between Islamic law, Jewish law, and concepts of blasphemy. Soldiers Gambling was popular among soldiers who risked their lives each day. It was also a terrible idea that affected their battle readiness. Soldiers did not own much of what they had, their arms, armor, and even clothing and food were all rationed to them by the nobles they served. A soldier that lost his sword in a game of dice not only was useless in a battle but could be seen as a thief. mercenaries were not held by such laws, which is one reason that mercenary armies were so popular in the years between 1200 and 1600. Wagers Wagers in medieval times were sometimes about money but more often about goods. The nobles could afford to wager actual money, with famous wagers from King Henry VII to Jakes Haute over a tennis game totaling £10. A day's wage at the time was roughly four pence. This was the equivalent, then of nearly a year's wages over a single game. Tavern owners and innkeepers had carte blanche to run their establishment and could take anything they deemed reasonable for payment for room and board. This made them an essential part of medieval society. They worked as hotels, bankers, and pawnbrokers. Gamblers could offer their belongings to the house in exchange for a writ or promise of payment in dice and card games. This is both where 'the house' and 'losing your shirt' come from as terms. Still, games didn't have strict recordkeeping attached. It wasn't uncommon for a few math errors to occur. You wouldn't find anything then akin to today's progressive jackpot system found in slots and poker games. Board Games Though card and dice games are the ones most frequently thought of as games fo chance for gambling, board games had their role as well. In particular, chess and backgammon would see a lot of sets created and wagers made both by the players and onlookers. Since these were games of skill, the wagers were often low and consisted of heavily favoring local talent over unknown players. It's funny to think about, but there was a time that roving chess players were held in the same respect as old west poker players. Cards Playing cards have an interesting history of their own, especially as they moved from China to Europe around the late 14th century. In the days before the printing press, churches used idealized scenes in the forms of frescoes, tapestries, and stained-glass windows to tell Bible stories. Though paintings existed, playing cards were the first disposable art that anyone had access to. This allowed playing card designers to create and deliver messages that rivaled the power of the Church in terms of ideological expression and dissemination. It didn't help that the first playing cards were used for gaming and Tarot readings. Early decks also used very different suits then you see today. Ideas such as feathers, acorns, leaves, horns, hounds and more would appear. The traditional suits would not be standardized until around the 17th century in France. Cards were not cheap and some were inlaid with silver and gold paints and metal pigments. Card Games The high cost to create a deck of cards and their ability to be lost and damaged, destroying the set and requiring the entire thing to be replaced, left them initially in the hands of nobles. Prohibitions against card games rose quickly in cities, where idle card players clogged up eateries and loafed through the day. If you've ever wondered why there are so many card games with similar but slightly different rules, that owes to this time. When a magistrate would declare a game forbidden, the local card sharps would add or remove a rule and declare a new game. This loopholing added to the confusion that travelers would have in playing a game and led to certain types of widespread cheating. Dice Construction of dice was usually of bone with some artisans making them of ivory. Wooden dice were not trusted because it was well known that the weave of the wood could make it favor landing on one side favor over another. That said, it was common for cheats to load dice with drops of mercury. These were worked into bone dice to weigh them on an end, causing a high number to appear frequently. Dice were easy to make and available to many. Of course, these dice were also notoriously uneven and it was not uncommon to find one or another of a players 'lucky dice' to be poorly crafted or even repeat some numbers. Dice Games The popularity of dice games owed both to the ease of creating new dice and also the higher element of chance. Even with card games, a level of skill and strategy was available to hone the game towards a victor. Dice, in as much as they were crafted well, provide random results. Most early dice games were then about consistency. Pub dice games could be as simple as rolling two dice and the highest roll between a set of players was the winner to complicated trains of rolls that required players to roll specific numbers in a pattern. One such game was Hazard. This was a popular tavern game and one played with a small mat that players put bets on. This game morphed over time into modern-day Craps. Cheats and Punishments Cheating was always a risk with medieval games. It didn't matter if it was a street dice game or a group of friends at church. Cheaters were punished severely when found out but had many avenues to ply their trade. The game of thimble-rig, aka the shell game, was popular among swindlers that roamed from town to town taking the money of soldiers and nobles with more money than sense. Punishment for soldiers caught gambling was especially harsh, with three full days of lashing being an oft-cited course of action. Play Now It's been a nearly thousand-year road from the early designs of many of the dice and card games we see today. Medieval gambling represents a lot of the same promises and excitement of modern gaming but perhaps with more dire stakes. The biggest advantages in today's gaming are the ease and relative openness of play. You don't even have to leave the home to enjoy gaming at any number of online casinos that exist just a click away.
  8. Horse racing is one of the oldest and most widespread sports in the world. During a horse race, two or more horses ridden by jockeys compete by traveling a set distance as quickly as possible. For many spectators, the appeal of the sport is betting on the winner. Racing is one of the only forms of gambling that is legal in most of the world, and the sport's global market worth is around $115 billion. Origins of Thoroughbred Racing The practice of racing horses dates back as far as 4500 BC. Nomadic tribes in Central Asia were the first to domesticate horses, and it is likely that they also established the sport. Racing was an organized sport for all major civilizations in ancient history. For example, in ancient Greece, there were Olympic events for chariot and mounted racing horses. The specifics of racing in other ancient civilizations is not well established, but historians believe that it was a widespread practice. Modern racing dates back to the 12th century in England. Professionals rode horses that were up for sale during competitions to display their speed to potential buyers. English knights also returned with Arab horses after the Crusades, and over the next several hundred years, many Arab stallions were imported. Then, these horses were bred with English mares to produces horses with great speed and endurance. In the 1500s, Henry VIII imported horses from Spain and Italy as well. In the early 18th century, racing horses became a professional sport in England. Courses emerged across the country, and purses got larger and larger, which made owning and breeding racehorses more profitable. With so much money at stake, the sport also needed skilled horse jockeys, which provided prestigious career opportunities for working-class men. In 1750, the Jockey Club was formed to create rules around racing, establish sanctioned courses, and regulate breeding. The organization still regulates racing in England today. Racing in America British settlers brought thoroughbred racing to America in the 17th century. The first racetrack in America was built in 1665 in Long Island. Racing remained a well-liked sport, but it didn't achieve widespread popularity until after the Civil War. Perspectives on racing also changed during this time. Before the Civil War, stamina was the most important quality in a racehorse. After the war, speed was the goal. During industrial expansion in the late 1800s, racing and gambling became massively popular in the U.S. By 1890, there were 314 tracks in America. Racing grew quickly without any regulatory organization or governing body, which meant that many tracks became enmeshed in criminal activity. However, in 1894, the biggest track and stable owners formed the American Jockey Club and successfully eliminated most of the corruption. In the early 20th century, an antigambling sentiment was passed that almost completely destroyed the horse racing industry. By 1908, only 25 tracks remained. Then, when pari-mutuel wagering was introduced to the Kentucky Derby, many state governments legalized this form of gambling in exchange for a portion of the money wagered. This allowed more tracks to open, and by the time World War I ended, racing was once again popular in America. In 1951, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame opened in Saratoga Springs, New York. The museum honors the most successful horses, horse jockeys, trainers, and owners throughout history. The sport lost popularity again in the 1950s and 60s. In the 70s, it experienced another resurgence because of horses like Secretariat and Affirmed. These horses won the American Triple Crown by winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. Breeding and Studbooks Private studbooks had existed since early 1600s, but they were not all reliable. In the late 1700s, James Weatherby, the Jockey Club's secretary, was tasked with tracing the pedigree of every racehorse in England. In 1791, he published An Introduction to a General Stud Book. Subsequent volumes continue to be published in order to record the pedigree of the descendants of these horses. Today, all modern thoroughbreds in England can be traced back to one of three stallions: Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, or Godolphin Arabian. These three horses are known as the foundation sires. The American Stud Book was first published in 1868 and included foals from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Many other countries have their own studbooks to trace the lineage of their thoroughbreds. The English and American studbooks had reciprocity until 1913, which was when the English Jockey Club passed the Jersey Act, disqualifying many thoroughbreds that were bred outside of England and Ireland. This was done to protect the British thoroughbred horses from American horses' sprinting blood. However, when several French horses with American ancestry had victories in English races, the English Jockey Club rescinded the Jersey Act. Famous Horses There have been numerous famous race horses throughout history. Here are just a few of history's most notable horses: Kincsem: The mare Kincsem was foaled in 1874 in Hungary. She had an undefeated career for four seasons and won races in Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, and the U.K. Several famous racehorses are descendants of Kincsem. Man O' War: Man O' War was foaled in 1917 in Kentucky. Also known as Big Red, he won 20 out of the 21 races he ran. His only defeat happened during a restart where he was not given enough time to re-position before the race began. Seabiscuit: Seabiscuit was foaled in 1933 in Kentucky. He lost his first 17 races but experienced a major improvement under a new trainer. After sustaining an injury, he made a miraculous comeback and won in 1939, which made him a symbol of hope for Americans during the Great Depression. Arkle: Foaled in 1957 in Ireland, Arkle is considered by most to be the greatest steeplechase horse in history. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1964, 1965, and 1966, and he won the Irish Grand National in 1964. Secretariat: Secretariat is widely regarded as the greatest race horse of all time. He was foaled in 1970 in Virginia and was the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 25 years. In 1973, he won the Belmont Stakes in what is considered one of the best rides ever completed. Racing and Betting Today From the 1980s to today, racing has gradually declined in popularity in the United States, most likely because there has not been another Triple Crown winner. About half of states in the U.S. have thoroughbred tracks today. State racing commissions now have the sole authority to grant racing dates and to license the participants. They share the power to appoint officials and regulate racing rules with the American Jockey Club. However, the horses, jockeys, and trainers are all independent contractors. Wagering is one of the biggest appeals of racing and is likely the reason the sport has lasted for so long. American tracks all use a pari-mutuel wagering system, which was created during the late 1800s. Under this system, a fixed percentage of the total wager, typically between 14 and 25 percent, is removed for taxes, track costs, and racing purses. The remainder is divided by the number of correct wagers to calculate the payoff. The odds are regularly calculated and posted on the toteboard during the wagering period before the race. For example, if the odds are three to one, the bettor receives $3 for every $1 wagered if their bet was correct. The three typical pools are win, place, and show. A win occurs when the horse finishes first, a place occurs when the horse finishes first or second, and a show occurs when the horse finishes first, second, or third. Bettors can also wager on a daily double, which involves selecting the winners of two consecutive races. Another popular wager is the exacta, which is a bet on the first and second place winners of one race in the correct order. The quiniela is also a bet on the first and second place winners, but they do not have to be in the right order. Although racing is not as popular today in America as it used to be, it is still a well-known spectator sport and form of gambling. With such a long, rich history, thoroughbred racing will likely continue to be a massive industry for the foreseeable future.
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