Gambling in Ancient Rome
When you think of gambling the mind immediately runs to modern online casinos , safe and professional platforms that allow players to spend some pleasant hours in a digital context of fun.
However, games of chance have a much more remote origin in time and, indeed, it is not wrong to say that already in the classical era - and in ancient Rome in particular - there were houses that were direct precursors of modern casinos.
What did the ancients play?
Ancient nuts (bone)
Evidently, to trace a common thread between ancient and contemporary games, it takes a bit of imagination.
For example, one of the most popular gambling games in Roman times was the par impar , equivalent to modern even or odd.
A player hid small objects in his fist (usually peanuts or pebbles) and the opponent had to guess if the number was odd or even.
Those who watched the game could bet on the amount of items the player was holding.
The mechanism of capita aut navia is also similar , the new heads or tails , while the functioning of the knucklebone game was a little more complex , small cube-shaped ossicles on which the numbers were engraved.
Players had to guess the total for each pitch, after the pitcher had spun them in the fritilus , a cup that was used to reassure bettors about the absence of fraud.
However, the most popular game was probably dice , the tesserae : marked on six sides by numbers, they were thrown on a flat surface in an attempt to guess the outcome of the score.
Gambling in the Middle Ages
Over the centuries gambling had alternating fortunes and various declinations .
In the Middle Ages, for example, it was customary to spend time in barrels, mostly indoor places, where you could bet money on some games that are fairly simple in their basic mechanism.
Up to this point, however, gambling had no positive visibility.
In fact, it was practiced in not very refined places, those taberne where the game alternated with prostitution being considered a place of ill repute, where fights and fraud were certainly not rare.
Things gradually changed in the second half of the Middle Ages, with the introduction of the aforementioned baratteries.
In these public gambling dens , officially recognized and taxed by the authorities, you could play games with money lawfully.
In a second moment, however, their fate was very similar to that of the tabernas.
Over the years, in fact, the barterers also ended up managing local prostitution and grew in influence and relevance to the point of becoming opposed by local lords, who in most cases opted for their definitive closure.
In any case, in a lawful or clandestine way, the Middle Ages was a period of widespread use of many games of chance.
Some of them were an evolution of those already encountered in the classical era, while others were typical inventions of this period.
In addition to dice, in the Middle Ages it was also often played with boards.
Probably the best known game in this area was Duodecim Scripta.
A platform created specifically for this game was used and each player was assigned either white or black tokens.
At this point the dice were rolled to understand how to move the pawns forward and thus be able to conquer those of the opposing player.
The first casino in Venice
However, if gambling has existed since ancient Rome, to witness the birth of the first real casinos we must wait until the 17th century and the Republic of Venice.
It was in the Serenissima, in 1638, that the first gambling house was built, the Ridotto di San Moisè , considered to be the first casino in the world to date.
From that moment on, the phenomenon of casinos, or of the reduced, spread rapidly throughout the city.
These were small houses used as meeting places, where Venetians could play, dance and participate in other social events.
Following the example of Venice:the spread of casinos
Roulette, a classic casino game
To get to the word “casino” that we use today, we have to move instead between 1700 and 1800.
In fact, in this century, gambling houses became famous throughout Europe and some important realities, such as the renowned Monte Carlo casino, were born in this period, developing a decidedly more "modern" aspect, with lush buildings where the rich bourgeois gathered to gamble.
Overseas things took an extra couple of centuries to develop.
If the reader has ever watched a western, in fact, he will certainly have the mental image of "saloons" in his head and cowboys sweaty and angry playing cards, guns, belts and any money in your pocket.
This was in fact the basic place:small bars and tavernas.
To see the first American casino we have to wait until 1901, the year in which a group of workers intent on laying railway tracks in Las Vegas faced the need to have a meeting place in which to play cards and relax.
Even though the United States did everything to curb and ban gambling and casinos, after the first three decades of the 1900s, clandestine gambling houses were now too many and too popular, especially in Las Vegas , forcing Nevada to legalize gambling and finally see the birth of the first resort dedicated to gambling:El Rancho Vegas.
The history of American casinos is then intertwined with that of "gangsters" and organized crime, a phenomenon that was eradicated by the large investments of companies that, from 1960 onwards, converted more and more Las Vegas structures into modern casinos.
Casinos in the modern era
From Venice to the rest of the world the step was not short, but continuous, so much so that, after all, today it is possible to find a casino in all the main cities of the world.
However, there has been a singular change brought about precisely by the change in perspective that gambling has undergone over time.
If in the past betting money was an activity to be condemned and where the underworld always took most of the control by associating prostitution and illegality of various kinds, later it was the large companies that were concerned with creating spaces exclusively dedicated to gambling, legally.
If today in Montecarlo we find the original casino of 1863, both in the United States and in the Middle East and elsewhere the conception of the casino as a place to play is similar, but with very different nuances and a unique history.
Let's take Macau for example, today a true temple of gambling modern.
It has undoubtedly suffered the influence of having been in the past (until 1999) a Portuguese colony, the same people who created the famous casino Estoril in 1916.
To think that Macau today is a Special Administrative Region of China, which prohibits online gambling, is certainly curious!
Regarding the consecration of online casinos finally, as a virtual meeting place for gambling enthusiasts, 1994 will mark the birth of the first software for online gambling by Microgaming.
From Asia to Europe, up to the screens of our small provincial room, now playing online in a casino full of different types of bets is always easier and, if we want, there are still the most renowned buildings waiting for us!
Gambling today:the advent of the Internet and online casinos
The further evolution of casinos was therefore the dematerialization of the structures of game .
In fact, it is now possible to digitally enter a real casino without leaving home.
Your notebook opens or an app on the tablet or smartphone and that's it.
But how does the legal sector work ?
After a few years of “Far West” (to stay on the western theme ) made up of online scams and little regulation, national licenses have largely replaced international ones.
In Italy, operators who intend to offer their remote gaming services to customers must obtain certification from ADM, the authority national governing the game and granting the necessary license to operate only if certain strict requirements are met.
Obtaining the certificate is a long and difficult (and expensive) process.
Numerous checks are made which have, in part, solved the payout problem falsified and bad practices (at least some).
Until before the involvement of the former AAMS in fact, the only source for knowing which casinos their players respected were the review sites.
To date, they still remain extremely important to report incorrect behavior and, above all, to extricate themselves from the sea of names, offers and promotions, indicating which are the most advantageous and interesting.
Currently in Italy only casinos with ADM license are legal , although it is still possible to play on sites without it, as long as you accept the risks.
ADM licenses are publicly available on the Agency's website.
Just enter the license number to verify its existence.
Who wants to try their luck?
There are realities like Planetwin365 casino that, thanks to the continuous positive reviews over the years, it has gained a large following and has become a benchmark for gambling online.
Who knows what the first Venetians would do when seeing our world today, ostregheta ! ( Photo from :storicang.it, labellarivolazione.it, taccuinigastrosofici.it, leccenews24.it, slot-mania.it and gamelegends.it).