A history of betting

Humans have always been competitive and where there’s competition there’s betting. Wars can be regarded as betting on a grand scale as entire kingdoms were lost or won based on strategy and risk. Since the beginning of humanity there has always been some form of betting, with every past major civilization leaving records of some form of gambling. There is archaeological evidence of astragli dice that date back 40 000 years.

Back in the 5th century BC, cockfighting was one of the most common forms of gambling and games that pitted humans against animals were also popular. Competitions were frequently organised just so that royalty and wealthy citizens could place bets. By the late 16th century, gambling halls had appeared and soon afterwards the first horse racing events took place. For many centuries, betting occurred amongst friends and family but when betting shops opened it meant that anyone could place a bet.

In 1994, Antigua and Barbuda passed a gambling licence law which marked the start of the online gambling industry. A year later Microgaming introduced software for online casinos and, with the explosion of the Internet, the gambling industry would never be the same again. At the end of that decade bookmakers appeared on the Internet and this allowed people to place bets from anywhere, at any time. In 1996 there were only 15 gambling websites: today it’s a multi-billion dollar industry.

Part of the appeal of online betting is that beginners have step-by-step guides on how to place bets and they’re offered lucrative incentives and welcome bonuses for signing up, while regular patrons are rewarded for their loyalty. Websites like Casino Mate and River Nile Casino offer a variety of games, banking services and boast independently audited safety certification.  Classic sports are the most common online bets today but you can place a wager on just about anything from celebrity weddings and divorces to guessing who a country’s next president is going to be.