The World’s Oldest Gambling Games

The World’s Oldest Gambling Games

Although even the most dedicated player would not necessarily recognise some of the games played by our ancient forefathers, people have been enjoying gambling for centuries. It would actually be a safe bet to say that this pastime is as old as civilisation itself.

Casinos as we know them today haven’t existed since the dawn of time, but it doesn’t take a huge leap to imagine that there were places that people met to enjoy playing gambling games for a large part of our history.

The oldest casino in the world is the Casino di Venezia, which opened in 1638. Let’s have a look at the types of games being played in this incredible venue back in the day.


With so many games involving dice, including Chuck-a-Luck, Craps, Hazard, Klondike, and Sic Bo, its natural that these humble cubes should lead the list of The World’s Oldest Gambling Games.

Sophocles, one of the greatest Athenian tragedians who lived during Greece’s Classical Period, 400 BC to 500 BC, claims that his countrymen invented dice. This dates them back more than 2000 years!


Keno made its debut at roughly the same time as construction on the Great Wall of China began, in 220 BC. It’s said that it was conceived as a way to fund the build and it then travelled through to the West along with the Chinese immigrants who made the move during the 19th century.

This ages the game to roughly 2000 years old as well, strange when you consider that, these days, you can use your online casino Welcome Bonus to enjoy Keno on your smartphone, desktop, or tablet.


The earliest reference to the game we know as Blackjack is in a book by Miguel de Cervantes, an iconic Spanish author. In a short story entitled NovelasEjemplares, two cheats are discussed, experts at rigging games to their advantage. This story was written in the 1600s, which means that readers would already have been familiar with a form of the Blackjack we play today by then.


We have a 17th Century physicist named Blaise Pascal to thank for the invention of The Devil’s Game. While it’s changed over time, the wheel that plays the starring role in Roulette came to be as a result of Pascal’s failed attempts to create a perpetual motion machine.


Baccarat is a relative newcomer to the world of casino games. While it’s thought to have originated in 14th century Italy, it only became a popular choice for players much later, in the mid-1900s.

Continuing Ancient Traditions

Dice-based games and Keno are likely the oldest ones we still play today, seeing that their invention predates most other equipment. The most notable addition in recent years has to be slots, with Video Poker coming in at second place.

It’s strange to think that, when you make the Pass Line Bet in a Craps game or choose your lucky numbers in Keno, that you’re taking part in a long history of enjoyment that stretches back to ancient man.

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