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CASINO HISTORY

Betting games have been played since the earliest time in virtually all cultures. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, people used various devices to bet on outcome of random events. Although the Greeks had a profound understanding of mathematics, they had no concept of probability, and assumed that the outcome of chance was due to the will of the gods. It was not until many centuries later that French mathematicians Pierre de Fermat and Blaise Pascal explored the mathematics of gambling, leading to the formulation of Pascals theory of probability in1654.

The first recorded betting games were played with marked disks or bones ( the forerunners of dice ) , and spinning wheels or shields. Playing cards only came later , after the invention of paper. These three types of devices provided the basic from which modern casino games have evolved.

FROM BONES TO COINS
Dice games have existed in one form or another for over 2000 years and were originally played with dice fashioned from the knucklebones of sheep. The Romans were fervent gamblers, and gaming scenes are depicted in wall drawing in Pompeii. Some cube-shaped dice, carved from bone, were used with markings on all six sides, much like modern version, while other dice had marks on just four sides. A variety of games were played, some using two dice, other using three. As the Romans conquered Europe, their games traveled with them and changed under the influence of different cultures. By the 18th and 19th centuries a dice game called Hazard had become popular in England, and was played by the aristocracy in private gambling houses. The lowest possible score was a pair of ones-known as crabs. When the game was introduced to France, the word crabs was misinterpreted as "craps", giving one of the most popular casino games its name. European settlers took the game with them to America, where it was simplified and evolved into the game that is now played in casinos around the world. Two-up is another modern game that has its origins in Romans times, when coin tossing was a popular street game. Players would bet on whether the coin would land on heads or ships (tails). In England this developed into pitch and toss, using two pennies. When Australia was settled, pitch and toss continued to be played by the new immigrants. The game was popular with Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) soldiers during World War 1, when it became known as two-up. In Australia it become traditional to play two-up on Anzac Day.

SPINNING WHEELS
Soldiers in ancient Greece invented a game using a shield, which was spun on the top of a spear. They marked section on the shield and placed bets on where the shield would stop. The Romans played similar games, using spinning chariot wheels. These evolved into the popular fairground wheel of fortune, the forerunner of today casino game of big wheel six. The origins of roulette are not well documented. French mathematician Blaise Pascal is often credited with inventing the roulette wheels as a result of his experiment with perpetual motion machines. One theory is that it derived from old English game called roll it. A game called even-odd, which is played on spinning, is another contender; however, it is most likely that roulette evolved over time from a combination of games. In 1842, Frenchmen Francois and Louis Blanc devised roulette with a single zero.

Gaming was illegal in France at that time, but the new version was soon introduced in Hamburg, Germany, where it replaced an earlier version of roulette with two zero. When gaming started in Monte Carlo, Francois and his son, Camille, introduced their version using one zero and a haphazard arrangement of numbers, which become extremely popular in European casinos where it still played today. In the early 1800s the two zero version of roulette arrived in America. It flourished in saloons of the Old West during the California gold rush and Nevada silver era, when fortunes would be won or lost on the spin of the wheel. In America roulette, the numbers on the wheel are arranged in a more random fashion than is the case in Europe. The significance of the extra zero is that it gives the house (the casino) a larger advantage, equivalent to twice that on the single-zero European wheel. Modern American casinos play both versions of the game. Keno, the casino version of lotto, originated in China nearly 2000 years ago when Cheung Heung devised a lottery as way of raising founds for his provinces army. This proved to be huge success and even funded the building of the Great Wall of China. Lotteries were brought to America in the 1800s by thousands of Chinese immigrants who worked in the mines and on the railroads. With the establishment of Las Vegas, the game was quickly adapted for casino play. Originally known as Chinese lottery, casinos throughout the world now operate keno games.