How gambling got started
Gambling has been part of human society for a long time. Most gambling games originate in Europe and China. Games like Craps, Baccarat, Roulette, and Blackjack date back from different areas in Europe. Keno, that is very popular nowadays, is based on an ancient Chinese lottery game. Then you also have Pai Gow Poker, a hybrid between Pai Gow and Poker.
But before we started creating actual games gambling took a much simpler form. Sometimes gambling was used to decide territory. Further along though certain states started placing bans on gambling. For example in the middle ages a lot of countries banned gambling for their soldiers because they were so wrapped up in it that they would ignore their actual duties.
The first actual casino appeared in 1638 in Venice. They allowed this in order to control unorganized gambling during the town’s carnival period. It was an interesting time when philosophy, mathematics and science were truly taking off. This led to many great minds becoming very invested in gambling. For example Blaise Pascal invented roulette. But most importantly we developed the “probability theory” which allows us to have Blackjack strategy and card-counting basics nowadays.
In the 18th and 19th centuries it became fairly popular to play the lottery. More and more lotteries started being organized, most of them used by the states who were organizing them to gather money. In some situations they were dedicated to gathering money for the war effort. The very first English settlement on US soil was funded by a lottery.
So there you have it, a fairly large portion of our history has been shaped by gambling. Be it cavemen throwing rudimentary dice made out of bone in a cave somewhere or a pompous prince playing Roulette in some casino in the 18th century, gambling is so old we can’t really estimate when or why it started.