The gambling industry is a multi-billion dollar market which spans the globe. The gambling landscape of today is made up of thousands of operators, from palatial, extravagant land-based casinos to the best online mobile casinos that can be accessed via smartphone, and just about everything in between.
But how much do we really know about this industry?
Here are 20 fun and interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about gambling:
- Gambling can trace its roots back to the dawn of civilization, with the earliest evidence of gambling dating back to Ancient China in 2300BC.
- Keno was invented in China between 205 and 187BC. The Great Wall of China which spans over 21,196 kilometres and was constructed over a period of 2000 years, was largely financed from funds derived from keno.
- Ever wondered why roulette is also known as the Devil’s Game? If you add up all the numbers from 1 to 36 on the roulette wheel, you’ll get a sum of 666. This three-digit number is known as the Number of the Beast and is commonly associated with Satan.
- There 2,598,960 unique possible poker 5-card hands with a 52-card deck.
- The odds of getting a Royal Flush in poker is 1 in 649,740.
- Blackjack was first called “vingt-et-un”, which is the French word for 21.
- Former U.S. president, Richard Nixon funded his 1946 congressional election campaign with money he had won as a sailor playing poker during World War 2.
- The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe is the only modern Head of State to have won a lottery. He won a private lottery in 2000, worth 100,000 Zimbabwean dollars (ZWD), which was valued around US$2,600 at the time.
- The first country to have passed legislation to allow licensing for online casinos was Antigua, which launched the first online casino in 1996 and featured 18 online casino games.
- It is illegal for citizens of Monaco to gamble at the historic Monte Carlo Casino.
- The first casino licence in Las Vegas was issued to a woman named Mayme Stocker in 1920.
- The title of biggest gambling city in the world belongs to Macau. It only takes the city one day to bet the same amount of money that it takes the gamblers of Vegas to bet in a week.
- Most major land-based casinos have a layout that resembles a maze. This is intentionally designed to get patrons lost so that they can continue gambling.
- Casinos rarely feature clocks and windows, so that gamblers lose track of time.
- The lighting in casinos is designed to resemble that of your living room, with the intention of making you feel comfortable and calm.
- John Montagu, also known as the 4th Earl of Sandwich is said to have invented the sandwich while playing cards. Frustrated by having to interrupt his game by being served food which required him to use both hands, he ordered his meals to be served between two slices of bread instead.
- 68% of all visitors to Las Vegas spend their time and money playing slots.
- The largest progressive jackpot won on a slot machine happened in March 2003 and was worth US$39,713,982.25.
- The first slot machine was invented in San Francisco by a mechanic named Charles Fey in 1895.
- FedEx creator, Fred Smith saved his struggling company by gambling in Las Vegas. In 1973 he won US$27,000 in blackjack, using the company’s last US$5,000- enough to keep his business afloat in its infancy.