The World’s Oldest Casino Games

People have been gambling for centuries. The lure is almost as old as we are! And while casinos didn’t exist as we know them today for a long time, gambling establishments of some kind have existed since ancient times.


A reference to the game we know today as 21 can be found in a Miguel de Cervantes novela written in the early 1600s, so Blackjack has probably been around for a while before the 17th century, originating in Spain or thereabouts.

It was once it arrived in North America that it started being adapted and changed to keep players interested. One of the most popular ways to do this was to give the card combination of a black Jack and the Ace of Spades a special bonus. Although it isn’t around anymore, the name stuck, and that’s how it’s still referred to.


There are many games involving dice, especially Craps, and Sophocles, a Greek poet active between 496 BCE and 406 BCE, claims they were invented in Ancient Greece. If that’s true, dice games can be traced back to around 400BCE!

Evidence has also been uncovered that dice were being used as far back as 6 000BCE by archaeologists, with dice estimated to be as old as 4 000 years being found in Egypt. Craps is very common these days and is a variation of Hazard, a game that originated in London. It wasn’t until it reached New Orleans in the United States, however, that it evolved into the game still being played today.

It’s quite strange to think of enjoying a game, or pastime in the form of the sportsbetting offered at betting sites in NZ, online that was enjoyed by our ancestors so long ago.


The basics of the game we know as Keno is said to have been invented when the Great Wall of China was being built and was actually conceived as a way to help pay for it. This could be a legend, but if it’s not, then this takes Keno back to the 7 BCE. It only came to the Western World in the 19th century, however, travelling with Chinese immigrants as they made their way to The New World.


Although The Devil’s Game as we know it sprung out of France in the 18th century, it was actually conceived of long before that, in the 17th by a physicist named Blaise Pascal. He was trying to create a perpetual motion machine, a device that would eternally spin of its own volition. And although his machine didn’t work, the foundations for the Roulette wheel were created.

We see an early version of it, called Roly-Poly, being enjoyed in the 1720s and it was so popular that it eventually got banned in Britain by 1739. By the end of the 18th century, the Roulette wheel we know now had taken shape and was beginning to appear in establishments across France.

The numbers on the wheel were lifted from a French game called Biribi, which can be described as a sort of low-stakes Lotto.