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Saturday, 21 March 2015



England's King Henry VIII lost £3,250 gambling in just two years – that's the equivalent of £1.5 million today.

The first legislation to prohibit gambling was enacted by The Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1660. It outlawed the possession of cards, dice, and gaming tables.

In eighteenth-century English gambling dens, there was an employee whose only job was to swallow the dice if there was a police raid.

John Montagu, The Fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718 – 1792), was a notorious gambler, often going from pub to pub in London on gambling marathons. To satisfy his hunger, while continuing to gamble, he ordered roast beef between pieces of bread for a snack while he was at the gaming tables; it allowed him to keep one hand free to play while he ate. This became known as the “sandwich”.

As bowling's popularity grew in the early 19th century, betting on the sport arose. Disapproval of gambling led to a ban on ninepins by Connecticut and New York. A tenth pin was added to the game in 1842 - probably as a ruse to avoid the ban.

In 1864 Fyodor Dostoyevsky sold all the rights of present and future writings to his publisher, Stellovsky and set off for Wiesbaden with his "can't lose" system for winning at roulette. He lost everything.

The first slot machine was built in 1899, by Charles Fey. He was a car mechanic who wanted to entertain his customers with something interesting while they waited for work to be completed.

The Apache Chieftain, Geronimo (1827-1909), became a member of the Dutch Reformed Church in his later years. Eventually the Church expelled him for gambling.

On September 1, 1960, the British government gave the go-ahead for betting shops to open and slot machines to be installed in pubs in the UK. The following year, bookmakers were opening at a rate of 100 a week and there were 1,000 casinos within the first five years.


Casino revenues in Macau, the semi-autonomous administrative region of China, surpassed those of Vegas years ago. Gambling turnover in Macau is now five times that of Vegas annually, according to The New Yorker.

South Korea has what is known as the ‘Cinderella Law’ which bans youngster under 16 from online gaming between midnight and 6 am.

All gambling in Finland is controlled by the government, and all of the profits go to charity.

6 out of 10 Americans believe that gambling is “morally acceptable” behaviour.

Australians are the heaviest gamblers in the world - an estimated 82% of Australians bet.

Sources Daily Mail, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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