Gambling has always been a provocative means of entertainment. A night at the tables or the proper bet may be a life-changing event. Fortunes are decided, that is why it is no wonder that the gambling sensation ignites curiosity.
Today I want to share some of the most inconceivable gambling facts about which you may not have heard.
Here are 7 gambling facts that will blow your mind and quite possibly your socks off:
1 – Ancient Peoples Used Dice Games to Distribute Justice
Historians have long known that dice games are some of the oldest forms of gambling games in existence. For thousands of years, dice were made from various materials; archeologists have uncovered ancient gaming pieces made from bone, wood, rock and other such materials found in nature.
However, nobody can pinpoint the original purpose of the dice. Experts claim that ancient cultures believed gods controlled the results of the dice throws and have even been able to prove that dice were not just intended for gambling.
In fact, “Dike,” the goddess of justice in Greek Mythology, is where the word dice is thought to have originated.
Ancient peoples and tribal cultures used various forms of dice to predict fortunes, bless new members of the family, and to condemn criminals.
2 – FedEx Founder Saved the Company by Gambling
In its early days, FedEx wasn’t the giant everyone knows today. Quite the contrary, the company was struggling to find a foothold in 1973. That’s when the founder, Frederic Smith, decided to put the fate of the company in the cards. He flew to Las Vegas with $5,000 the company had at the time and won over $27,000 playing blackjack.
Now, I’m not saying this was a smart investment. I certainly wouldn’t encourage you to put an entire business on one hand of blackjack.
However, we must appreciate that Smith was bold and took a huge risk that fortunately paid off. Thanks to the winnings, the company recovered and managed to last long enough to accrue $11 Million and eventually start earning profits three years later.
3 – Casino Capitalist Steve Wynn and the “$40 Million Dollar Elbow”
Las Vegas tycoon and casino giant Steve Wynn, who helped shape the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s with his posh mega-casinos, has recently come under fire for alleged misconduct by various people and employees. Despite the recent accusations, this is not the first time that Wynn has made headlines for someting other than for the launch of a new casino.
Although technically this might not fall under the category of crazy facts about gambling, the story does involve a casino giant, simply put, which is too good to pass up.
Back in 2006, Wynn, who is an avid art collector, accidentally damaged a seminal painting by Pablo Picasso known as “Le Reve” – the Dream.
After immediately selling the painting for a record-setting $139 million to close friend and hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, Wynn, while proudly showing off his painting to friends, managed to accidentally put his elbow through the canvas.
Realizing what he had done, a shocked Wynn immediately called for the painting’s restoration, and his blunder came to be known as the “$40 million elbow”. That’s how much it cost him to have it restored.
Don’t feel too bad for Wynn, though — he managed to renegotiate a deal and sold the painting for another record-breaking $155 million in 2013, one of the largest amounts ever fetched for a Picasso, or any painting for that matter.
4 – Craps Wasn’t Always Craps, Ribbit
No matter what you think of the actual game, there’s no denying that the name “craps” is a bit weird. However, the popular dice game was known under a different name before the colonization of the United States.
What was originally hazzard eventually became craps after the French and English settlers brought the game to the Americas. The name has roots in French and is derived from the word crapaud, which translates to “toad.”
Although there’s no way to confirm the hypothesis, most people believe that “toad” referred to the way players used to squat down while throwing dice. Craps (Hazzard) dates back all the way to the crusades, according to historians.
As you can imagine, the table we see in casinos today was the invention of the 20th century. Thus, the name, ridiculous as it may be, does make sense.
5 – The Sandwich Was Invented in a Casino
When you have a name as cool as John Montagu “the fourth Earl of Sandwich”, you are sure to go down in history as having accomplished something. Montagu was a huge gambler, so much so that he never enjoyed interrupting his long gambling sessions for anything, not eating or so much as bathroom breaks.
So instead, in 1765, when Montagu was in one of his extra-extended card game sessions, he told his servants he had an appetite. Instead of them bringing him a meal that required two hands to eat, Montagu requested some meat between wo slices of bread, so that he could eat and play at the same time. Thus, the sandwich was born!
Some argue the validity of the Earl’s story, but historians cannot argue the fact that the name for the tasty morsel stuck.
Not long after, all of Europe was craving these sandwiches! While forms of meat in bread have been enjoyed for centuries, no one has come up with a name as cool as “Ol’ Gambling Earl”.
6 – Underground Craps Players Used to Swallow Their Dice
This one’s my favorite:
Ever wondered where the term “no dice” comes from?
The term originates from the early 20th century United States when gambling was very much illegal in most states.
However, just because you couldn’t legally host casino-style games, it doesn’t mean people weren’t playing them.
In fact, craps was one of the most popular games back then. Underground games were pretty common, as gamblers tried to hide their activity from the authorities. On the other hand, the police were continuously trying to root out these gambling rings.
Craps players would swallow the dice to avoid incarceration during a police raid. Whether it’s bold or dangerous is up to you to decide. However, it’s evident that most people considered swallowing dice a better alternative than going to prison. Since no court could convict anyone without physical proof, the phrase “no dice — no conviction” quickly caught on.
7 – You Can Voluntarily Ban Yourself from a Casino
Problem gambling is a real thing, and I always encourage players to gamble responsibly. After all, as a source of entertainment, gambling at online casinos for real money or at your local brick-and-mortar can be a lot of fun.
However, as an interesting gambling fact, few might not know that in some states/countries, problem gamblers can decide to ban themselves from a casino. In extreme cases, when problem gamblers feel that gambling is ruining their lives, the way to help overcome addiction, in addition to seeking professional help, is by banning themselves from gaming establishments.
This is possible in several states throughout the U.S., whereby an enforced self-ban makes it a crime to step foot inside a casino after a self-ban has been established. For instance, the state of Ohio has a law known as “voluntary exclusion”, where problem gamblers can choose to ban themselves from all casinos within the state for a year, five years, or for life.
However, if a player does choose a lifetime ban, it is irreversible, so they must be sure of their decision.
Always gamble responsibly.
Don’t feel embarrassed if your brain is reeling to process these incredible but true facts. I couldn’t believe some of them myself. Let’s not forget, I promised 7 Gambling Facts that Will Blow Your Mind.
Not 7 things about gambling your mother-in-law doesn’t know.
I hope you enjoyed my little window into the history and mystery of gambling. I’m sure you can see why there is so much allure and intrigue that surrounds all manners of gambling.
Maybe one day Lady Luck will shine on you and you’ll be a first-hand account of a gambling fact that will blow your friends and family’s minds.