The Ultimate Timeline of the History of Gambling

Explore the complete history of gambling and discover the remarkable stories, pivotal moments, and transformative advancements that have defined the evolution of gambling.

Who invented gambling? Who invented casinos? How old is gambling? How did gambling start? If you've ever wondered about the answers to any of these questions, you've come to the right place. This article will give you a detailed overview of the history of gambling, and it will be the comprehensive gambling introduction you are looking for.

Covering all the important eras, including gambling in B.C., ancient gambling games, gambling in the US, as well as the history of online gambling, this piece is your ultimate guide to gambling through the ages.

Gambling in B.C.

Pinpointing a single moment where the history of gambling began is an impossible task. However, given the inherent nature of humans – modern or prehistoric – to take risks and look for rewards, historians assume that gambling is as old as humanity itself.

In an era where very few opportunities for entertainment existed, it comes as no surprise that our ancestors came up with very clever ways to pass the long nights and cold winters. Gambling is a type of activity in which a clear distinction between the winner and the loser can be made, making it a perfect activity for prehistoric times, during which fights for dominance, power and victory were prominent.

Gambling quickly became the go-to activity to do while indulging in alcohol and piles of food, and emperors were especially notorious for spending their fortunes on everyone's new favorite pastime. And once the first coins started to be minted in Lydia (modern Turkey), gambling got a lot more exciting.

The anticipation just before the outcome was revealed, the release of dopamine making them want to play again and again... when you think about it, the prehistoric men were not that different from us after all. Gambling plays a big part in understanding ancient societies, as no matter which point in the history of humanity you point to, you're bound to find some evidence of gambling connected with it.

3000 B.C.
The earliest evidence of dice is found inside an Egyptian tomb. Evidence also suggests that a six-sided dice was used around this time in Mesopotamia.
1000 B.C.
Gambling houses become a popular entertainment activity for people, and the emperors are often blowing public resources on gambling and drinking.
Dice players in Pompeii
600 B.C.
The first coins start to be minted in Lydia, located in modern-day Turkey. This is the beginning of using coins for gambling.
Egyptian coins

Evolution of Gambling in the Early Centuries

Given that the first Olympics (that we know of) were held in year 776, making them almost 1,300 years old, it isn't very surprising to know that gambling was already widespread around that time – and not only in Ancient Greece. By the 8th century, Roman gladiators were already fighting for their lives for centuries, and betting on the winner has become as common as putting on one's clothes in the morning.

But betting on winners and playing dice was soon supplemented by another exciting invention: cards. The people didn't know it then, but this was a significant moment in the history of gambling. Today, cards are an essential part of the majority of popular casino games, and it's hard to imagine gambling without them.

It was during this time that the first versions of some of the most common casino games like baccarat, blackjack and craps were created. However, it would still be a long time before their ultimate versions (like we know them today) would be born.

Games of chance would also become very popular with sailors in desperate need of passing the long days on the sea, and due to the now widespread and mainstream use of gambling, first laws and regulations around gambling start to appear – many of them making gambling completely illegal.

5th century
A horse racing-themed gambling machine is used for gambling in Constantinople. People are betting on which ball makes its way from the top of the machine to the bottom the fastest. The machine features many hidden paths inside it, making guessing solely dependable on chance.
Gambling machine
9th century
The first evidence of cards is found in Ancient China. In one of his works, a Chinese writer said Princess Tong Cheng of the Tang dynasty played the "leaf game."
14th century
A dice game called Hazard is mentioned in Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories written by the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer. The game's rather complicated rules were simplified in the 19th century, creating what we now know as the game of craps.
Hazard Board Game
15th century
The first mentions of baccarat are recorded. The origin of the game is up to many debates, but the majority of sources agree that the game was invented in Italy, with "baccara" meaning "zero" in Italian.
The first known predecessor of blackjack, Spanish Trente-un (31), is mentioned by a priest. The game was later also referenced by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in 1570. Several earlier versions of blackjack, such as French Quinze (15) and Italian Sette e Mezzo (7 1⁄2), were also played before the blackjack as we know developed from Vingt-et-un (21), which gained big popularity in the 18th century.
16th century
Liber de Ludo Aleae ("Book on Games of Chance") is written. The book is often cited as one of the pillars of probability theory. Besides that, it's considered to be one of the earliest gambling manuals of its kind.
The Unlawful Games Act 1541 makes gambling in England essentially illegal. King Henry VIII was afraid that sports and games such as bowls, tennis, dice, and cards were diverting the attention of the male population from their military-related duties, and the Act was a result of those fears. Several parts of this act were in force until the 1845 Gaming Act, while the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act revised the rest of them.

Introduction of Casinos and New Casino Games

Due to the rapid growth of the gambling industry in the early centuries, it was only a matter of time until casino establishments started to open their doors to the public. However, the transition from establishments that featured a gambling area to actual casinos was not an instant one – it took several decades.

At the same time, new casino games were being created on a regular basis, and two of them started to really take off. In America, the early version of poker dominated the country, while multiple different versions of a game we now call European roulette were introduced in England and then France.

In the US, lottery started to become an increasingly important source of public funds, and this form of gambling is known to have funded many prominent organizations and universities, including Harvard University.

The oldest casino in the world, Casino di Venezia, opens in Venice, Italy. At the time, the building itself was a theatre that featured a gambling area, Il Ridotto. Over the next decades, the premises served many purposes apart from gambling, including hosting the Italian royalty. In 1946, the building was officially bought by Venice city, and in 1959, the place finally opened its doors as an official casino.
Oldest casino in the world
Pascal manages to construct a perpetual motion machine, which has become the basis of today's roulette wheel.
17th century
The early version of poker is believed to have been created around this time. We know that by 1829, poker spread through Mississippi, and the game became widespread and popular across the whole country. The game was played with 20 cards only. Other versions of poker started to appear later, with Texas Hold‘em and other community card poker games appearing around 1925.
The first evidence of people playing Roly Poly, an early version of roulette involving a spinning wheel and a ball, is recorded in England around this time. The game was banned 20 years later. Another predecessor of roulette, the Even-Odd, was introduced shortly after to circumvent the new gambling prohibition laws, but 1745 put a stop to the game as well.
Roly Poly
A curious law passes in New Hampshire (England). The law prohibits gambling in case such a decision can prevent the impoverishment of the gambler's family.
The First Baptist Church of Providence in Rhode Island is made possible due to money obtained from the lottery granted by Rhode Island. At the present time, the church is home to the oldest Baptist congregation in the USA. The lottery is believed to be the main reason for many historical and influential institutions in America today, including Columbia University, Harvard, Yale, and many others. Harvard is also said to have bought 2,000 tickets in the lottery itself, managing to win $10,000 in return.
Roulette (without the 0) starts to appear at gambling establishments all over France.

Rise of Gambling in the US

The history of gambling in the US stretches all the way back to the era of colonialism, during which many of the first settlers liked to enjoy various games of chance whenever possible.

Many casino games have already found their way to America by this time, and despite several religious groups fighting hard to make gambling disappear from the face of the earth, more and more gambling establishments were being set up all over the country at a rapid pace.

Despite going through tough times in the 19th century, lottery managed to become a source of freedom (literally) for a lucky black American during the period of slavery, and the American version of roulette with an additional "00" number took off in America.

Nov 8th, 1799
The city treasurer of Charleston draws nr. 1884 as the winning number of the $1,500 Grand Prize, which won a black American slave named Denmark Vesey his freedom from slavery. However, Vesey and 34 others were executed in 1822 for attempting to conduct a slave uprising.
East Bay Street Lottery
19th century
Tough time for lotteries in America. What began as a petition of evangelical reformers in the 1830s, ended up being a total ban on lotteries by 1890 (except for Delaware and Louisiana).
Around this time, roulette finds its way into America. However, to have a bigger house edge than the European roulette, the American roulette features an additional double 00 instead of 37 numbers. This increases the house edge to 5.26%. Perhaps that's why its popularity in America never reached the level of European roulette.
New Orleans decides to license and tax several casinos in order to use the proceeds for charitable purposes.

Move to Gambling as We Know It Today

The constant strengthening of regulations in the US forced business owners to come up with creative ways to keep their businesses running. This led to the creation of riverboat casinos – casinos operating in international waters, where American gambling laws didn't apply. This allowed US casinos to operate legally even during one of the most difficult eras of gambling in America.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Charles Fey constructed arguably the biggest and most significant invention of the entire gambling industry: the slot machine, which paved the way for what is currently known as the single most popular casino game in the world. This era saw several other casino games, including craps, further refined, and a predecessor to another fairly popular game, video poker, was invented.

Francois & Louis Blanc introduce the first single zero roulette in Germany. Although of French origin, they had to present their invention in Germany, since gambling was (again) illegal in their home country. With a house edge of only 2.70% (compared to the American roulette's 5.26%), the European roulette was a big hit among players, who now had an opportunity to test out their best roulette strategies with a relatively low house edge.
June 14, 1856
In what is considered to be England's trial of the century, William Palmer, also known as Palmer the Poisoner, is hanged outside the Stafford Prison in front of a 30,000 crowd. Palmer was a problem gambler addicted to horse racing and was believed to have murdered multiple of his relatives in order to finance his gambling debts. He was convicted of poisoning his gambling friend John Parsons Cook after a horse racing game in which Cook won heavily and Palmer suffered a big loss. Palmer, increasing his already great debt by the race-gone-wrong, poisoned Cook, collected his winnings due to Cook "being sick" and, two days later, Cook was officially pronounced dead.
Trial of William Palmer
Gambling on boats, the so-called riverboat gambling, takes off and becomes a successful way of circumventing gambling laws in America.
Francois Blanc (the inventor of European roulette) and his wife move to Monte Carlo to take over the Casino de Monte-Carlo after persistent persuasion from Princess Caroline of Monte Carlo, who was attempting to save the casino from bankruptcy.
Francois & Marie Blanc
August 2nd, 1876
Wild Bill Hickok, an infamous gunslinger and gambler, is shot from the back while playing a round of poker. The legend says he was holding a pair of eights and another pair of Aces in his hand when shot, thus coining the card combination as the dead man's hand. However, the term was only coined in print full 50 years after the incident took place, so the story is more of a legend than a fact. The identity of Wild Bill's fifth card remains a mystery to this very day.
Wild Bill Hickok
The version of craps where players bet against the casino is introduced. Betting against other players is still not possible.
The Card Machine, the predecessor of today's video poker, is developed by Sittman and Pitt. The machine featured 5 drums, each containing 10 cards. By inserting a coin, the drums started to spin. Once hitting the lever, the drums would stop and form a combination of 5 cards. To increase the house edge, ten of spades and jack of hearts were removed from the deck, which decreased the players' chances of hitting the royal flush significantly. There was no automatic payout mechanism, so the prizes, such as free beers or cigars, were paid out by the bartender.
World's first slot machine
Around this time, Charles Fey builds what is considered to be the first real slot machine. After several earlier versions of the machine, Fey finished The Liberty Bell and gave it automatic payouts, which turned out to be a huge success. He reportedly made more than 3,000 of them, but unfortunately never applied for a patent. The earlier versions of the machine were similar to The Card Machine from 1891, but what made this machine revolutionary was the fact that the decks of cards were replaced by three reels, and the individual cards were replaced by 5 symbols (diamonds, spades, hearts, horseshoes, and a liberty bell).
Charles Fey Inventing the Liberty Bell
Florida's The Beach Club Casino, infamous for being the "longest running illicit gambling casino" in the US, is opened. It closed nearly 50 years later.
The Beach Club

Gambling in the 20th Century

Gambling in the 20th century continued on its path of "Operation Gray Zone", and riverboat casinos in America continued to grow in popularity throughout the century. Horse betting and other betting opportunities existed in many places, and betting on college football has become particularly interesting for the Americans.

Fey's invention of the slot machine marked the beginning of a new era, with multiple companies, including the Mills and the Novelty company, introducing their own versions of a slot machine throughout the 20th century. Several improvements, including the possibility to win a jackpot, were brought on by the new slots, jumpstarting their popularity among the crowds.

After the introduction of blackjack at the beginning of the 20th century, it didn't take long for the first card counters to appear in casinos. This trend was intensified by the release of the now notorious book Beat the Dealer, which quickly became the ultimate textbook for anyone interested in counting cards. The book is still considered mandatory reading for any aspiring card counter today.

It probably comes as no surprise that with gambling becoming more prevalent, an increasing number of people started to display problem gambling symptoms. This led to the creation of Gamblers Anonymous, a fellowship of men and women with a compulsive gambling problem, followed by the American Psychiatric Association including pathological gambling in its list of disorders and diseases roughly 15 years later.

20th century
Russian Roulette is believed to originate during this period, although the stories surrounding its origin vary depending on the source. While some believe that Russian officers forced prisoners to play the risky game of chance for their amusement, others favor the story of the officers using Russian Roulette to showcase their fearlessness. In 1937, the term appeared in a magazine for the first time.
June 29, 1905
America's first gambling boat called The City of Traverse starts its operation. With 200 gamblers waiting to bet on the opening day and hundreds more betting on horses daily since then, the boat has become a target of Chicago officials for years to come.
City of Traverse
The oldest casino in Las Vegas, the Golden Gate Casino, is opened. Originally named Hotel Nevada, the property also offered casino games and charged a single dollar for the room. Many famous individuals, including Frank Sinatra, frequently visited the spot. The casino is still operating today, offering a possibility to be accommodated in one of the few original rooms dating all the way back to the 1900s.
Golden Gate casino
The Novelty company introduces gum-dispensing slot machines that feature new fruit-inspired symbols, a move that was shortly followed by the Mills Company. The idea of using slot machines as product dispensers was born after strict anti-gambling laws were introduced in America. The slots dispensed everything from cigarettes to candy and fruity gums made by the Chicle Company. Some sources say this is what inspired the fruit and candy symbols we see on the slot machine screens today. Fun fact: if a slot machine featured a lemon symbol, it meant the machine was somehow rigged.
Twenty-one, the earlier version of blackjack, is introduced in the USA. The game featured a special bonus cash prize in addition to the typical payoff for the player who got an ace of spades and a blackjack on the first two cards. This feature was later abolished.
Mills Novelty company introduces jackpot in its machines. The machine's coin slot would be emptied every time a set combination of symbols appeared on the reels.
Mills Novelty
Mayme Stocker, a woman based in Las Vegas with no gambling background whatsoever, becomes the proud owner of the first casino license issued by the state. The joint license with J.H. Morgan was used in Stocker‘s Northern Club, which offered poker, faro, roulette, craps, "21", and horse racing.
First casino license issued by state
August 1939
A famous gambling ship is shut down in the waters of California. Tony Cornero, a famous organized crime figure, was operating an SS Rex cruiseship a little over three nautical miles from Santa Monica's shore, which allowed him to run a floating casino in a state where gambling was illegal. Just a few months after its opening, Los Angeles and Santa Monica officials managed to shut down his activities after a rather long battle that involved both courts and water cannons.
SS Rex Cruiseship
December 26th, 1946
The Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is officially opened. Not only was the opening night a big flop, but the casino's first week was horrible too, resulting in losses of around $300,000. It closed down two weeks after the opening, and although the casino managed to reopen again the following year, Flamingo's founder was shot shortly after due to his alleged involvement in organized crime.
The world's first card counters start to appear. In 1962, a famous book called Beat the Dealer became one of the first sources of card-counting information. The 1966 second edition of the book is considered to be an important pillar of card counting to this day, even appearing in Hollywood movies such as "21" featuring Kevin Spacey.
Beat the Dealer
Sept 13th, Friday, 1957
The first meeting of Gamblers Anonymous is held in LA, California. The initiative was started by two ex-problem gamblers whose regular meetings with each other helped them overcome problem gambling.
Gamblers Anonymous UK is established.
Money Honey, generally considered to be the first electromechanical slot machine, is launched by Bally Technologies. The slot paid out up to 500 coins automatically and self-sufficiently, although a lever still needed to be pulled in order to start the game.
First electromechanical slot machine
October 18, 1968
Circus Circus, a circus-themed casino, opens for the first time in Las Vegas. Located on the Strip, the casino featured live circus acts happening literally above the heads of the players: the games were held on the 1st floor while the live performances took place on the 2nd one, creating a jaw-breaking experience for anyone present. Featured in multiple Hollywood movies including James Bond: Diamonds Are Forever, the casino holds a title for being the first family-friendly casino in Las Vegas.
FedEx is famously saved from total bankruptcy in its early months after the founder took his last $5,000 and flew to Vegas, only to win $27,000 in blackjack. Serving as a source of immense motivation for Smith, he ultimately managed to raise another $11 million – and the rest is history.
International Gaming Technology (IGT), the largest and richest casino software supplier in the world, is founded by William Red. The company was launched under the name of A-1 Supply, went on to change it to Sircoma in 1978, and finally settled on IGT in 1981.
IGT Logo
Source: Casino Guru database
Fortune Coin Co. develops and releases the first video slot machine, which used an improved 48cm display made by Sony. Offering various benefits to players, such as bonus rounds or additional payout options, video slots became highly successful, and the company was acquired by IGT in 1978.
Mechanical slots reach their expiration date. The last machines of this kind are made for the purpose of being used at the U.S. Navy base in Greenland. After Caesar's Boardwalk Regency opened a casino where more than half of all slot machines consisted of electronic Jennings slots, the industry never looked back.
The American Psychiatric Association includes pathological gambling in its list of disorders and diseases, recognizing it as a significant and fast-growing but often overlooked problem that needs to be addressed.
APA Logo
Megabucks, a slot that featured the first progressive jackpot ever, is released by IGT. The main principle of a progressive jackpot is that its value increases every time the game is played but no jackpot is hit. The more players play the slot, the faster and higher the jackpot rises. Once the jackpot is hit, the value resets to a predetermined number.
In a famous case of GNOC Corp. vs. Aboud, alcohol intoxication is accepted as a valid reason for not being obliged to pay off one's gambling debt, should the person provide sufficient evidence that their intoxication state was taken advantage of by the casino.

Introduction of Online Gambling

With technology advancing at a rapid pace, the gambling industry started to look for new ways to bring their services and games to a wider audience. The turn of the millennium saw Planet Poker establish the first online poker room, and the rest is history. The introduction of online casinos created a perfect opportunity for what can only be described as poker boom, which rapidly swept across America and produced some of the biggest stars in the history of gambling.

The U.S. Senate attempted to dismiss the rapid rise of online gambling with their Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, but the act did not pass. Betting on sports has reached a new high thanks to the possibility of betting online in real-time, and it was only a matter of time until the first live dealer casinos started to grab their fair share of the market.

But, of course, as is usually the case, playing online casino games from one's laptop wasn't enough, and dedicated slots sites, mobile casinos, and even crypto casinos started to enter the market very quickly. The new opportunities have reached a level of convenience land-based casinos are struggling to match to this day, and with Covid-19 further intensifying the shift towards the online world, the gambling industry seems to be undergoing a digital transition.

November 10, 1994
The Free Trade & Processing Act is passed by Antigua and Barbuda. The Act allowed online casinos to apply for a license, essentially making Antigua and Barbuda the first online gambling authority.
Microgaming is launched. The company claims to have created the world's first fully functioning gambling software/online casino called The Gaming Club in this year, although some sources say The Gaming Club wasn't launched until around 1998. There is research suggesting that Microgaming in fact purchased a predecessor to The Gaming Club, the true first online casino in the world, and renamed it to The Gaming Club after the acquisition, which allows Microgaming to claim to be the world's first online casino.
Gambling Club
CryptoLogic, a company focused on real money transactions, joins forces with InterCasino to make history: making InterCasino the first casino in the world to offer real cash transactions to its players.
June 10th, 1996
On this day, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, an established and well-trusted licensing body, is launched.
January 1996
Intertops, the first online sportsbook, accepts its first real money bet from a Finnish bettor called Jukka Hunkavarra. The company continued to pioneer the betting industry by launching mobile betting in 2000.
January 1st, 1998
Planet Poker, the first virtual cardroom that offered real-money online poker, is launched at the turn of the new year, paving the way for what can only be called a poker boom.
Planet Poker Lobby
The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, banning online gambling, is proposed by the US Senate. However, the bill didn't pass the 2/3 majority required for passing and was therefore rejected shortly after.
Multiplayer online gambling is introduced for the first time, allowing players to enjoy their favorite casino games in a multiplayer mode and play against each other.

Gambling in the New Millenium

The new millennium brought about significant changes and milestones in the world of gambling, and the landscape of gambling underwent a remarkable transformation. Legal reforms, technological advancements, and shifting consumer preferences continue to shape the landscape of gambling during this time, providing new opportunities and challenges for players, operators, and regulators alike.

In the early 2000s, various jurisdictions began to recognize the potential economic benefits of gambling and legalized multiple gambling establishments. These reforms aimed to boost revenue and stimulate economic growth in the aftermath of significant events like the 9/11 terrorist attack, particularly in the US.

The emergence of online casinos revolutionized the industry by offering convenient access to a wide range of casino games from the comfort of one's own home. This digital transformation enabled players to enjoy the thrill of gambling anytime, anywhere, leading to a surge in popularity and engagement of gambling as a whole.

Furthermore, the integration of mobile technology brought gambling to the palm of our hands. The development of mobile casino applications allowed players to engage in their favorite games on smartphones and tablets, offering unprecedented flexibility and freedom. The ability to gamble on the go further expanded the reach and accessibility of the industry, captivating a new generation of tech-savvy gamblers.

In 2014, the first licensed casino started to accept Bitcoin as a deposit method, which marked a significant step towards the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency in the gambling industry. This innovation not only offered players an alternative payment option but also laid the groundwork for the integration of blockchain technology in the gambling sector.

New York legalizes multiple gambling establishments in an attempt to boost revenue after the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Live betting starts to appear, and spectators and fans are allowed to bet on their favorites in real-time.
For the first time, an online casino jackpot pays out more than $1,000,000 during a single spin.
Playtech comes with the world's first live dealer casino, a move met with a lot of excitement, since the real and virtual casino world was finally combined.
Playtech Logo
Source: Casino Guru database
Walking into the venue with no previous live tournament experience and walking out a champion, Chris Moneymaker makes history by winning $2,500,000 at the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event. Many say he sparked the boom of online poker in the following years. Chris was also given the honor of being inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2019.
Chris Moneymaker
eCOGRA (eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance), an independent regulatory body for the online gambling industry, is established in the United Kingdom. The organization provides certification through "testing, inspection, and certification of online gambling software and systems."
The biggest jackpot in the history of slots is won in Excalibur Casino based in Las Vegas. The player wagered $100 on a Megabucks slot, which resulted in an unbelievable win of $39.7 million. The casino has agreed to pay out the winnings over a span of 25 years, so the installments should finish sometime in 2028.
Microgaming develops the first mobile casino software, further amplifying its dominant position in the gambling market.
Christian Heinz, a long-time compulsive gambler, wins an outrageous case against two Swiss casinos after convincing the court that the casinos were exploiting his self-proclaimed gambling addiction and manipulated him into losing more than $3 million in total. Heinz won the case and was awarded more than $500,000 in damages.
October 2006
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is signed into law by President George W. Bush, banning payment facilitation to unlawful and unauthorized gambling sites. USA-licensed establishments are exempt from the restrictions.
Phil Ivey is ruled to return over $20 million won by playing punto banco. Because of being a prominent guest, Ivey was allowed to place special requests, such as having a Mandarin-speaking dealer, a purple Gemaco deck, and cards rotated at 180 degrees. This allowed him to use a technique called edge sorting. However, after winning at both establishments, Ivey was sued and ultimately lost the case due to the court deciding that Ivy's behavior was not in accordance with standard play.
Phil Ivey
Microgaming makes history yet again by releasing the first slot title for a wearable device.
Vera & John becomes the first licensed casino to accept Bitcoin as a deposit method. Bitcoin was automatically converted to Euros and added to the player's account. Upon withdrawal, players who used Bitcoin to deposit were only allowed to use the Bitcoin method for withdrawal.
The famous case of what could have been the world's new highest slot jackpot is dismissed by Iowa Supreme Court. An 87-year-old grandma tried her luck on one of the penny slots at the Isle Hotel Casino in Waterloo. Soon enough, the screen informed her that she had won $41,797,550.16. However, after 4 years of court battles, the court ruled that the jackpot announcement was a result of a software glitch and McKee only won $1.85 based on the symbol combination.
October 5, 2015
The largest online poker tournament is held by PokerStars. The event officially holds a Guiness World Record and featured 253,692 players. The winner took home a prize of $10,000.
PokerStars tournament
October 6, 2015
The largest jackpot in an online slots game of £13,213,838.68 was hit by Jon Heywood from the UK. Heywood hit the jackpot playing Microgaming's Mega Moolah slot.
Jon Heywood Mega Moolah jackpot
May 2016
Casino Guru, an independent source of information about online casinos and online casino games, officially launches, creating what is now known as the world's biggest source of information about online casinos.
CG Logo
Source: Casino Guru database
888 UK Limited is fined £7.8m ($9.4m) for failing to protect vulnerable customers, allowing them to gamble even after they have completed the self-exclusion process. 888 was fined again in 2022 after failing to carry out proper financial checks until their customers had deposited £40k ($48.5k). As a result, one vulnerable client lost £37k ($44.9k) in just six weeks during 2020. 888 was fined £9.4m ($11.4m), the third highest penalty in the history of British gambling regulation.
August 6, 2018
DraftKings becomes the first online sportsbook (in the USA) outside of Nevada, with several other operators opening up in other states soon after that.
March 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic hits Europe hard and further amplifies the worldwide shift towards the online gambling industry.
November 5, 2022
A man known as "Mattress Mack" wins the world's biggest sports bet in history: betting $10 million in May of the same year that the Astros would win the World Series. With odds of 7.5-1, Mack managed to win $75m, believed to be the biggest win in sports betting history.
Mattress Mack
January 2023
Alvin Chau, a Macau gambling tycoon, is sentenced to 18 years on account of more than 100 charges, including organized crime and illegal gambling. Chau was illegally organizing trips from China to casinos in Macau (In China, casinos are illegal, but gambling rules are different in Macau), arranging transport and other services for famous high rollers.
Alvin Chau

Many of the events we're currently experiencing are history in the making, but only time will tell which of them will prove to be significant enough to make a lasting impact. From ancient Chinese gambling games to playing casino games in the metaverse, one thing's for sure: gambling has come a long way.