Let’s be honest and leave all those condescending talks about growing up behind. Many people still play well into their 30s, 40s and 50s, be it tennis, chess, pocker, lottery, video game or foreplay. It’s in our DNA and speaking of science, there’s even a game theory and probability theory.
Arguably, video games occupy a special place in the hearts of many, starting from nostalgic Atari or Sega up to modern Playstation and high-end PCs. Their vibes are unique to each game and platform. Even those far from them once played Solitaire and Minesweeper, the built-in Windows games on PCs.
But how did online gambling fare then and how does it fare now amid the huge popularity of video games? Pretty well amid its physical counterparts, the casinos or slot machines. Ever since its emergence in the 1990s, online gambling managed to become a thing. Now nearly all kinds of gambling are available online, from live casinos with real dealers to Casinoselect.ie.
It is likely that this type of online games will increase in the future to limits we do not know today. Even so, traditional casino games are likely to survive the technological push. In fact, some speak of an ever closer link between the online and offline worlds of gambling.
We play for money, so what?
There are a lot of moralists out there. They think playing for money is bad. It isn’t. The bad thing about playing for money is gambling addiction. That is bad and we have to prevent it from happening.
Gambling for money was not invented by us. The history of mankind, or a good part of it, is linked to the thirst for gambling and betting. Gambling in the hope of obtaining a monetary or material benefit is one of the oldest pastimes in our history.
When Las Vegas or the casinos of Monte Carlo were still a fantasy of the future, something similar to the lottery was already being played in ancient China. It was some 3,000 years ago, and we have solid historical evidence to back up that claim.
Perhaps it was the precursor game to keno, which is still played in China. Historians believe that the game of chance was used to finance large public works such as the famous Great Wall of China. You see, gambling has its virtues.
By the way, the ancient Chinese were fond of animal fights -cocks, dogs- and guess what…? They used these fights for gambling. As I said, we have not invented anything new.
If we go to Europe we also find historical references to gambling. Sophocles mentioned that in 500 B.C., in Greece, games were played with six-sided dice. These games also involved gambling. Similar dice were used two millennia earlier in ancient Egypt for recreational purposes.
It was the Greeks and then the Romans with their vast empire that took the game to levels that could be compared to today’s levels. In the famous Olympic Games not only the gods were worshipped, but also gambling.
And the Romans used to bet on anything, not just games. Soldiers were able to bet on who would die or live during a battle. Doesn’t the crowded Colosseum look familiar? Gambling became so widespread that on certain occasions the Roman authorities banned it, frightened by the extent of gambling addiction.
With the end of the Roman Empire, gambling fell into a climate of secrecy. The religious influence prevailing in medieval times meant that gambling was seen as a vice or sin.
The Renaissance came to rescue gambling in all its splendor and beauty and linked it to science and mathematics.
From the Renaissance era came some of the games that are still so popular today in casinos, including online casinos. I am talking about baccarat -whose beginnings can be traced back to Italy and France, in the 15th century-, and blackjack, which seems to derive from a Spanish game.
Thus arose the first site that we could properly consider a casino. It was in 17th century Venice. It was there that the foundations were laid for a later and progressive regulation of gambling activity.
We don’t play only for money
Still, we don’t play for money only, don’t we? Even in gambling there’s a satisfaction element from play – watching the roulette ball spinning between red and black or showing the winning combination in poker.
Or take domino, for instance. Playing it in a good company, behind some wood table, is an experience in its own right. Or inserting a cartridge into Sega Genesis again after decades of hiatus.
Apparently, whenever we spend our spare time in a way we like, with something that brings joy, we get more positive and receive more energy for other activities.
The benefits of gaming
Playing favorite games releases endorphins, the substances that are the body’s natural painkillers. They can also lower stress and anxiety.
Also, a study in the scientific journal “Nature” from 1998 showed that playing video games releases another beneficial substance, dopamine. The amount of dopamine released while playing video games was even similar to that after intravenous injection of amphetamine or methylphenidate.
At the same time, games train various skills, depending on what kind of game it its – motor skills, memory, reaction speed, etc. A distinction is made between game of skill and game of chance. In a game of skill the outcome is determined mainly by mental or physical skill, rather than chance. In a game of chance the outcome is determined almost exclusively by chance.
While a game of chance may have some skill element to it, chance generally plays a greater role in determining its outcome. Yet, gambling may apparently deliver the same amount of joy and satisfaction as other games.
The bottom line is to play responsibly and not spend too much time on games, regardless of type – be it cards, video games or slot machines, even if temptation is too big. And to find some time for reading.