Whites, a “Gentlemen’s” Club, established in 1693, kept a book of all of the bets its members made.
September 12th, 1746 – Mr James Jeffreys bets Mr John Jeffreys one hundred guineas that Lord Byron is married to Miss Shaw before Michaelmas 1748. If Lord Byron or Miss Shaw die or either of them marries any other person Mr James Jeffreys loses his hundred guineas.
Mr Jeffreys lost his bet, but not by much. Lord Byron married Miss Elizabeth Shaw, the daughter and heiress of Besthorpe, Norfolk on March 28th, 1747.
Cicero viewed gambling as superstition; he disliked it because he thought it was an attempt to force the hand of the gods.
According to Plutarch, Mercury and the Moon played dice and Mercury won one seventieth of the Moon’s light.
The Bible does not mention gambling as a sin. It does however, mention gambling twice; that Samson makes a bet with his groomsman and loses and where an officer of the Assyrian King makes a bet with King Hezekiah of Judah, “I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them”.
In Rome, in 81 BC laws were passed such that creditors could not sue for gambling debts, but losers could sue to have their losses returned.
Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire (1757 – 1806) was a keen gambler. When she died, it is said she owed more than £3 million in today’s money.
The symbols for multiplication "x" and division "÷" did not appear until 1631 and 1659 respectively.
Affordability checks are not new. In 1190, an edict was made that during the crusade, anyone below the rank of knight or who wasn’t a clergyman was forbidden from gambling. Knights and clergymen were not allowed to lose more than 20 shillings per day. Monarchs were exempt. Anyone who breached this rule were to be whipped naked around the army camp for three days.
From the Morning Chronicle, 26 March 1811
A blacksmith at Stroud ate on Tuesday, for a trifling wager, a pint of periwinkles with the shells, in the space of ten minutes. Being desired to repeat this disgusting feat he readily did it, but he is now so dangerously ill that he is not expected to recover.
From The Times of London, 2 April 1794, appears this article, which appears to be the first mention of taxing gambling heavily in order to control it.
“…. If justice is to be hoodwinked and gambling and sharking permitted, why not make it an article of revenue, as in foreign countries, and lay a heavy tax on it.”