The casino industry’s growth didn’t happen overnight. While it’s incredibly easy today to gamble in online crypto casinos, it took literally hundreds of years before the casino industry became the force it is today.
With gambling’s extensive history that dates back centuries, there are also plenty of bizarre facts that you wouldn’t have thought occurred in the context of gambling.
1. A Car Mechanic Invented the Modern Slot Machine
Charles August Fey was a car mechanic in San Francisco who is credited with inventing the first modern slot machine. In 1894, Fey built his first coin-operated gambling machine, and a year after built the 4-11-44.
The success of the 4-11-44 prompted Fey to quit his job and open a factory to produce more machines. In 1898, Fey invented the Card Bell, which is the first ever three-reel slot machine that features automatic cash payouts.
In 1899, he then invented the Liberty Bell which was perhaps his most popular invention which was copied by Fey’s competitors and made the slot machine as we know it today.
2. Fedex Was Saved From Bankruptcy Through Gambling
FedEx is one of the most popular and ubiquitous companies today, but there came a point in its history when it was nearing bankruptcy. FedEx was founded in 1971 but in its first two years found itself in millions of dollars of debt and on the brink of bankruptcy.
With only $5000 left in the company’s coffers, Frederick Smith, the company’s founder, had to think on his feet. Smith flew to Las Vegas and played blackjack with the last dollars on the company’s name and won $27,000, an enough amount of money for the company to stay in operation for another week.
Though the $27,000 didn’t immediately solve their problems, the additional week of operation paved the way for FedEx to obtain funding and achieve financial stability to become the juggernaut that it is.
3. A Portion of Gambling Profits in Finland Go to Charity
Some people view gambling as an immoral industry, but it also has the potential to enact positive change in the world. In Finland, a majority of the casinos donate a portion of their profits to charitable institutions.
The gambling industry and the organizations that are involved in funneling gambling profit into good causes are closely supervised by the Finnish government.
4. The Sandwich Was Allegedly Invented in a Gambling Table
Billions of people eat sandwiches every day, and the world has John Montagu to thank for its creation. John Montagu was the 4th Earl of Sandwich and is credited for inventing the sandwich.
Montagu was known to have a gambling problem which made him spend hours of his days gambling. During one particularly long gambling session, Montagu wanted something to eat and asked the cook to make him something that he could eat without having to get up from his seat, and the sandwich was born.
Montagu ate the ingenious concoction regularly until its popularity spread over London and eventually, the world.
5. People Used to Gamble on Distance Walking
In the 1800s, even before the invention of some of the most recognizable sports today, people found leisure through sports betting. However, the sports back then were much different.
Pedestrianism was a prominent sport in Britain from the late 17th to the early 19th century. Pedestrianism involves walking or running contests where individuals raced against each other and viewers wagered on the outcome of the race.
6. Ten-pin Bowling Was Created Due to an Attempt to Curb Gambling
Ninepin bowling was a popular sport in the United States in the 1800s, and it attracted gamblers from all over. However, in 1841, the State of Connecticut enacted a law which effectively banned ninepin bowling in order to curb the gambling involved with the game.
To circumvent the law, gamblers simply changed the rules and added an additional pin. Thus, the game was technically legal since it was only ninepin bowling that was banned.
7. Dostoyevsky Once Wagered the Rights to All His Work
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is one of the most renowned writers of all time and is regarded as the greatest Russian writer of the 19th century, but he was also known for a chronic gambling addiction.
Because of his excessive gambling, Dostoyevsky was buried in debt to Stellovski, a Russian publisher.
In 1866, Dostoyevsky wagered that he could finish a new novel within 30 days, or else he would give Stellovski the publishing rights of all his past and future works. Dostoyevsky then made good on his promise by creating The Gambler.
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8. Las Vegas Is Not the Top Gambling Destination in the World
When you think of gambling and casinos, Las Vegas is probably the first place that comes to your mind. Various media depict Vegas as the gambling capital of the world which has led to this perception.
However, Las Vegas isn’t actually the most profitable gambling destination in the world. That title belongs to Macau. In 2019, Vegas had a Gross Gaming Revenue of $6.4 billion, while Macau made $28.04 billion.