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Gambling enthusiasts – and gambling opponents – have been around forever

When we say gambling has been around forever, it’s not an overstatement. Evidence exists that suggests people in prehistoric periods were into gambling – that’s more than forty thousand years ago! Ancient Egyptians cast lots (the ancient equivalent of shooting dice), and so did people in Mesopotamia, ancient China, and India. The Greek and the Romans were into casting lots as well, as well as betting on sporting events, battles between animals, and other gambling activities. Even in Canada, Europeans stumbled upon aboriginals enjoying games and gambling more than four hundred years ago.

The love of chance is prevalent across the entire globe, more or less from the dawn of all human civilization – as is the human penchant for limiting, controlling, or otherwise regulating this beloved and pervasive activity.

Kings and rulers, themselves huge fans of gambling, outlawed the act while continuing to partake of it underground. In Canada, all gambling of any kind was forbidden in 1992 by the infamous Criminal Code. However, with that ban – and the elimination of all competition – came an enormous increase in revenue for the government, from around $2.7 billion back in 1992 to nearly $12 billion a decade later. That number is even higher now thanks to the intense popularity of online poker and online casinos, making the human affection of games of chance even more available to people everywhere.

Thousands of years of limits, laws, and penalties have failed to eliminate gambling. Nearly every society throughout history has attempted it at some point, but people will not be stopped from doing what it seems they almost universally enjoy doing, even if it means risking trouble. Canadians are no exception, as our love for poker and other casino games, sports betting, and any number of gambling activities have only increased in popularity over the years even as regulations tighten. Here’s hoping the people in charge will take a look back through history and realize their energy may be best spent elsewhere, as things apparently never change.

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