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Gambling is one of the oldest known pursuits of mankind. Today, sports betting is one of the biggest and fastest growing industries in our society. No matter who or where you are, it is almost impossible to avoid exposure to sports betting. Whether you walk past betting shops every day on your way to work, are bombarded with adverts for live in-play betting while watching your sport of choice, or even notice that most of the advertising hoardings at games now promote some form of sports betting, the association between popular sports and gambling is evident all around us. It’s obvious that betting, gambling and wagering are embedded in our psyche, but when and where did it all begin?

Believe it or not, archaeological evidence exists which suggests that our caveman ancestors were partial to a flutter. The stakes of these wagers are unclear and open to debate – perhaps they settled who had to go out and slay the wild boar for dinner! Small six-sided animal bones, called ‘Astragali’, with markings on each side have been found dating back 40,000 years. These knuckle bones from sheep or dogs have six sides of varying surface area, each of which were given values and markings - a one for the side with the largest surface area and a six for the side with the smallest surface area.  These were in use until the Romans began to manufacture dice of a symmetrical shape out of wood in later years. These of course are the dice used in casinos all over the world today. Pairs of ‘loaded’ dice, meaning they were weighted unevenly to affect the outcome, have even turned up in the ruins of Pompeii. The earthquake that buried the ancient city surprised a group of gamblers at the dice table where they were discovered 2,000 years later with the dice clenched in their fists.

Gambling with dice was very popular in Persia or modern day Iran. A Greek historian, Plutarch, has recorded the story of a game of dice between King Artarxerxes and his mother Parysatis. Some time before the game the King had ordered the beheading of his brother Cyrus by one of his servants. Cyrus had attempted to wrestle power from the King and failed, paying the ultimate price. Their mother Parysatis wanted to exact revenge on the servant and challenged her son to a friendly game of dice. As the game went on the stakes were raised significantly and soon the servants head was wagered. Parysatis won the game, the servant was beheaded and her revenge was complete.

Roman Emperor Caligula was clearly a man with a gambling obsession and a notorious bad loser and cheater. He converted his huge palace into a lavish modern day betting shop so that he could constantly satisfy his need to gamble. After consecutive substantial losses he ordered his guards to execute some wealthy citizens so that he could continue to bet with their estates – proof if ever it was needed that the house always wins! The emperor Claudius by contrast was the thinking mans bettor and even wrote a book about the game of dicing. He enjoyed it so much that he had a larger carriage built so that he could play dice whilst on the move – surely the earliest reference to the ‘pimp my ride’ phenomenon.

Around the 5th century BC one of the most beloved forms of gambling was cockfighting. It was around this time that any sports involving humans and animals generated huge interest and attracted heavy betting. Running, throwing, wrestling and boxing were popular sports of the time and enthusiastic gamblers were never far away. Gambling was evident everywhere in the glory days of the Roman Empire. Guards would toss a coin and guess the outcome to pass the time whilst on duty. They were even known to carry heavy gaming tables into the war theatre, along with their military equipment, such was their enthusiasm for wagering. The New Testament describes how Roman soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb tossed dice to settle who would inherit his garments.

This perhaps gives an insight into the fascination many people have with gambling and sports betting. It’s been part of the psyche of mankind since the beginning of modern civilization. The idea of generating large profits is very attractive to us, as too is the notion of beating the system. According to a recent PWC report, gambling revenue is growing by around 8% every year. This is backed up by the increased number of sports tipping sites, expert tipsters and professional punters offering their services today. Sports and betting go hand in hand, and as long as sport exists in society, so too will gambling. For free soccer tips by our expert soccer tipster visit our home page today.

 

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Hallescher  v  Karlsruhe GERMANY 3 LIGA  8 December 2012

Our next pick comes from the third tier of German football, where I'm tipping Karlsruhe (who provided us with a win last weekend) to continue their excellent form today. They have now moved up to third place thanks to a superb winning streak of seven consecutive league games (the last three wins were by a margin of 3 or more goals). Today they travel to play an inconsistent Hallescher side that haven't won at home since August. Their home record currently stands at 2.3.4 and they sit just 2 points clear of the relegation zone before kick off. Karlsruhe have won four and drawn two of their last six league games on the road and the free scoring side look great value to do the business today. Odds for a Karlsruhe victory are too good to overlook and seem to have been overpriced by the bookmakers. Away win. 

 Verdict:     Away win at $2.10   Outcome:  WIN  Result 0-2

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